Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ares Class

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

The USS Ares (NCC-1650) is a ship that we are introduced to in the short fan made film titled "Star Trek: Axanar - Prelude to Axanar".  The USS Ares was the prototype of the Ares class and it was commanded by Garth of Izar during the Four Years War.


According to Wikipedia, "Prelude to Axanar (working title: Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar, and long title: The Four Years War Part III: Prelude to Axanar) is a 2014 American fan made short film, directed by Christian Gossett and written by Christian Gossett and Alec Peters. Funded through Kickstarter, production sought $10,000 in funding, but raised $101,000. It had its public debut July 26, 2014 at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Set in the Star Trek universe, the film stars Kate Vernon, Tony Todd, Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and J. G. Hertzler, in a documentary-style film recounting the events surrounding the Battle of Axanar, a major clash between the Federation and the Klingons."


You can see the ship under construction as well as the ship in action in the films via YouTube.

Star Trek: Axanar - Prelude to Axanar - Trailer = CLICK HERE

Star Trek: Axanar - Prelude to Axanar = CLICK HERE

One of the Kickstarter perks is that you can buy a beautiful resin model of the main ship from the video.


Unfortunately, the scale was too big and to expensive for my collecting tastes and I planned to build one myself.  Then around the fall of 2014, the Star Trek Modelers Group page on FaceBook in conjunction with the Star Trek: Axanar people, held a contest for individuals to build thier own.  This finally motivated me to give it a try in 1:2500 scale.

In the end, I built two.  The first one came out pretty decent, HOWEVER, I had a feeling that if I gave it another go, using what I had leaned the first time around, I could improve the final product.

USS Ares (NCC-1650)
Ares Class
1:2500 Scale AMT Kitbash
1st Attempt

 
 
 
 

Parts Used: AMT Enterprise, AMT Enterprise Refit, Sheet Styrene

This was one of my most ambitious builds at the time.  I had never scratch built parts or heavily modified an existing kit to this level before.

To ensure size compatibility across the board, I would hold up my saucer section to a picture on my iPad, resize the picture to be the same size and then eyeball the other parts to that picture.

 
 

The first thing I needed to do was to smooth out the bottom of the saucer section. The pictures show her to be flat and not so curvy as a Constitution Class. It looks like I'll need to add another layer on the bottom.  I also started blocking out the top of the saucer with the sheet sytrene.


 
 
 

The first picture in this next set is just a quick silly picture of my boneyard of leftover parts.  I then made a tiny bit of progress on the secondary hull.  I did a bunch of measuring and some rough cuts using a Refit Connie hull. The width is spot on. And the curves are close enough for my liking. I'll have to do some filling in but that is the easy part. I also needed to cut back the deflector dish. 



 
 

I have come to the conclusion that bending and super gluing styrene sucks. You guys who work with this stuff all the time are gods in my eyes. I got the flaring done around the deflector dish and curved out the rear end of the ship. I had to dremmel around the deflector dish to get the flaring to go flush with the hull. My flaring is sticking down to much on the deflector dish as well. If you plan to attempt this ship, mount the secondary hull back a tiny bit more. At this point, I will let the glue set for the night and then take a Dremmel to both ends to round them off.  


I will then need to figure out the hanger bay, and I will have lots of sanding to take off the finger prints that have been permanently glued to the ship. 



 

At this point in the build, I wasn't liking the look of the hull around the deflector dish. I tore off the styrene, Dremmeled out the rough pieces and then fashioned some new parts. These look much better.
 
 
 
 

The next phase of the build involved rounding out all the edges with a Dremmel, and this went extremely well. I sanded everywhere as well as I could. Given that this was my first try at curving sheet styrene and super gluing it, I was happy with the end result. I then moved ahead with painting and filling cracks that I didn't notice. I even put some extra special effects into the bussard collectors. This model is a little rough around the edges, but has been fun doing something completely new.

I wrapped up the project with mounting the warp nacelles.  Most of the painting is done at this point with just some minor touch ups needed.  




