This post was written by a chap I met at a Star Trek convention in London. Liam is a Starship models fan and wanted to share his thoughts and experiences in this tough but satisfying field of Star Trek devotion.
I want to build a starship!
Or a robot, a UFO, or even an alien!
When Star Trek first appeared on tv in the sixties every boy (and many girls) wanted to have their own Enterprise, Romulan Bird of Prey or Klingon D7. In the USA, model kit company AMT brought out a couple of models, of the Enterprise and the D7. The kits were crude and simple to build but made many fans very happy including myself. We stuck them together with glue and ended up with sticky fingers and an even stickier model. We couldn’t light them or paint them accurately but even so we were happy.
Roll on forty five years and the modelling world has moved on. A search on YouTube for Trek models will bring up a multitude of resources and modellers producing duplicates of all the ships from all the of the series and movies.
The kits available today are much more accurate and there is a massive after market in add ons for the kits to accurize them or make variations on the original design.
They can all be built straight from the box, requiring various skill levels depending on the complexity if the kit, however with care and experience the kits can be lit or even motorised to duplicate all the features of the original.
For example, this build of the Refit Enterprise built by Boyd at TrekWorks, http://youtu.be/UE935wwW4Pc. This a 1/350 scale model, so that every inch equals 350 inches of the full size ship, which when built is 33 inches long, so it will need a bit of space to display. The kit costs about £105 in the UK but only $90 in the USA, go figure! Boyd has painted and lit the kit to produce a masterpiece that any Trek fan would be happy to possess. His level of finish means that he is asked to build these kits as commissions for fans, but the price is not low due to the amount of time and effort involved.
Almost every popular ship from Star Trek is available, runabouts, all the variations on the Enterprise A through E, Klingon and Romulan ships, Deep Space Nine station etc. there are some quite reasonably priced kits like the Revell Voyager kit available from various suppliers for about £25. This will build into a very nice model without extreme skills or knowledge being required. With time and effort though you can achieve something like this, www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d1var6CXg7k built by Daniel Beck.
Should you be interested in starting your own Utopia Planitia shipyard I have listed some resources below that will assist in either returning to the hobby or helping in getting your first steps on the road to your own masterpiece! You will find guides on how to prepare the parts of the model. How to paint it using an airbrush, light it with strip LEDs and smd LEDs to make it look almost real. You can also add soundboards and effects controllers so the whole ship can achieve the finish you want.
Resources I’d recommend:
Search for any of the following: Steve Neill’s Garage, Trekworks, Simon Mercs. A search for 1/350 enterprise will also bring up a massive selection of builds of this model.
There are numerous forums which specialise in sci-fi model building, these include Sci-FiModelAction.com, starshipmodeller.net, and amazingplastic.com. There are also groups on Google+ and Facebook which specialise in sci-fi models with Star Trek often the most popular.
So why not practice your best Scottish accent and get your engineering coveralls on and get building now!