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Steve CultTVman Iverson said:
GM Grey is a myth. Where is William McCullars when you need him? Gary Kerr? Help?
Somebody call? I don't cruise the message boards very often, but I felt a great disturbance in The Force. First, a quickie resume: I spent several days at Ed Miarecki's shop in 1991, before he started any renovation work on the 11-footer. After a couple days, we had nothing better to do, so we started disassembling the model. That was something I'll never forget! In 1996, I designed the Enterprise model that Greg Jein built for the DS9 episode, "Trials and Tribble-ations". In 1999, two friends and I spent three days at the Smithsonian's Garber Facility, further documenting the model for another project. Here are some comments about the paint scheme:

First, the main hull color:

The ship's color is very deceptive, so don't trust photographs. To the naked eye, the paint is a medium gray with the faintest hint of green; yet under flash photography, the paint looks MUCH lighter, practically an off-white.

[As an aside, the paint scheme of the Enterprise-A is similarly deceptive. When I was at ILM for the filming of Star Trek VI, I got to examine the model for the first time. I was expecting the model to be painted with various shades of light to medium blue-grays, but, instead, I saw a big white spaceship trimmed with a number of subtle, VERY pastel versions of powder blue. Both the 4ft and 6ft models of the Enterprise-D look the same in person as they do in photos.]

Back to Ed's garage in 1991: I whipped out my Federal Standard chips to determine the color of the model. This was not easy, because the pristine upper saucer was weathered with a multitude of greens, browns, and charcoal grays (and possibly clear coats, too). I couldn't find an exact match for the basic hull color, but a slightly lighter shade of FS 36473 would be close. This is very close to the Concrete Gray color chip that Richard Datin selected, as previously reported by Paul Newitt.

When Ed removed the model's bridge, he decided to duplicate the gray paint he found on the bottom, reasoning that the paint had not been exposed to 25+ years of light and weathering. He took the bridge to an auto paint store, and matched the paint to the GM Gray 4539 chip. Ed says that the new paint blended seamlessly into the original gray, but to my eyes, the GM gray is more of a pure, sterile gray, with no greenish cast. How do I explain the difference? Everyone's eyes see colors differently, and different lighting (daylight, fluorescent, incandescent) will play tricks with how we perceive colors. There's also the possibility that Ed matched a gray primer on the underside of the bridge, instead of a very similar colored hull paint.

I have a leftover 2x3" piece of thin metal that the first restorers used to cover an old wiring hole in the model. It's painted with the gray paint that the early restorers sprayed all over the hull (obliterating all the weathering, except on the top of the saucer). I believe this shade of gray is the same as, or very close to, the original hull color. The paint is MUCH darker than it appears in pre-1991 photos of the Enterprise hanging from the ceiling at the NASM.

Lastly, I can state that the grid lines on the upper saucer were drawn with pencil. In 1991, the grid lines extended along the sides and bottom of the saucer, and were faintly visible through the thin coat of gray paint that the previous restorers had sprayed. I couldn't see any evidence of grid lines elsewhere on the model.

BTW, the medium gray color of the impulse deck, nacelle endcaps, etc. was a color midway between FS36373 & 36293.

Hope this helps!

Gary Kerr
 

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If you look at this Paramount publicity photo on my web site, you can just make out some of the pencil lines on the underside of the primary hull. They are faint but they are there.

http://www.cloudster.com/Sets&Vehicles/STEnterprise/ent39.jpg

There is another aspect to the "color" of the ship that I've not heard mentioned yet, that is the fact that the model was mottled with patches of both brown AND green. This mottling is still visible on the upper surface of the primary hull which makes me wonder how "green" the base color actually was. Or did it just appear green from a distance when these patches blended together? I always thought that the ship was basically gray with these patches of color applied as a kind of "weathering" which then gives it a greenish tint.

I know that Mr Datin states that there was a green component to the base color but I would take a heavy bet that it wasn't enough to make the base color look "green" to the naked eye. I'm guessing it was these added color patches that did that. I have seen good photos of the saucer upper surface taken when the model was disassembled for "restoration" and it does not look green. It looks gray.
 
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