Allison Cottreau: Building Ravenstar's 1/1400 Federation Scout.

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Building Ravenstar's 1/1400 Federation Scout

By Allison Cottreau - images & text © 1999

Value: 8 - Small, and a bit more pricey than a mass produced kit, but not out of reach.
Casting Quality: 7.5 A few flaws were found
Detail: 9 - Crisp panel lines, good detail in engine grill.
Accuracy: N/A This is a semi-original design not seen on TV or elsewhere.
Parts Fit: 9 - It helps that there are only 4 to worry about.
Ease: It also helps here that there are only 4 parts to worry about.
Instructions: 10 Not much to 'em but not much is needed.
Overall Rating: 8.5 - A fun weekend project

[All Done]

There comes a point in any modelers life when he must grow, move on to a new level, and build his first resin kit. With the help of this kit by Ravenstar Studios I passed that point and built my first resin model.

Click on each picture for a larger view.

[Out of the box]

^ What you get when you open the box.


^ Cleanup is quick and relatively painless, with only mold seams to really worry about.

[Closeup of the nacelle]

^Close up of the "raw" nacelle end cap.

[Scout on a stick ....]

^ Scout on a stick ... after assembly and putty applied.

[Primer coat]

^ Primer coat laid down.

My first task was to go on line and research the subject of resin kits. After all the research, I found there were only a few differences between building resin and building styrene. The two most important being: regular model cement doesn't work, instead CA or Crazy Glue is needed; and you should prime the subject prior to painting. So with my new found knowledge I cracked open the box my scout was shipped in and checked out what I had.

The Kit

The kit is composed of 4 parts, yup 4: a saucer section, a nacelle, a deflector dish and the neck. Along with the parts you get one small piece of paper with a photocopy of a sketch for your instructions. It doesn't sound like much for instructions, but they do the job quite well.

As far as the parts themselves were concerned, the castings were very nicely done but there were a few flaws. First, there was a bit of a wobble in the saucer section - which is to say there was a dip in the front left quarter section of the saucer. I understand this problem may be repairable by applying heat and bending it into shape but I didn't dare try it. Second, the mold for the engine section was a bit misaligned (by about 1/16"). This was most obvious in the raised detail on the rear. With a bit of sanding and putty, I was able to fix this flaw fairly successfully. Apart from those two problems, the molding was sharp, with crisp lines in the saucer section, no bubbles and easy-to-clean up mold lines. Also, some of the parts were connected with a thin skin of resin, but it was easily removed with a sharp knife. I don't know just how typical this skin is to resin, if it is a flaw or not, or if the other flaws are common for that matter. I only saw them as minor.

The next stage was clean up. I trimmed off excess resin and sanded the mold lines smooth. Next, I washed the parts in a mild degreaser to remove mold release agent. After it was all cleaned up came the test fit. The engine section simply butts up against the secondary hull neck piece with no guide holes or pins. If you sand both edges smooth you should have no trouble joining these when it comes time to glue. Where the neck and saucer meet there is a long tab on the neck that mates with a groove in the saucer. These meet smoothly. The deflector dish has a hole in the neck where it fit well.


So now that I'd established a good fit, it was time to put this bad boy together. As I said earlier, I assembled the pieces using crazy glue. This went pretty quickly. I had some trouble getting all the pieces bang on straight, but a little patience took care of that. I left the kit for a little while to make sure the glue set fully, when I came back it was time to fix the seams.

Something I'd discovered for myself (only to read about it on line after) was that you can mix liquid plastic cement with Tamiya putty to make a thin brushable putty. I used this mixture to fill the joints where the pieces came together.
After it dried a few hours, I sanded it smooth and was ready for primer and paint.

[Base Coat]Painting

I'm more used to my airbrush than I am to spraycans. I don't much care for using Aerosol cans, but I've never seen primer that didn't come in a spraycan ... so with a can of primer that I'd picked up from my local hobby shop I went at it. Sure enough, there was a bit of an orange peel texture, but it wasn't too bad so I continued with paint.




[Not top]


[Sexy ....]

[Home-made decals]

When it came to the colour scheme, I was all on my own. The instructions are black and white, and since it is a semi-original design there would be no reference. This can be a good thing because you get a lot of freedom to play, and I did, but I didn't stray to far from Starfleet issue. I chose a mixture of white and J.N. Grey for the overall color. This gave the ship a warmish greyish off-white color. I then mixed some medium blue and silver with the base color to do the indentations on the saucer section. I assume that the front one is a shuttle bay, the others I are cargo bays. After those colors dried, I drybrushed silver to give a metallic effect and bring up the high points. I also used this colour for some of the raised details on the warp nacelle and indentations behind the deflector dish. I used a darker version of the door color to do the engine grill and again drybrushed silver to bring up some detail. For the impulse engines I started with a coat of silver and after it dried I put on a coat of clear red. The deflector dish was painted using Testors Gold enamel, followed by a wash of black and drybrushed with Tamiya gold acrylic to bring up details.

Weathering and Decals

After the paint had all dried, I went over the ship with chalk pastel weathering. I stuck post-it notes along the panel lines, following the deflector grid on the saucer, and brushed pastel dust away from the notes, streaking from front to back creating a line that brought out the paneling. I then sealed the whole thing with a coat or two of Tamiya clear. When I did this it seemed to make the pastel work darker and much less subtle. I didn't like that at all, but I left it that way until after the decals went on.

The kit does not include decals so this was another area where I had freedom to play. I found myself with the responsibility to name my ship. After some thinking I chose the name U.S.S. Pearson. Why Pearson? I'd read an article in one of my Star Trek books on how a woman named Francesa Dobbyn from Ontario, Canada was campaigning Paramount to name a ship after Lester B. Pearson, Canada's 14th Prime Minister. She felt that the Pearson was in a way the great grandfather of the prime directive, because Pearson originated the notion of noninterference when he master minded the first United Nations peace-keeping force in 1956, where it is forbidden for a foreign country to interfere in another nation's development. So, being Canadian, I thought this sounded like a fine name for a vessel. With a sheet of clear decal film and a laser printer I made it so.

I sprayed the freshly printed sheet with a coat of Tamiya clear to protect the thin toner when I applied them to the model. After delicately applying the decals I decided to soften the weathering that had become so much darker in the first clear coat. I mixed up 1 part clear, 1 part flat base and 1 part white, I lightly applied this mix over the entire model. Voila, the U.S.S. Pearson was ready to explore the deep reaches of space.

Final Thought

This was a great weekend kit. It is almost entirely a painting subject and I completed mine in about 8 hours from the time I pulled the parts from the box to the time I stuck it on a wooden base with a brass rod. I would recommend it to anyone who would like try a resin kit for the first time or someone who would like add something different to their Star Trek collection. It fits nicely with other (usually larger) 1/1400 scale trek kits.

Many thanks to Ravenstar for supplying the review piece. This kit, and others like it, is available directly from Ravenstar Studios. See their web page for pricing and contact details.

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Last updated on 26 August 1999.