Building and Lighting the AMT/ERTL Cardsassian Galor-class Warship.

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Starship Modeler: Building and Lighting the Cardassian Galor

Building a Duplicitous Enemy by Aaron D. Smith Copyright 1998
Another View by Joe Hank Copyright 1998
Lighting the Galor by Micah Rogers Copyright 1998

[Galor model]

Aaron Smith's model.

Building a Duplicitous Enemy by Aaron D. Smith

Ah, the Cardassians...An interesting race, cunning and double-dealing, they seem to rule their side of the galaxy like the Federation's evil twin brother. The first time I saw their Galor class ship on the TNG episode "The Wounded," it even looked backwards to me. Didn't the Klingons always have the bulk at the back and a neck at the front? Apparently, the Cardassians did it differently.

Five years later, Deep Space Nine is in full swing, the Cardies have become a prime competitor in the "bad guy" classifieds, and Ertl decided to give this kit a try. Initial observations of this kit were that it was molded in that same, trademark Ertl light gray, and not a color closer to the hull. Ah, well... The kit also did not have a large variety of pieces, with about five or six micro-sized glue-on parts, if you know what I mean. The clear pieces were pretty small, and seemed to test-fit into their notches fine.

Construction is pretty straightforward on this model kit. A note of advice, however: the underside of the Cardie ship's hull comes in three different parts: The main underside, and two side parts. Be careful to line these up well while cementing the main fuselage together. With a bit o' work, they can fit together seamlessly, presenting an excellent underbelly. (Heck, I needed to refer to the instructions while writing this to remember whether or not they were one piece.) To create a "used" appearance, I took several small squares of styrene and placed them over some of the flat portions of the hull, to simulate replaced panels and battle scars that were covered up. Another note: I suggest either white, yellow, or glow-in-the-dark under the small triangle lights. Don't cut them off until you're applying them at the end of painting the kit.

Which brings us to painting the kit. The painting guide is helpful, yet not complete; I referred to the box cover (which has the actual studio model) for most of the painting. I used a 40/60 combination of the colors mustard and dark tan for the overall hull, then switched from airbrush to paintbrush for the rest of the kit. The windows on my kit are dark blue, but the kit would also look great with light blue windows. (Another note: there are windows on the rim of the wings; refer to the box cover for their spacing.) For the small "techie-junk" ruts on the wings and the long line of it on both sides of the hull, I used a dark gray, than dry-brushed over that with silver and white to bring up the detail of the "techie-junk." For most of the raised or recessed panels, I switched between medium gray and leather brown, and then drybrushed the entire kit--lightly--with aluminum and matte black. The exhaust ports at the rear of the ship were drybrushed heavily, and I added a streaking effect to add the appearance of overuse. Instead of the Cardassian lettering decals that came with the kit, I painted similar alien text onto a piece of styrene, and placed them down instead. The effect is still genuine and adds to the appearance of a used vessel. The original Cardassian Union symbol, however, went straight on, with the exception of cutting off the small clear film along the edge of each decal.

In retrospect, this kit is one of Ertl's better out-of-the-box kits. Priced at the $20, the kit is well worth the money, and well worth the time. It is prime material for the interested electrician; the ship could be easily wired and lit for display. The ship could also be converted into one of the Obsidian order's vessels, a little time, a little styrene plastic and a little patience are all that are involved. (I'm working on an Obsidian Order conversion right now anyway.) Good luck to any who build it; like the Enterprise-E kit, it builds a great display item and will impress the builder.

Another View by Joe Hank

To assemble the kit, I used a liquid cement like TENAX 7R or Testor's liquid cement in the bottle. It bonded pretty well, so only minimal 'rubber bands and clothespins' were necessary to hold the kit together, and the hull halves fit together well. The lower hull was three pieces, but it fit together nicely as well. Only at the very back were the pieces slightly different in length, but sanding took care of that. Luckily, all the clear parts could be glued on after the entire kit was assembled. I left the top "bridge" section separate from the main body until the painting was completed.

Once the kit was assembled came the sanding. Unfortunately, all the panel lines were raised (ARGH!) so the sanding took them all off. Once the seams were nearly invisible, I had to do major reconstruction on the panel lines. Strip styrene was used for major details, and stretched sprue glued on and blended with liquid cement did the trick for replacing panel lines. I then applied a white primer and finished sanding.

