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Building an ERTL/AMT Enterprise-C Variant

By Wayne N Snyder - images & text © 2003

Scale: 1/1400
Parts: 43 grey and 9 clear injection-molded styrene, including a three piece stand
Instructions: Large fold-out sheet, with paint & marking guide
Decals: Custom Sheet from JTG Graphics used to supplement kit decals
MSRP: Out of production, though still available through various on-line sources

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This project was done for my local Star Trek Fan Club, the USS Omega Glory. Each chapter (also called a 'ship') of Starfleet International (SFI), is based upon a particular starship, ours being an Ambassador Class named the Omega Glory, NCC 26197. I had just joined the club several months ago and offered to take on the job of building a model of our 'ship.'

I started off by finding a reasonably priced Enterprise-C on e-Bay and buying some extra aftermarket items on the Federation Models website. I purchased the red resin Bussard Collector Ram Scoops for the Ambassador-Class from Federation Models and most importantly some custom decals by JT Graphics, which allowed me to submit the name and NCC numbers based on the Ambassador class decal set and had them custom printed. This set also came with the lifeboat decals, an added advantage for extra detail. Unlike the Enterprise-C decals, JT Graphics has the ship name and NCC numbers outlined in red line, instead of the black line ERTL decals.

Given liberty by the club on the paint scheme, I decided against the 'blue' based paint scheme and decided to go with various grey tones. Simply, I did not like the look of the blue. My belief is that the blue tones based upon the TNG model is more based upon the need for filming and less on what looks better on display.


Since this model is going to be more than simply put on display, being moved around to conventions, display cases, and generally being an active 'tool' for the club in promotion efforts, I realized before building I would need to beef up the display stand and how the model would be able to be taken on and off to transport. My experience with most Trek models shows pretty flimsy stands and how the model gets secured to the stand. While that might be ok for normal static display, it would not for repeated removal and reattachment. I took one half of the secondary hull and reinforced it with a styrene tube about and inch long and glued it into the provided opening at the hull bottom and with some sheet and strip styrene for added support and 'brackets', I secured it to the inside of the hull. Again, this was keeping in mind a lot of use on and off the display stand, so it would last a lot of use and be secure at the same time. On the display stand itself, I removed the pin at the top of the display arm, drilled a large hole in its place and ran a wood dowel straight up from the base, thru the display arm and leaving about ¾"/19mm of dowel exposed. The dowel was the same diameter as the interior diameter of the tube styrene I glued in the hull. Mating perfectly, this would provide a secure attachment and simplicity to attach and remove. I also spent a few hours grinding off the Enterprise name and numbers from the display base and painted it the 'traditional' gold and chrome silver (just like a comm badge).

I started the model by painting the inside of the nacelle's clear side panels with 2-3 coats of acrylic blue paint (Tamiya) and then a coat of regular copper (Humbrol). Since I already had the red Bussard Ram scoops caps, I did not have to bother painting with the clear end caps provided. The red resin ram scoops look much better to me than any paint job one could manage. I had neither the time or budget to even think of lighting the model, so this all turned out really well.

Next up was the forward sensor/deflector array. I know for many, this part usually becomes a focal point for viewing (when looking from the underside), so I wanted it to look something more than just 'painted blue' on the inside. What I did first was to use some very fine artist foil tape (about 1mm in width) and ran strips behind the 'ribs' of the sensor on the inside. I made sure the center of the array was not taped. Then, making a palette of various blue to white paints, I painted the inside of the array, starting with the darkest blue on the outside edge to the nearly white center. This process had me using a lot of brushes, mixing the hues of blue as I went along (and wasting some paint in the process) until I had the proper 'fade' of blue to white from the edge of the array to the white center. The result was awesome. While not lighted, the fading of color looks great and the foil under the clear plastic reflects light nicely.

Next, I assembled the nacelle pylon pieces and the saucer sections to end up with five sub-assemblies for individual attention and painting. The sub-assemblies were

  • the two nacelles
  • the single nacelle pylon assembly
  • the secondary hull
  • the primary hull/saucer.

Note: I kept the Bussard Ram Ccoops and Deflector Array off, wanting to avoid accidental overspray. By keeping the model in these assemblies, it was much easier to mask and paint, even allowing me to work several assemblies at the same time, usually masking one part while a freshly painted assembly would dry.


Using a lot of liquid masking and tape, I blocked off the areas I wanted for other colors and applied the base coat color of Model Masters Camouflage Grey.

On the saucer, the color palette from the outside to the center runs: Camo Grey, Flat Gull Grey, Light Sea Grey, Flat Gull Grey and then using Gunship Grey for the dark inner ring and deck three 'roof' (all paints are Testors' Model Master.) On the underside of the saucer, the colors from outside to center run: Camo Gray, Flat Gull Grey, Camo Grey, Gunship Grey (thin band), Camo Grey, Gunship Grey (2nd thin band), Lt. Sea Grey, Gunship Grey (3rd thin band) and Camo Grey in the center. I used some metallic colors (antique bronze, polished steel and jet exhaust, all by Humbrol) to detail some of the features on the 'upper deck' (aft of the bridge.) On the secondary hull, I used the Flat Gull Grey inside the 'grid' lines, and the Lt. Sea Grey on the corrugated part of the dorsal. By doing a lot (and I mean a lot) of taping and masking, I painted (not sprayed) the grid lines and some detail lines using the Lt. Sea Grey all around the secondary hull.

I used florescent red paint (Model Masters) on the inside of the clear part of the impulse engine and painted the impulse engine housing with polished steel. On the nacelles, I decided to avoid doing a lot of painting, so I simply painted the Bussard Collector vents (on the sides just behind the red scoops) copper (Humbrol), and painted the top of each nacelle between the ribs with an Intermediate Blue (spray by Model Masters). For the nacelle pylons, I used Flat Gull Grey and Lt. Sea Gray on the raised panels (upper and lower.) I added the hangar landing 'runways' back by the fantail by using some thin masking tape to make the 'runway' borders, with the runways painted Gunship Grey.

With the primary painting completed, I did a little detail painting in areas that I knew would be awkward to get to once assembled. I then put all the components together, added the last of the pieces (ram scoops, sensors, phaser strips) to the pylons and underside and the clear dome with silver paint coating the inside to the underside of the saucer. Using some Signal Yellow (Humbrol), I painted all the thruster quads, Gunship Grey on all the phaser emitters, and silver, red and green (Testors) to the running lights. I used a Pilot Black Ultra Fine marker to do all the 'windows' and a red one to outline the yellow thruster quads.

Finishing Touches

Lastly came the decals. Using Micro Set and Micro Sol, I went about doing the decals, which (including numerous lifeboat decals) took the better part of a full day. *Note - The photos were taken before the upper saucer lifeboat decals were added.

Finishing with last minute touch-ups, the Omega Glory left the shipyard after about 5½ days of work, totaling about 60 hours of labor. Total cost of the model and accessories and materials came to about $110.00

If you are interested in the USS Omega Glory - A Star Trek Fan Club, located in Denver Colorado, feel free to visit our website.

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2003 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 27 February 2003.