Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Watchtower Class

NOTE:  You can click on most pictures to get a larger view of them.

I have to admit, this was not high on my favorites to build. I'm not sure if it was the timing of life events going on at the same time, or just that it took me way out of my comfort zone as far as using new skill sets to build and paint her. The fact that it took me 9 months to eventually finish her is testament to the fact that I was not in "the mood" to build it.

In the end though, I was happy with the outcome and now I have a very unique looking ship in my collection, so I guess I'll take it as a win.

I present to you, what has become known as the Watchtower Class.


The Watchtower class is a an experimental ship to come out of the Starfleet core of engineers during a phase of testing the feasibility of open deck starships.

Hornet Class Open Deck Carrier

You can red more about the Hornet class at THIS LINK.

With the success of the open deck Hornet Class carrier, Starfleet wished to attempt to make a mobile mini-starbase that could be rapidly deployed where needed. Using parts from the Hornet class, they built the Helms Deep to test the feasibility of this new type of ship.

USS Helms Deep (NCC-2016)
Watchtower Class
[1:2500 Scale Frankenstein Build]


Although she is not the fastest ship in the fleet, she does sport 4 hanger bays, which allows her to carry a plethora of support craft from shuttles to fighters.

The "arms" that extend from her saucer support structure contain extensive sensor pods that are used for all sorts of monitoring.

Recognizing that she could potentially be an easy target when deployed, the engineers also gave her some protective firepower with 18 strategically placed Type 8 phaser banks and 10 equally well placed photon torpedo launchers.

Currently, there is only one of these types of ships in existence as their usefulness is still being evaluated.


Parts Used: AMT Round 2 Enterprise B Nacelle Strut, Cozmo Heavy Industries Hornet Class Saucer Section and Nacelles, and Studio 739 Models Chariot Class Primary Hull and Arms

Paul Lewis from the Star Trek Modelers Group page on FaceBook had sent me some reject parts from his resin casting inventory and I decided to have a go at making a variant of his Chariot Class starship.  I wanted mine to be different though so I started going through all my extra parts inventory.
I decided that I wanted my deflector dish facing forward more so I sawed it off and reattached and filled in with putty. The other defect involved the long part that hangs down the enter of the secondary hull.  Mine was extremely off center, so I just filled it out and made it symmetrical with a bunch of putty. This will give her a LOT of carrier space internally.

My primary hull is from a Cozmo Heavy Industries Hornet Class, which is also a type of open deck carrier. I had some left over nacelles so I opted to use an extra set of Excelsior struts. I just sprayed everything white and started detailing the nacelles.

At this point, I ended up taking almost a nine month hiatus from building.  There were several life events that had happened to me and my heart just wasn't into the hobby.  Eventually, I decided to get back to work on this ship and 5 others that were on my workbench.

One of the things that motivated me to get started again was my dog.  Paul had sent me 5 TINY little shuttle fighters to go with this model.  My dog decided to get at the container containing them, and apparently ate one of them.  I figured that I better get started on the project again beofre the rest of the fleet disappeared.

I got side tracked making the stand for this ship and another model I was working on at the same time.


I have written an article about making posts for these sorts of stands.  You may read that article at THIS LINK.

I put out a request to the users at both the Star Trek Modelers Group page and the E.A.M. Everything About Models group page on Facebook asking for name suggestions.  

A special thank you goes out to Michael K. Payton and Greg Teft from those two groups for the naming ideas that I finally decided on. 

The name suggestions I got were:

Chancellor Class - USS Helms Deep (Michael Payton)
Watchtower Class - USS J'onn J'onzz (Greg Teft)
Metropolis Class - USS Charger (Andrew Shortall)

I then finished up all the detail painting. For the first time I used scotch tape to help make straight lines both for the deck as well as the windows on the main hull.


After finishing up the little detail painting, I fixed any areas that still needed some white. I then let her dry overnight.

The next day I spent some time touching up tiny little mistakes and areas that still needed some tiny detailing.   I then clear coated her and psyched myself up to start that part of the project I dreaded the most... THE SHUTTLES.

I started with the easy part of just painting them white and then called it a day.

I took my time with these as I didn't want to accidentally mess up any paint work.  I basically just used a pin and dabbed paint on to show off the key parts of a shuttle like bussard collectors, nacelle grills, windows and impulse drives.

In the end, the shuttle final product was crude looking up close, but from a distance, they look good enough to fulfill thier purpose, so I decided to call the project done.

When I finished the ship and shuttles, I took a couple photos of it with the Hornet Class just for some comparisons.

And that is all I ave to share about this model and the build process I went through.  As uncomfortable I was with the build, it ended up being a more unique ship in my fleet, and I learned a couple of new skills along the way.  

As always, I hope you found this article useful and informative.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

So for now, "Live long and prosper!!!"

Additional Links To Photos Of My Collection:

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