Monday, July 25, 2016

Zodiac Class

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

I am a very active member of the Star Trek Modelers Group page on FaceBook.  From there, I am introduced to all sorts of interesting designs, both canon and non-canon.  Some are in the form of models that other members have built, or in the case of this model, just an idea on paper.  I decided to make an attempt and bringing this one out from the 2D universe and convert it into a 3D physical model.

This is the story about that build...

USS Gemini B (NCC-2101-B)
Zodiac Class Blockade Runner (Heavy Destroyer)
1:2500 Scale Cozmo Heavy Industries Kitbash
Original Design by Geoff Littlefield



The Zodiac Class was designed to be able to break through blockades and deliver supplies to those in need.  Because of this, she was designed to be fast, agile and pack a punch.  Thirteen of this class of ships were built and were named after the Zodiac signs.

USS Aquarius, USS Pisces, USS Aries, USS Taurus, USS Gemini A & USS Gemini B, USS Cancer, USS Leo, USS Virgo, USS Libra, USS Scorpio, USS Sagittarius, and the USS Capricorn were all ships of this class.  There were two USS Gemini's built and they are often referred to as Gemini Alpha and Gemini Bravo.  The Gemini ships were often assigned on missions together.

The blockade running tactic was often that of brute force.  The ships were more heavily shielded in the front and using the over and under torpedo launchers, along with its phaser banks and phaser cannons, the ship would simply punch its way through any "barriers".  The ship was capable of entering a planet’s atmosphere and would often do a low strafing run to drop the supplies that were stored in its lower rear hanger bays.  On some occasions, larger shuttles would be loaded with the supplies and the goods would be ferried to the intended locations.

When the ships were first built, they did not serve in their intended capacity and instead were relegated to patrol duty along the Neutral Zone.  However, during the Dominion War, they were finally pressed into running goods and weapons to oppressed planets and outposts.

Surprisingly, four of these ships (USS Gemini B, USS Aquarius, USS Taurus, and the USS Capricorn) survived the war and have returned to their patrol duties.


Parts Used: Cozmo Heavy Industries Miranda Class Hull, Weapons Pods/Roll-bar, Nacelle Struts.  AMT Round 2 Miranda Class top, hanger bay assembly, nacelles.  AMT Round 2 Constitution Class Refit Nacelle Struts.

NOTE: You could easily substitute the C.H.I. part with two Miranda kits which would also give you the two weapons pods that are needed for the build.

This build was inspired by Geoff Littlefield's pictures that he shared on the Star Trek Modelers Group Facebook page.

This was the first picture that Geoff had shared to the group.  As discussions continued on about what he was going to call her, he later shared the additional views that I posted at the beginning of this article.

I started building her on a weekend, which gave me a lot of time to make some major progress on her.  I started with a resin cast of a Reliant hull that was rejected because of an air bubble in the nose of the saucer section.  I cut away the air bubble and will now use that section for a deflector dish.  I then took another top section from an AMT Miranda Class and after gluing on the hanger bay door piece, I glued that to the bottom of the main hull.  I ground off the bottom command module and replaced it with a sensor assembly.  I then used sculpting putty and filled in all the seams along the sides of the hull.


The next day  didn't look like I accomplished much, but I did.  I sanded down the areas that I had puttied.  These areas will still need some smoothing out but I'll address that when I paint her.  I cut down the Miranda class nacelle struts to serve as the supports for the over and under weapons pylons.  I also glued the Constitution class nacelle pylons to the nacelles.  I did need to cut the pylons down a tiny bit and at an angle so that the nacelles will run straight and parallel with the rest of the ship.


The next day saw me getting work done with all the detail painting.


I didn't get home until late the next day so I had a late start and not a lot of time to work on the model.  I finished up the painting of the weapons pods and roll-bar assemblies and I added the last detail painting to the nacelle struts.  I also finished up the detail painting of the bottom, front and rear of the ship.  I find that Testor's enamel silver paint takes a LONG time to set so it's best to let it sit for a bit.


I wasn't expecting to get much done on the model the next day, however, expectations don't always work the way we think.  I finished the detail painting on the bottom of the ship and then corrected a few issues on the rear and front of her.  I started painting the unpainted areas white and got the bottom and rear of the ship done.  I also managed to mount the bottom roll-bar and weapons pod assembly.  I finished painting one side of the nacelles and nacelle struts white as well.


I ended up taking a weekend off from model building, which is a shame as I would probably have finished the build then.  I painted the upper part of the hull the traditional white color and then mounted the upper weapons pod and roll-bar.  I also finished painting the nacelle assemblies.


Two days later, I started up with an attempt to finish the model.  This was one of those days where I apparently wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.  I mounted both nacelle assemblies to the primary hull and then let the model sit for the glue to take.  I put together a stand and painted the stand.  I then went back to the model to realize that I had mounted the nacelle assemblies up-side-down!  Grrr.  I carefully removed the nacelle assemblies and then re-mounted them in the correct orientation.


Over the weekend saw me finishing this project up by completing all the detail painting.

Overall, she actually was a very simple but fun build that didn't require a lot of work to accomplish.  Honestly, for a kitbash project, she might make for a great first time project for someone trying to get into that area of model building.

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:
The Model   Work In Progress


  1. Very cool build and appreciate the write up and mention.
    I'm honored sir.

    1. You are very welcome. I'm glad you had shared it back then and that I could finally bring her to life from those drawings.

  2. Wow, that's a varied collection of parts. If you don't mind me asking, how much did that cost roughly in total compared with making a stock as is model?

    1. Although building in 1:2500 scale is more challenging when it comes to painting and assembling, I do like the cheap cost of the parts. The cost for me was slightly different as I used a rejected resin piece for my primary hull. You could conceivably do this build though with two of the Round 2 Star Trek: The Motion Pictures: Cadet Series 1:2500 Scale Model Kit Sets. I am seeing them on Amazon for around $17 a set. You might be able to get it on eBay for slightly cheaper. The nice thing about these sets is that you will then have two Constitution Class Refits and Two K'Tinga Class kits for kitbashing parts for a future project. For the putty and filler work, I use Apoxie Sculpt which goes for around $21 a pound. That 1 pound though has lasted me 2 years so far though!!! You can probably get cheaper stuff, but Apoxie brand came highly recommended in the modeling group I frequent. Hope that answers your questions.