Help me build the Enterprise!
December 8, 2009 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I'm building a model and I have a few questions about applying decals. I have a bit of experience with this, but could use some pointers for my specific issue. Read on!

So, I'm now on my second attempt to build the 19" AMT version of the Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701). You know, this one.

I ruined the first kit but learned enough in the process that a couple months later I went out and bought it again in the hopes that I could finish the deal.

This is the fourth model I've tackled since I got into the whole scene about six months ago, just so you have a gauge for my level of technical know-how. I am not a guru by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a little bit of experience at this point with pretty much all aspects of plastic model building.

So, my question is largely one of technique. Soon (I hope) I will finally be to the point where it's time to put decals on my Enterprise. I went out and ordered a custom set of decals from and I really want to make sure things look sharp. I have bottles of decal setter and decal softener and I have used these in the past and have been pretty pleased with the results.

However, the Enterprise is really one of the first models I've built where I want to pay really excellent attention to symmetry. For example, the "NCC - 1701" decal that goes across the saucer (see here) and the "racing stripe" that goes on the warp nacelles (see here) - I'm trying to think of how would I go about ensuring that when I apply these decals I do more than just eyeball them, because I could see that turning out really poorly.

However, all my ideas seem to involve making small guide markings on the hull of the ship with like pencil or little pieces of tape and this all seems very convoluted and I am unsure that I will have success and so I wonder - for those of you who do any kind of modeling is there any technique you've found that works particularly well?

posted by kbanas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (1 answer total)
You might try using a type of laser level.
Mount the ship so that the area where the decal goes can be illuminated by the level, adjust as required. Moisten and place the decal using setting solution, etc as necessary.
You probably want the surface to be decorated to be horizontal. i.e. Ship in "normal" position for the saucer decal. Ship on its side for the nacelle decals.
As you said, guide lines or tape will be trapped under the decal.
Follow the other rules for placing decals. Be sure that the surface is glossy, a flat caoted surface will encourage silvering. If necessary, reim the clear portions of the decal all the way back to the image.
Yes, IWAMIAFL I Was A Modeler In A Former Life.
posted by Drasher at 1:09 PM on December 8, 2009

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