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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am building the 1/350th TOS Enterprise. I am obsessive about keeping the paint job smooth as glass and perfect. Sometimes this requires me to sand parts, and preferably wet sand them. For instance, sanding the saucer section in the tub.

So I was considering painting all the pieces first, then assembling the model, so that electronics won't get wet inside should I decide to wet sand the paint again. After all of it is built, there would of course be seams. I figure I can just sand down the seams, then use an airbrush to blend the paint job from before the model was assembled.

What are the pros and cons of doing this? Should I just forget this idea and paint after assembly?
 

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This is how a lot of modellers do it, although I've yet to try it on my 1/350 kit. As long as you have enough of the paint for where the seams are, it should work fine.
 

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full disclosure: I haven't built the 1/350 Enterprise yet, it scares the willies out of me. :)

I think the 'paint then assemble' style works in many cases, I'm not sure it's a good idea on the 1/350 Enterprise. I don't know how the main components lock together (Saucer, nacelles, pylons- nacelle to pylon and pylon to engineering hull) so maybe, they click together just fine, but here's the thought that first popped into my head.

Big model. Big parts. all the fiddling of moving it around to seal, sand and paint those seams. It seems to me there's a potential for a lot of flex going on what with moving it this way and that to work the seams on the dorsal and the Nacelles/Pylons/Engineering hull. Imagine having the ship on its back as you work on the dorsal seam, and a little too much pressure pushes down on the nacelles and the engineering hull cracks slightly.

I suspect that building, finishing and THEN painting does the best job on this specific kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's going to depend upon the size of the seam. Small defects can be corrected with gap filling primer. Larger ones do not fill well (or last) with paint.
I did mean filling the gap with paint. I meant painting the pieces of the hull, then gluing them together. Obviously there would be seams at this point. So I would then fill the gap with putty and sand it down. Then use my airbrush to paint over the seam and blend the paint job to be seamless.
 

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I meant painting the pieces of the hull, then gluing them together. Obviously there would be seams at this point. So I would then fill the gap with putty and sand it down. Then use my airbrush to paint over the seam and blend the paint job to be seamless.
It can be done like that. In fact, there are some advantages when it comes to getting paint coverage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It can be done like that. In fact, there are some advantages when it comes to getting paint coverage.

That's what I was thinking. I've seen people fully build the ship, then try to paint up in the nooks and crannies. I feel like it would be easy to paint as flat pieces and then blend the joins.

This would work on the TOS E because it doesn't have aztecing. Maybe something like the Refit would indeed need painting after assembly.
 

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I did major assemblies (saucer, engineering hull, nacelles), glued, puttied, etc, then painted them. Then I joined the parts. The only part I had to fix a seam on at that point was the neck seams. I didn't even glue the nacelles to the pylon, nor the neck to the saucer, the fit was so tight, just the neck to engineering hull needed glue and putty.
 

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I think how you do it depends most on how you handle the windows.

If you are going to use little masks for each window then I don't think it matters much what order you do stuff.

I painted first, then installed the windows and electronics, then did the seams.

The only one that needed a lot of putty was the seam between the saucer halves. That ended up being a lot of work, masking off the bottom edge to cover the windows and working carefully along the seam to smooth it out.

Paint was almost enough to fill the seam on the secondary hull after a lot of work to get the shuttle bay shaved down so the secondary hull would close correctly. Tiny amounts of putty on those seams was all that was needed.

The nacelles needed quite a bit of putty and sanding to get rid of those seams, but those are easy to do before painting.

The pylons and neck glued up so tight only a little sanding and touching up of the paint was needed.
 
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