[SSM's 15th Contest: Wrecks]

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Wreck of the U.S.S. Constellation

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by Jim Van Cleave

Scale: 1/1600

A string of destroyed solar systems leads the U.S.S. Enterprise to System L-374, where they discover the starship U.S.S. Constellation floating derilect among the planetary remains left by a mysterious alien planet killer. The once proud starship, flagship of Commodore Matt Decker, is reduced to a near-lifeless hulk...powerless, listing, buffeted by the planetary rubble of the planet her crew died on while Decker listened helplessly to their pleas for help and stared into the mouth of hell as it consumed them and his sanity. Little did he know that he would soon provide the key to the Doomsday Machine's weakness and the Constellation would soon carry out her final mission of destroying it as she joined her Captain and crew in oblivion.


The "Wreck of the Constellation" is one of those builds that I had always wanted to do, but just never got around to until this contest gave me the push I needed (Thanks guys!). This kit came from the 1/1600 scale 3-ship "Space Ship Set" put out eons ago by AMT/Ertl . I'd originally built this one almost 20 years ago and figured it was high time she found a new purpose as one of the most famous wrecks in Sci-Fi history.

The model was already put together, but had to be stripped, re-glued and have all those nasty seams and grid-lines sanded away. I did replace the awful kit deflector dish with a trimmed down one from the Polar Light's Enterprise kit. Then I repainted her in a base of Camoflage Gray and sealed it before marking the areas about to be destroyed.

Since I love both the original and re-mastered special effects models of the Constellation, I finally decided to do a blending of the two. The damage was all accomplished using a dremmel tool with large and small engraving bits. Careful carving and scarring actually eliminated the need to re-build the shattered interior but still gave the realism I was striving for. A sanding drum bit flattened out some of the damage's inner edges to resemble scarred and pitted hull plating that had only had the outer layer blasted away as seen in the remastered version. Homage to the original episode was paid by using a model with the rounded bridge (like the off-the-shelf model the original film crew used) and damaging the inside of starboard nacelle strut (a detail the remastering crew left out). The remastered version was reflected in how the damage was patterned on the saucer, the adding of damage to the starboard secondary hull, shredding the upper port nacelle and halving the starboard nacelle. Various greeblies were used to construct the "guts" of both engines, so that damage can not only be seen on the ends but on the insides of the engines through gashes in the outer plating, giving a layered effect.

Hull details were brush painted in their normal colors and damaged areas were brush painted in black and various metallic shades. Red jewelers crystals were added for the saucer's upper and lower port navigation lights. An awesome set of JT Graphics decals completed the detailing. The decals were applied whole and Micro Sol was used to melt and blend them into the twists and gashes of the damaged areas. Thinned black paint on pointed corners of paper towel were used to add streaking to the blast areas around the damage.

An understated wood base with a nameplate and the Constellation's insignia completed this incredibly fun and rewarding project.

Image: Top/right view

Image: Front

Image: Right side

Image: Left/top

Image: Left/rear

Image: Underneath

Image: Again

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Anthony Murray


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This page was last updated 12 November 2007. © 2007 Starship Modeler