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Discussion Starter #1
There is a thread "my PL Refit insanity" which has been discussing hyper-accuracy of the PL Refit and is still in the stages of the physical augmentation - marc111's site on his buildup is incredible in terms of detail, and as I follow along his progress others and myself are catching other tidbits that we OCD's feel must be rectified. Mark's site is what I am using for guidelines to the building aspect, but I have plans for painting that I have never seen considered by anyone yet, and would appreciate any suggestions as I plan this project....

Most people that get this awesome kit really go all out on lighting, and I'm really impressed by what others in these forums have accomplished. So far, everyone has painted the ship according to images of the studio model (and then add lighting effects and often various ways of doing the spotlight effects). As a ST:TMP "purist" I think that the presentation of the ship in the original movie is infinitely superior to how it looks in all the movies that follow. I've always loved how real the ship looked, but in the following movies (oh, the irony) it looked more and more like.... a model.

This I think is primarily due to how ILM was used to shooting models. I don't think it's possible to recreate how it looked in TMP (with a paintjob that matches the studio model) with actual lights unless you actually have a black room, tons of dental tools to scatter the light (what they did), very tight spotlights (mounted someplace other than the ship itself) and the ability to willfully change the apeture of your own eyes (the ship was shot in low light to compensate for it's reflectiveness).

Since I can't MAKE the ship look how it's lit in TMP.... I'm going to PAINT how it's lit in TMP - As you see the images below, the ship looks gray with white-ish areas where the lights are shining. The basecoat will be just as the screencaps show - literally - I will be appraoching it like a 3D canvas and paint on the gray basecoat all the spotlighting and ambient light created by the spotlights. On top of this will go (not sure about order yet) the aztek panelling and decals.

The decals I may recreate as vector graphics in Illustrator so that I can controll the variations of the colors as they are in "light" or "shadow" (so there would be red-reds in spotlight areas and dark reds in unlit areas). The azteking sounds impossible to incorporate with so much color variation (on the basecoat), but I think it will work perfectly as Paul Olsen describes using only 4 pearl colors to lay over the basecoat - and these were thinned, not mixed with white. I plan on doing all the panelling within the aztek patterns. The interesting part will be the basic, initial aztek pattern - it seems that it's made up of green and red (then broken down further by blue and gold) rather than flat and gloss. The larger green and blue (engineering etc) molded areas would be the tricky part, but not too bad I think.

I will portray the ship with impulse engines off (and impulse crystal off) and warp grilles off. This is how it appears through the majority of the TMP ... only when it's going "warp .5" are the impulse engines lit and at that point, the impulse crystal is RED (see below). It only appears blue or white in the later movies, and "unofficially" in the directors cut TMP when they put in the digital enterprise (but neglect to keep consistency)

So that's my crazy master plan, which I expect to take me more than 5 years with the kids as young as they are right now (so don't expect any visual updates for a looong while). My goal in this thread is to get feedback. Any thoughts? Concerns? Input? Reccomendations on a good insane asylum?
 

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Well I say.. go for it.

I on the other hand will paint the Refit as how she appears as the Studio model. Meaning I will use the hyper resolution Chrisites pictures for color matching and detailing. Hopefully she’ll look almost identical to the Studio model.

The lighting will probably be a combination of Raytheons insito (internal) lighting for the top saucer spot lights and maybe inside nacelles registry spotlights , since I don’t want to build a mighty frame to be able to light it from the top.

But lower saucer spotlights, dorsal, Starfleet delta, pylons and fantail I will try to illuminate using mirrors. The original display base seems wide enough to allow for hiding the mirrors so they won’t be immediately noticeable.

Am not sure if this will all work out.. Real life right now does not allow me to spend much time with modelling. And I too a break form the Refit in favour of a Space 1999 Eagle transporter… it’s a kit I always wanted to build and finally got one via Evilbay. Besides I needed to build something without a main saucer, secondary hull and warp pylons/nacelles.

I have no clue when my Refit will be done… a year at least probably ore likely to be between 18 – 20 Month, because the Aztecing alone will take ages to be completed by using 4 color shades.

I will keep you guys update on my Refit progress. But next thing you’ll probably see is my finished Eagle :D
 

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Good luck with that Eagle, sounds an interesting project, please post some pics of progress Garb.

Garb, you are taking the classical approach to the miniature, which means paint it as per the studio model and then get the correct light to make it look like it does on film. I think the only thing with this approach is that you then lose the effect of the filming process which itself makes the model look very different on screen, owing to filters colour cast, etc. etc. Still, you can always use photoshop to add that effect to the pictures taken of your model...I like the idea of using mirrors in the base.

Gunstar, I am with you in the approach to try and make the model appear as it does on film, but you will have difficulty painting on the spotlight effect. Its a great idea though and worth a try.

Good to see different people trying different things. Keep posting ideas guys.
 

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Well you know to me the per Studio Model approach is the only real approach to get here right. Since going with the “onscreen” look… which scene in which movie do you want to reflect? She looks different in each shot. Different lighting, shape of spotlight is not consistent etc.

But going with the “studio Model” look you’ll get the right thing.. always. You want to recreate a scene? Just try to match the lighting conditions and angle, take a picture and you got it.

