BUILD: CHEYENNE CLASS from SFMuk Admin's blog



The Cheyenne class of Federation starships is something I know nothing about. It appeared in TNG, but only as a small fuzzy ghostly Tholian Web style interphase blur in the background of the Ent-D bridge viewscreen in The Best of Both Worlds as one of the victims of the battle of Wolf 359. I have no idea if it was ever used again in any further episodes as I was not an avid watcher of TNG & DS9.


Despite its appearance level, it was actually a pretty detailed physical model, constructed as a kitbash, and built by Ed Marecki's shop. The databases state it was constructed using an Enterprise D kit, with its windows and lifeboats enlarged to create the illusion of a smaller scaled ship, and famously for the story, 4 highlight markers stood in for the nacelles. This, is its main design dynamic, is that it is a four nacelled ship. More info can be obtained on the excellent Ex-Astris website (see references below).


So let's look at the kit.




The kit comes in solid resin and consists of seven parts. The saucer connected with the mirrored neck sections, two wings and of course, four nacelles.


The saucer design comes from a Galaxy class and is actually very nicely detailed. (Built upside down, making the top side the bottom). Unlike any other bashes and editions that possibly utilise the three ship AMT/ERTL kit. This edition is not so sparse, or a smoothie, but full of tile details on the saucer. There are no bashed anomalies on the model what so ever, and the casting is pretty sharp and enticing to behold. Just a few deformities on my kit, some of the nav lights having not formed, or broken off during release. But nothing of major panic. Just a few air bubbles as well, (two discernable in the pic), so a little bit of filling needed, but comfortable work none the less.


The nacelles are also nice with enough detail on them. Just a major seam line on two of them, and slight warping on another, but again, no major horrors.


The YTV style logo shape of the wings are also of a good standard. The pin hole connectors that should attach to the saucer necks have not formed but there is, graciously, no loss of detail on the kit details themselves.




Lastly the underside of the saucer, as you can see, is actually a modified topside of a Galaxy vessel. Again, very nicely made and no apparent stand out bash. The makers here know their stuff.


Only 1 official picture has ever been made public of the filming model. Nice enough as that is, there are a few differences between the studio prop and this kit. In distorting the sizes of the lifeboats and windows, the studio model gives the impression of a very small ship. Starcrafts rendition, as you can see, gives the impression of a much larger, fully fledged vessel. Only the lifeboats retain a larger scale, the rest is nicely scaled and balanced. I personally think this is a major plus to the ship. It adds both beauty and class to the design and offers something more substantial to its purpose. One could imagine it as both an experimental vessel created for speed tests as well as exploration. I also get the impression that the overall design of the Cheyenne may have inspired the look of the Enterprise-J.


Okay, let me begin by saying that at time of writing, this project scares me, not just a little but a lot. Resin kits are not my forte and Trek patterns are intricate enough with materials that you are more comfortable with. This is truly a venture into the unknown for me.


With only the one reference pic, basically my take is, anything goes. With the box pic as the only other launch pad. There is some familiar territory, obviously, think Ent-D, and also think Voyager.


I decided to paint the model parts separately first. This is usually the way most modellers do things, but for me, I've learned over the years to build first and paint later where possible. This is a different occasion. I was planning on using Ford Moonraker Blue as the base coat. But, Halfords were out (typical)... So I had to try something I dreaded from my early modelling days, its an old earth technique, maybe you have heard of it, its called painting the whole thing by hand with a brush....Yikes!!!


Beginning with the nacelles and Yorkshire TV logo wings, I primed the model with Halfords Grey Primer. Then I mixed some Warhammer Shadow Grey with some white and greys. (I love mixing paint to come up with colours. It's probably my favourite thing of all). I used my only square tipped brush and laid in strokes from one direction. 


I went darker than my initial idea of Moonraker blue. One thing to note, being winter (at time of writing), the lights are often on so it's kinda hard to tell what the paint tone actually looks like until the day time. You have to imagine how the final colour will look in daylight. But it seems okay.




