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OK for you aztec fans, this is a long read but I think you will find it interesting.

In the past few months I have been pouring over screen shots, auction photos and black & white photos of the
Refit's pearl paints. I have also read the work of Gunstar1 and others but could never quite figure out how the aztec was done exactly.

But I think I finally figured it out. The key is that "primary" aztec is not uniform from panel to panel. There have been theories
that it changes based on a trick of light...and it does...but it really is different from panel to panel. It is primarily blue, however, can be over sprayed with other
colors and in some cases, hit heavy with gold. It can be very heavy blue, or almost nothing at all.

I also discovered that the gold looks very dark in the b&w photos HOWEVER, only when it is in the non-pearl state. It is reflective
bright when in a hot spot from the light. In short, gold is the most influential color on the ship.

With this information we can cross reference the b&w photos to the color
photos...and the screen shots.

The "secondary" aztec is mostly gold with some red and a few greens. This is very evident in the hidef screen shots where the ship spot lights are off.
On the top of the saucer there are not that many per panel. Some panels have one or two, some have up to 10 or so.
On the bottom of the saucer it is much more "busy" and random.

The Rosetta stone is the following compare shot. The one on the left is in
the non-pearl state and the one on the right is pearling color...

Note the darkest areas in the b&w match gold in the color.

http://galaxyphoto.com/ent/aztek_compare.jpg

Any theory should be reproducible. I used the most orthogonal
b&w saucer shot to make a panel accurate pattern on my 1/175 scratch built. I am
about half way through top of the saucer.

Here is a compare to a color shot from the auction. Note the position and color
of the aztec and small panels...very close (but I did miss a couple here and there). Note also that the panels in the lower
right are washed out by an over spray of blue without a mask. Again, a match
to the original.

http://galaxyphoto.com/ent/disk_aztek_compare.jpg

Lastly, here is a b&w compare with a little noise added in Photoshop to
match the film grain. (I have not started on the outer ring yet).

http://galaxyphoto.com/ent/disk_aztec_compareB&W.jpg

Here is what I have mapped so far. The grid lines may be slightly off for your kit. They have been adjusted to match my hand scribed lines.

Much of it is an interpretation. We only have "pearling" color photos of
about 30% of the disk....but from the b&w photos I can tell where the
gold is....and I have used red where there are dark spots that
are "not as dark". We can never be 100% accurate but I think this is
the most detailed study to date. You could probably sprinkle in some
green squares as well.

In reality I think the primary aztec was sprayed with various colors
on top of the blue while the mask was still in place.

http://galaxyphoto.com/ent/wedge_top.jpg

And here is an contrast stretched color version of my paint so far (its MUCH more subtle to the eye).
You can see how the gold flips to blue/gray and the blue flips to yellow...which is important to understand
when you study the reference photos that are in the negative, non-pearling state...

http://galaxyphoto.com/ent/disk_aztec_test.jpg

Pressing on, thanks for looking.....
_________________
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-Jason Ware

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VISIT MY ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY HOMEPAGE!!
ASTRO IMAGES FOR DOWN-LOAD, PRINTS
http://www.galaxyphoto.com
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My Other Hobby....High Power Rocketry
http://www.galaxyphoto.com/rockets.htm
 

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whoa...

Mind blowing, really.

You really put a lot of work and thought into this. Seems like you've been thinking about it for some time.

Can't wait to see the results!
 

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Oh Em Gee!! That's amazing.
You're a braver man than I.
 

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Jason, that is brilliant. Have you run this past Paul Olsen? He is very approachable, very nice, and I think would really appreciate the amount of work you've done and be very responsive.
 

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eeek! Is it even possible to do this on a 1/350, let alone the teensy 1/1000...?

It truly is amazing work you are doing. I'm just afraid of trying to reproduce it.
 

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Y'know, if masking off all those tiny squares is daunting (and it is!), you can spray pearl onto blank decal paper and cut it out that way.

I've been trying it out on my 1/350th I'm quite happy with the results so far.

Steve
 

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Jason,

Truly inspiring! I've already printed out what you've posted and thrown it in my STMP notebook. And ditto on the advice on contacting Paul Olsen as well, this may lead to the closest thing we have to an accurate survey of the STMP E!

Small world, I've been going to your website for maybe two years now? Never knew you were a modeler as well.
 

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Jason, I was just looking at Trekmodeler's beautiful paint job and it reminded me of this thread. I not only want to pull it to the top again but I wanted to ask, are you still out there? Are you still working on this amazing job of mapping the E? I ask because I'm working on my 3d PL and with previous builds, I went with the standard aztek, even though it didn't match what I saw in photos. Don't want to do that this time, knowing what we know now. I can't blame you if you've run shrieking away from this task, as that's exactly what I did years ago. But you had come so far...
And how is that big beautiful E coming along? Inquiring minds want to know.
 

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Excellent detective work and the Rosetta Stone discovery is well named.
Makes me happy as Gold is my favorite colour.
I sent this information to my Uncle who is an airbrush artist, and he will teach me how to paint this baby...cause I got two.
:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks guys, yes, I am still here and getting close. See my update post in
this directory. The more I work with this medium and see how the pearls behave, the more I am convinced I have figured it out. I think the one thing that may be different is the pearls themselvs. It seems to me that the pearls on the original ship don't show the compliment color as much as today's "modern" materials.

At least for the blue. If you put the pearl on too heavy, the ship looks very yellow in difussed light. I think what was used in 1979 may not have behaved that way. I think it showed the blue very vividly, but the compliment yellow not as much.

I don't have any of the origianal paints to test this theory but it seems reasonable based on the photos.
 
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