I had to mix my own color. The instructions say to use 'Radome Tan' but the color is a much paler yellow. To get this color, I used a mixture of 3/4 Radome Tan for the pale color, and about 1/4 'Insignia Yellow'. I later found 'Bright Yellow' and 'Light Yellow', which would work just as well.

[Galor model]

Joe Hank's model.

[Galor model]

Close-up of underside weathering

The box front cover provides an excellent painting guide. Once I had airbrushed the light yellow/tan on, I sprayed the front lightly with 'Flat White' to get a subtle light-to-dark transition across the ship as you go from front-to-back. The box top photo shows this clearly. I masked some sections off at this point so they would retain the light yellow/tan color. Then I painted the darker tan 'waffle' texture on all the panels. Using the panel lines as a reference, I used 'Wood' to get the dingy look. I used an index card as a mask and sprayed over it to get streaks starting at the rear of each panel. I then over-sprayed the entire ship with the light yellow/tan color to blend in the wood, and peeled off the masked panels. I then coated the model with Future Floor Wax to seal the base color.

Drab.' The Klingons seem to like the pale green/red paint scheme, while the Cardies favor the brown/yellow scheme, so I used only yellows and browns. I also used a thin wash of 'Flat Black' to give these areas shadow. For the raised details in these areas, I used 'Afrika Mustard,' 'Gold,' and 'Copper.' The areas around the impulse engines was also painted in Field Drab. For the darker panels on the ship, I used Afrika Mustard, and for the panels with a slight greenish tint, I used 'Zinc Chromate.' The thin blue strips were 'Bright Blue,' and the grille areas around the ship that looked black were, in fact, painted black. I used the box top for painting help, as well as various web sources.

I did a fair amount of weathering on this ship. I used a thinned-out Flat Black, which I streaked from the back of the black grilles. I also used Field Drab around the rear of this ship. I added brown trapezoidal panels where the main hull meets the wings of the ship, and brown dashes around the sensor strips. Again, see the box top. Finally, I added the windows. Some were molded on but many were missing. I used flat black (kind of my trademark), but a very light blue would also look good. I also added 'phaser burns' by simply cutting a small square, rectangle, etc. of tape and sticking it to the model, then spraying Flat Black around it. Remove the masking, and you've got a fresh hull patch over a phaser hole. Several small unpatched phaser burns are always commonplace when fighting the Federation constantly. Lastly, I protected the paint with another coat of wax. The gloss surface also helps the decals stick, which were added at this point. Note: There are two of the large Cardassian symbols on the underside of the hull which are not included as decals. They are both the size of the large symbol decal (#6) that goes on the top starboard 'wing'. One goes on the bottom of the port wing, with the Cardy writing decal (#2) next to it, just like the top one. The second missing symbol goes halfway between the large black 'vent' and the smaller rear vents on the bottom of the ship, where the body starts tapering down. I noticed both of these on an episode last fall, when DS9 was in Dominion/Cardy hands, and Galors galore were circling the station. AMT/ERTL firmly assured me that the model decals were "approved as accurate according to the licensor," and would not send additional sheets.

The clear pieces were all glued on after the ship was completely painted. The main weapons array was painted 'Sky Blue' from behind, and the front panels painted Copper. The orange wing sections were painted with Tamiya 'Clear Orange' on the outside, and the inside was laminated with aluminum foil to reflect the light. To do this, apply a coat of thinned Elmer's White Glue to the inside and press the foil, shiny side out, against the inside surfaces of the piece. Use a Q-Tip or cotton ball to smooth the foil, so no wrinkles or bubbles show. Most of the glue will squeeze out, and the foil will be contoured to the inside surface. This takes patience and time, so work slowly so you don't tear the foil. (Editor's note: Bare-Metal hobby foil, which is self adhesive and very thin, may also be used here). The glue will dry clear and keep the foil in place. Then trim the excess foil from the edges of the pieces and glue them into the wings. They fit pretty well, but try each piece in both wings to get the best fits. Lastly all the "pyramid light" were added. I painted the bottom of each with Tamiya 'Clear Yellow', then foiled the bottoms. The rim around each side was painted with gold. I then used a small drop of CA glue to glue each pyramid in place.