Having just finished the v1 of this ship, and having learned a TON of tricks and techniques, I decided to move ahead and build v2.


USS Ares (NCC-1650)
Ares Class
1:2500 Scale AMT Kitbash
2nd Attempt

 
 
 
 
 

As you can see, this model came out a LOT nicer than the first one and I ended up submitting pictures of this one for the contest.

I ended up giving the 1st version to my youngest nephew as a birthday present.  From what I understand, it suffered a devastating systems failure after it was accidentally sat on.

This time around, I made some paper templates for using the 1:2500 scale parts that I was using so that I could do better more exact custom parts.  I was able to cut out certain areas of the ship and lay it on the sheet styrene to allow me to trace and cut more exacting sized and shaped parts.

I downloaded a picture of the Ares from the web and then put that picture into a Word document.  I resized the picture so that when I printed it out, the saucer on the picture matched the size of my old school Constitution saucer section.

If you would like a copy of the template I made, simply click on THIS LINK.

I didn't really document my step by step process the second time around, however, I did start using a tip on the end of my model cement tube to better control the flow of glue.



 
 

The underside of the saucer section was smoothly this time around using the dremel to cut out the bottom.  It turns out that the inside spindel from a standard scotch tape dispenser makes for a great circle template for your sheet styrene.


 
 

Using my template, I cut out the back plate that sits on the rear of the saucer section.  This time round though, I used a refit Constitution hull that had the panel lines as I felt that this gave the side of the ship a bit more definition.  I sawed off the neck and deflector dish from the secondary hull and prepped all my parts.


 
 

Using sheet styrene, I then seriously widened the secondary hull using the template as a gauge for the proper width.  I glued a massive whale tail to the rear of the ship with the intention of dremmeling this down to match the rear hanger bay lip that juts out from the ship.  Once everything set and dried, I proceeded to cut out the space that the saucer section would sit it.


 

After rounding off the rear of the ship, I realized that I didn't like the bottom part so much underneath the hanger bay.  From a side view, my model needed to e a bit thicker there, do I tuck a piece of the cut out primary hull and filled and dremmeled until it looked much better.

 
 

I then cut out the space for the deflector dish and then it was a matter of filling gaps, putty work, cutting out the flares for the dish, more dremel work, more filling gaps, etc., etc., etc.

 

And then on to the painting.  The paint helps see where you need to fill in more gaps so it's a slower job at this point.  I even used my scotch tape roll as a template to evenly place the phaser banks.
The end product turned out super nice.  I still go back to it and like to show it off as it marked a new era in my building skillset.




BONUS ROUND!!!

Every once in a while, I'll have a little extra stuff to share with you that sort of fits in with my comparison articles.

Whenever I build a TOS era style ship, I will inevitably build a TMP era version of that ship as well.  Given the availability of 1:2500 parts to me, this is an easy task to imagine and then upgrade.  I eventually came across some pictures that someone made up of what the ship would look like and used those pictures as a template to build my own version.

 

I am not going to say too much more about this model as I have written up an entire article about it and the build process that went into it as well.  You can read that article by following THIS LINK.




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:
v1 Model: The Ship     Work In Progress
v2 Model: The Ship     Work In Progress

4 comments:

  1. Looks good! I'm really torn myself about the Ares. I absolutely love it from certain oblique angles (like the spacedock one you have at the top of the post) and but it drops down to just ok on others (like pure side shots). I'm not sure why though.

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    1. Thanks! As a kitbasher, I'm always looking for new an interesting models. To my knowledge, I'm the only person who built one in 1:2500 scale.

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  2. If you really want to be the only person (or at least the first person until I get around to it!) to build a model at any scale, you can feel free to kitbash one of your NX models to include my NXL module. I wouldn't mind seeing it built! :) That's what I was brainstorming when I found your NX blog article.

    http://sitzkrieg.blogspot.com/2016/07/star-trek-nxl-long-range-exploration-pod.html

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    Replies
    1. OK, I have to admit, that is pretty cool. I may take you up on that and one day pick up another Johnny Lighting NX to try it on.

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