Klingon D-7 Battlecruiser (post-surgery build)

This was mostly built during recovery from surgery, and I’ll get my excuse out of the way up front – I can’t focus my eyes very well at close distances. That’s why I chose to work on something that doesn’t have very much fine detail on it.

The only bit in focus is the paint booger.

This is the Polar Lights 1/1000 ‘Romulan Battle Cruiser’, POL897/12. Of course you all know that this ship is basically a Klingon D-7, because as I understand it, the original Romulan Bird of Prey model was lost/misplaced/destroyed/unavailable after the first season. (The remastered version of ‘The Enterprise Incident’ uses a computer-generated BoP in place of one of the D-7s, but we won’t go there.)

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Some Thoughts on Vallejo Surface Primer

A lot of people online seem to really hate this stuff. Others report that it works fine. I’m somewhere in between, so just to confuse things, here is my experience with using it, but no real conclusions.

The item in question

Stuff I like:

  • Easy to spray. Put it in a large-nozzle airbrush, crank it up to 20psi, and hose it on. Thinning (with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner) is not needed, but you can dilute it down a bit if you like.
  • Water cleanup (mostly.) A bit of thinner makes it clean up easier.
  • Dries to a very smooth surface.
  • Available in lots of colors. (Skeleton Bone, Ultramarine, 4BO Green, White, etc.)
  • Can be mixed with Vallejo Model Air/Model Color and presumably other acrylics.
  • Can be brushed on with good results.
  • Dries pretty rapidly.
  • Can be lightly dry-sanded to remove runs and goobers.

Stuff I don’t like:

  • Dries on the airbrush needle tip something awful. Adding flow improver doesn’t seem to help much.
  • Tends to pool at inside corners, and pull away from outside corners.
  • Needs a fairly high pressure and large nozzle to spray, which could be an issue if you’re trying to paint detail. (But then, why are you using a primer for that anyway?)
  • Doesn’t adhere very well to bare plastic, even after pre-washing. It sticks great to Tamiya spray can primer, but if it’s already primed. . .
  • Doesn’t like being wet-sanded. Tends to come off in sheets.
  • Hard to clean if left to dry on a paintbrush.

Conclusion:

None, as I stated up top. I’ve been using this most recently because it was the right color. I won’t go so far as to throw it out, and for small spot-fills using a brush it’s pretty good. It’s thinner than the grey Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer in the square bottle, and sometimes that’s the consistency you need. I just haven’t been able to get consistent results using it as a primer for plastic.

It’s possible that the formula may have been updated since I bought this bottle several years ago. And as always, your results may differ from mine.

Still progressing

Haven’t posted anything recently, but I have been working – albeit slowly – on this neck. Clickitinate to embiggenify.

The headstock-to-neck area gave me some problems. Partly caused by not being able to plane the headstock to an even thickness using the Saf-T-Planer; my drill press really isn’t big enough to handle this piece.

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Stuff to Make Stuff

Stuff that gets used to make other stuff is some of the best stuff to make.

bench.png

If anyone is paying attention, you’ll notice that this is a different location than the previous photos. That’s because we moved the entire Slumco operation to a new facility.

As a result, we haven’t done anything productive at all. Other than this bench, of course. Nothing fancy  – pine two-by-fours, a sheet of MDF, some oak for trim. Held together with pocket screws. A couple of coats of clear polyurethane on the top.

There will be a cabinet unit underneath with drawers, but this is enough to work with for now.

Just because you can. . .

Sure, it’s possible to cut out your body shape with a handheld jigsaw.

Body rough cut

But it might not look too great.

not square

Or be quite square. Jigsaw blades aren’t that rigid, especially when you try to make them turn.

Router and template will be used to fix all that. Here’s the neck with position markers (MOP dots) inlaid.

neck with inlay

(I later realized that I’d purchased larger 1/4″ dots especially for this neck, but I’d forgotten about them until I’d already inlaid all these 5mm dots. Oh well.)

Slow going

Well, even with wedges to hold the saw kerf open, this is taking forever. . .

more resawing

 

. . . so I cut out a body template from some MDF I had.

bass body template

I still need to clean it up around the neck area, but I want to make the neck first so I know what size pocket to cut. But hey, progress!

Resaw the Hard Way

I know there must be better ways to do this, but they all seem to involve large bandsaws, which I don’t have.

Resawing the hard way

First you cut around the edges with the table saw (which really needs a tall fence to do it right) then use the resulting kerf as a guide for the handsaw. Simple, right? I figure if I take a few strokes every time I walk by, I’ll be done in a month or so.

In the future, I’ll try to remember to do this before gluing the halves together.

Not shiny

Wet sanded to P800 with soapy water. Not glossy, but no orange peel and really, really smooth.

Body wetsanded

More wet sanding next, at least to 2000 grit, then polishing. And if I polish with Micro-Mesh, which I might, then it’s not really any different from wet sanding.