Take this for example:



With this shot I tried to recreate the flyby scene form TUC… just before Spock and Valeris have their little chat. Its not a perfect match but the feel of it … if you know what I mean … is the same :D The pictures was taken in my bedroom with curtains closed against a black back drop. Only the saturation on yellow was altered to reduce the yellowish tint of the bulbs used …oh and I took the liberty of adding a star filed.

This is what she looks like to the naked eye:



So lighting can make THE difference to get the looks.


But I do know ppl like to have the Refit look like on screen in any light condition so they try to paint here in darker colors and less pronounced details. No problem there.. to each his own

As for the eagle.. will create a separate thread for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses. I don't think it will be difficult to paint on the spot lights (which will not just be white transitioning to gray, other colors will be involved to recreate the look) as I have done the effect an a long lost ertl refit project when I was a kid - and that was without an airbrush! I was inspired to tackle this approach when I was at the Smithsonian 20 years ago - there was a finished model of the refit on display at the gift shop - wasn't a stellar job, but it gave me the idea.

I don't intend to skip any details of what's on the studio model - I have all the high-res Christie's pics and about a hundred others, as well as 300 screencaps - just because the 4-color panelling will be over various shades of gray, it won't be any less visible.

Not disputing the quality of those who do the white approach, but no matter how you light it, it will still look white. Because of its smaller size and the unknown factors of the actual lighting conditions in TMP, any lit kit will still look white... my goal is that when I look at the ship in any light, it will look like a screencap. I know that the cofiguration of spotlights changes (partly because they did not originate on the ship - except the yellower streaks on dorsal, pylons, and little thingy under hangar bay) and what configuration I choose will be the most common in TMP (no spots on the left and right underside of primary hull) and acual light coverage of each spot (there are about 20) will be determined by the best looking instance in the movie. My viewpoint is to treat it like a painting, to capture the essense of the moment in TMP. Again, thanks for the comments.
 

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hm... my above ERTL Refit is ivory in base color not white, but I'd say in the lit picture she does look mighty grey to me .... :D
 

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I think it's possible to paint on the spot lights. Trompe L'Oeil can be a very effective technique. Hard to achieve though. I think the overall color of the ship would have to be very dark for the illumination effect to look right. It may come down to the proper level of contrast.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Righto - to give a point of reference, see the image above (initial post) where the ship is about to take off into warp. I won't be using a mix of just black and white, but I'll use a grayscale right now for reference: the darkest parts of the "white" unlit hull would be almost 85% black, the majority of the ship would be about 78% black, and the brightest (from ambient light, eg: the dorsal is lighter from the concentration of nearby lights) unlit parts would be maybe 73% black. After 4-color panelling, the brightest part of the ship with light "shining" on it would be maybe 13% black - not totally white. Only windows and nav lights would be total white mixed with a little blue (windows) or yellow (nav lights)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here's another, more extreme example of the variation of gray levels. The image below (spock arriving) - note the ambient light on the warp engines... brighter towards the front, shadows amongst the lengthwise bulges. Also note how the spotlight at the back end of the engine ends up hitting part of the upper "bulge" (shadow in-between). Also the side walls of the saucer are fairly bright (in the back at least). Hopefully that clarifies what I mean by paint-it-like-I-see-it in TMP (and why this will take me years to complete...years of fun though!)
 

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Love the front 3/4 of your Ent above Garb...but its not the same as the pic as it sits on the mantlepiece. At the end of the day you've done a little work to get the fly by shot, which is cool; it looks amazing.

I think Gunstar is trying to get the film look even when it is sitting on the mantlepiece. Its something I've tried, and its not really worked yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Bingo. And therein lies the challenge and purpose of this thread - has anyone else tried it, what worked, what didn't work, how could one approach that goal, etc. etc.
 
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I have to admit that it's an approach i've never considered...just think of all the wiring i coulda saved meself :D

The words 'Unusual approach' are an understatement, this is going to be a first with the refit i do belive so please keep us posted on the progress.
I do like different thinking and this is most certainly it :thumbsup:

I like the sound of this, i like the sound of this a lot !

Go easy.
 

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I think it would be interesting to approach the painting as a subtractive exercise, specifically: paint it as it is lit- a warm-ish version, but with all the aztec-ing and pearlescent effects and applied decals, then lower the overall value with oversprays of a translucent dark color, like Tamiya smoke, except the spot-lit areas, which would be masked off.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's a good thought, but I think that all of the spotlight work will need to be freehand airbrushing with so much variance with the intensity of the light. if you look at the screencaps, there are no truly distinct edges except where the physical aspects of the hull break up the lighting, such as the warp bulges previously shown, so masking will only be needed in those situations. also, I'm wondering if the spotlights should fade into the blue realm just a hair before fading off entirely - very subtle, but that seems to be the quality of the light onscreen. In general, no part of the ship will match another exactly unless that part is reflected down the length axis (grays would shift the same on inner port pylon and starboard pylon, but outer would look different than inner etc etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
oh, and I think that the 4-color panelling and decals should go on last (after spotlight painting) but this is probably a point that should be debated and explored heavily. . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #17
.... which is why I said (a few posts back in this thread) that I would be recreating the decals in Adobe Illustrator with the proper color/brightness-darkness shifts.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That's a good idea. Buuuuuut I think that for myself I will need to do it freehand (I do freelance art production) and would enjoy the challenge of literally treating it like a "dynamic" canvas.
 
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