The last step is to glue the bridge decks to the main body and display proudly!

[Galor model]

Micah Rogers' model.

[Galor model]

On the stand

[Galor model]

Side view (unlit)

[Galor model]

Side view (lit)

[Galor model]


Lighting the Galor by Micah Rogers

This is a relatively easy modification to AMT/Ertl Cardassian Galor -class ship. It involves opening the windows and engine exhaust vents, and the ward engine grill areas. All I used was a #70 drill bit, a pin vise, and an exacto knife. Of course to do the lighting you will need a soldering iron, wire and light sources (I used AA type "Mini Mag" light bulbs).

This entire procedure can be found in great detail in the April, 1998 issue of FineScale Modeler. In that article, the author used it to light the Klingon Bird of Prey.

I started by deciding which windows to open and which to leave dark. Then I opened the chosen windows by drilling them at the corners with a #70 drill in a pin vice, then cutting the remaining plastic away with the knife. You need to be careful, if you slip with the knife then the window becomes an odd shape (I know... I messed up a couple) (or your finger becomes an odd shape). After the windows are open, you can remove the edges from the warp grill areas, and the impulse exhaust vents.

I then used a 1/16th inch drill bit to drill out the navigation lights. Once all the openings are done, I sprayed the whole interior of the model with Testors Gloss Black. When that had cured, I sprayed it Gloss White. Paint the inside of all the pieces where you will have lights. I had lights in all three modules, nose, main body and tail section.

Now for the fun part. Paint the exterior in a mix of browns and tans, I used Testors Model Master (TMM) FS 30219 Dark Tan as the base color. I mixed a slightly Darker shade by adding a little RLM 81 Braunviolett, and used this to accent a few panels, I then mixed a lighter shade by adding a little FS 33531 Sand, and sprayed my panel lines. The recessed "mechanical" areas were then sprayed with FS 30117 Military Brown.

Once all the paints are fully cured (I gave them a week) you begin assembly. For this modification you don't follow the instructions. I assembled the lower portion of the nose section, and the lower piece of the tail boom to the upper half of the main body. I then drilled for my wires and mounted my bulbs in the nose and tail.

The lower half of the main body is three pieces, and care is needed to get the front edges of the side pieces to mate right with the back of the lower half. They can be made to fit right (after all I did it !!! ). The main body has four holes in the front that will need to be filled, I made the mistake of overlooking them until I had the whole thing finished. It would have been much easier to fill them in the beginning while the pieces were still separated.

At this point I cut 1/4 inch pieces of 1/16th acrylic rod for the navigation lights. Sand and polish one end to a half round profile and put a dab of Clear Yellow on the other end, then glue them in their holes, leaving just the round top sticking out.

I then cut small rectangles out of clear sheet Lexan (you can find this at any hobby shop that caries R/C supplies), and painted them Clear Orange. Bend then at 90 degree angles and glue them to the lower hull behind the warp grill openings. This lets you leave the grills clear, so they appear powered down when the lights are off. I also cut a piece of lexan to mount behind the front deflector housing and painted it Clear Blue.

Now you mount the bulbs that will light the warp grills, the impulse exhaust openings and the windows of the main hull. Solder the bulbs to your wire (in series... a.k.a. positive to negative) and make your connections to the bulbs in the nose section and tail.

Then it's time to assemble the upper and lower halves. Care is again needed to ensure a good joint, the upper hull fits tight to the lower hull half and only a little filling was required. The tail end cap is a tight fit as well.

The front deflector housing had the grid painted first Flat Black, then Copper on the outside ( once again for the "powered down" effect ) then it was glued in place using Micro Krystal Kleer. A 1/4 inch brass rod inserted and puttied into the lower hull acts as a support and a channel for the wiring. I used a $0.50 wooden plaque as the base. The battery holders and switch mount to the base with the wires running up through the brass rod.

Final touches were then added by washing with Burnt Umber oil paints, and dirtying up with pastel chalks.

Over all it is a very pleasing conversion to the basic kit. AMT/Ertl has made a very nice model of a neat looking ship ( I have loved the Galor since it first appeared on TNG ). It makes a nice addition to my Star Trek collection, and an excellent first try for lighting.

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