Next, I began the Aztec pattern as such. This wasn't too difficult as Starcrafts model makers did a great job of impressioning the detail into the parts. So even where the mould or mix has made them pretty weak, they were still discernable to the eye. I remixed a lighter tone of the Warhammer colours and sort of let rip and did my own thing.


With this out of the way, the hardest task for me begins. The ‘lighted' parts. I hate solid models. I hate that you can't light them and so forth. With my time machine currently busted, I can't dive off into the future and buy that Humbrol Photonics paint range.


Damn shame, as its great stuff. You buy the colour you want, pour out the amount you need into a little tub, plug in and charge the particles in it, which induces it to light up, then you paint it onto the areas and its sorted. But, I can't wait 20 years for that, so have to come up with something else.


What I decided to do with the nacelles was paint them black, and then try a mix of blue and silver. It's not great. But it'll have to do.




As to the rest of the windows, I just went straight black.


The decal sheet does not cater for any lifeboats, so I decided on a brass look for them.


I also went for copper around the nacelle banks and that's pretty much all of the colours I used, along with a tan for, well, I don't know what they are, but the metal ribby things that are catered to on the decal sheet.




As always with resin models, superglue is best for construction. I did have a few issues with the wing parts having a bit of warping at the base and not being totally shaped to the contours of the saucer neck points. I was not really experienced in the process of heating up the parts at the time of building, so they were sanded a little for a better fit.




The instructions are pretty basic. As you can see it's just a schematic with a decal placement guide and paint guide. It has information also on manipulating the resin but as I mentioned, I was not experienced in this so left the kit as is.


With paint and construction completed, it was time to turn to the decals.


Aside from the big scratch mark, you get a passable quality decal sheet with the model and everything looks like it should proceed easy enough, but, this is where the problems really started.




Starcrafts decals were a real pain. It seemed you could let them soak for hours to no real avail.




The positive is to say that each letter/number is printed out individually, and as you can see in the pic, for larger markings, this is acceptable and useful. But, for smaller markings, the decals just began to fall apart and became unusable. Partly due to how connected they were to the backing sheet, and also because they were so small and thin.




I decided to have a bash at making my own decals. I've not had much success at this.


The decal paper I use tends to turn white as soon as it dries. The only compensating material I have found to alleviate this is Clear Coat by Plasti-Kote, but this makes the whole area painfully glossy and ruins the look I worked so hard to get right paint wise on various models I have tried to use it on.


I contemplated my next move. The bad news is I was out of the clear coat. For some reason, it became another of those hard to obtain materials up here. But anyway, there was also some good news, and that was that I was out of the clear coat, so this was not going to become some glossy to the max surface again just to clean one little decal.


So, I was thinking about what I could successfully do about it.


I've had an idea in the back of my mind for a long time now. It was time to try it out.


I got some vegetable oil, brushed it on the decal and waited to see the results. It whitened a little when drying, so I brushed on some more and, this continued until it had enough, and the results were rewarding. The decal became transparent and remained that way for good. There were no oil patches or anything to wreck the model. It was a true result, finally, a method that actually works.




As you can see in this macro pic, the DIY decal looks better than the kit one, a lot of silvering with Starcrafts which is a shame. I decided to leave off the Starfleet stripes that are meant to go on the ovals on top of the central part of the wings and preferred my kit a bit more spartan. Just a personal preference, I think without it, the ship comes across as bigger.


The model comes with a Starfleet insignia shaped base to make a stand out of. (You will need to buy a brass rod or something to complete this). But to be honest I didn't wish to drill into the model and due to the nature of the nacelles, you cannot just sit it flat, as it will break apart. I was thinking about what to do, and in the end used a sellotape roll as a make do stand.




That's pretty much all. At 11 x 7.5 x 3", it's a nice big size for a resin model and the overall detail is successful. Shame about the decals, but other than this, I would say it's a great little build and am pleased with the kit and feel more confident about working with resin models.


I got my kit from Starship Creations. Many thanks to them for their great service and assistance.


References


http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/cheyenne.htm is the best and most informative source I found for this vessel.


Thanks for looking and I'll leave you with a beauty shot test.




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By SFMuk Admin
Added Dec 20 '13

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