Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Revell USS Voyager NCC 74656

As a boy I built my fair share of both plastic and balsa wood models, mainly aircraft but also the odd battleship (in plastic). I returned briefly to this hobby when, a few years ago, a knee problem kept me off the hills but these were small Airfix planes such as the Spitfire and Hurricane along with the bigger Lancaster.

USS Voyager at about 52cm long is the biggest and in terms of detail painting and attaching decals, all 162 of them, it's the most complex I've built.

I've learned an enormous amount about painting a model like this, mostly through making numerous mistakes not all of which were possible to correct. The tiny windows were well nigh impossible to get right even though I probably spent as much money seeking out numerous small paint brushes as I did on the model itself and Revell acrylic aqua paints. Later Lynne bought me a craft lamp with magnifier which would have helped.

My introduction to using modeller's putty on the seams was mixed: sometimes it worked, sometimes not despite watching many videos on how to do this seemingly straightforward procedure. The problem was that I painted the model before assembly which was recommended to me by anyone and everyone I consulted. Consequently smoothing down the dried putty invariably meant the paint was removed down to the plastic necessitating re-painting of that area.  Nevertheless I still think painting prior to assembly was the right thing to do because painting the assembled model would have been a real trial I think. Possibly a disaster.

My introduction to using masking tape was more successful but not on the numerous curved parts of the model. I now know that Tamiya make tape for use on curves.

The Revell paints are excellent though acrylics dry very quickly and need thinned, but water is fine for this. Several thin coats work better than a single thick one.  I needed twently one small pots but some colours were hardly used - a few drops on the end of a cocktail stick applied to the sensor arrays, for example. I chose to paint the hull in matt but would use silky matt in future since it gives a better finish, though the final result is very close to the original studio model designed and created for the Star Trek Voyager series. The later CGI model was lighter in colour - as will be my next Voyager build (I've bought it already!)

Lots of people light the inside of the model with a custom LED kit and I considered this, but try as might I could not source a model with the lighting kit included, and no shop, online or otherwise, could obtain one for me - except from Revell Germany which came with wiring instructions in German. In any case all the tiny windows require to be drilled out and stories of some people ruining the model in the process put me off (for the moment).

The decals are the most detailed on any model I know of and most are very, very small.  Mostly I had no mishaps but a full extra decal sheet is on its way to me free from Revell via (excellent service) to replace the two single decals I damaged when applying.

Despite my mistakes and occasional frustrations when building Voyager - I started mid-November - this has been one of the most satisfying things I've done for a very long time and I've renewed my aquaintence with the story around USS Voyager and Star Trek lore/science in general. Lynne reckons I could go on Mastermind! No I couldn't.

Anyway, here are a few photos and a photoshopped one from my cousin Hugh, an expert modeller himself. The email correspondence with him while building this model has been incredibly informative and as enjoyable as building it;  many of the mistakes I didn't make were down to him. If only I'd listened to him about using primer! But overall I'm more than pleased with the final result.

At warp speeds the engine pylons rotate upwards



  1. Briliant. Makes you want to go for a walk round inside. Shame about the lights, although I can understand your dilemma. If you included them would you have access afterwards?

    1. Thanks Conrad. Most people who put their build log online seem to fix the lights before assembly and I can't see how there would be access after gluing, short of cutting out bits of the hull and engine nacelles. Only on one occasion did I note that someone had cut out part of the lower hull to insert the lights. That's beyond my skill level to do well I fear.

      I might try lights on a 3rd model, though if I could find a set from a trusted source I'd buy them and keep them for a future build.

      Now I should have time to post about the hills. The Outlying Fells arrives on Friday.

  2. Pretty impressive, Gibson.
    But what happened to the USS Enterprise? Did she Boldly Go somewhere?


  3. Hi Alan good of you to visit. It's a impressive model, especially when built by a professional modeller or very skilled amateur. Even more so when lit.

    As for the Enterprise by which I assume you mean Kirks's, this was a Constitution Class starship in operation from 2265-2269 was old technology by the time the Intrepid Class, USS Voyager (about half the size of a Galaxy Class at 344.424m) was launched from Earth Station McKinley on stardate on 48038.5, 2371. Voyager, an Intrepid Class, was the most technologically advanced and fastest ship in the fleet at the time, having the first Class 9 warp drive and bio-neural gel pack circuitry for example. As an engineer, I know you'll appreciate the significance of this... The Enterprise E featured in 'First Contact' was a Sovereign Class starship. I hope this helps!

    As well as having another Voyager to build later in the year, today some very old technology will arrive - the Revell Space Shuttle Discovery, with booster rockets and crawler

  4. Hi Alan

    I made an amendment to the blog and appear to have deleted your comment and my subsequent reply. My apologies for this clumsiness. Feel free to re-comment or not as the case may be.

  5. What a wonderful response! It appears I need to get up-to-date fairly smartish with the goings on at Starfleet Command. So there's no Bones or Spock anymore, then either?

    I've just Googled Star Trek, and it appears I've missed every single one of the films somehow.

    Ho hum...

    1. Kind of you re-comment Alan. Not all would have done that. No Spock but Tuvok (Vulcan)and instead of Bones, a holographic doctor(developed superbly throughout the series) and later a rehabilitated Borg drone, Seven of Nine.

      I meant to say that Voyager was built at the Utopia Planitia Fleetyards, Mars (facilities in orit and on the surface.) Interestingly the US Viking 2 probe touched down here on 3 September 1976 and I love the way the Star Trek writers link to the past like this.

      Additionally,the Galaxy Class Development Project was carried out from drafting room 5 at Utopia Planitia and Kathryn Janeway first set foot on board Voyager while it was in drydock there.Despite a majority view to the contrary, I think Janeway was the best Starfleet Captain.

      Note: I think this is more or less what I said previously! I'm going to write comments on Word, copy and paste them in future.

    2. My pleasure, Gibson!

      I love this place of yours. We should all help each other, or we'll lose treasures like this.

  6. Obviously I’ve been away from blogging for too long -’an’ impressive model ...’.

    ‘Kirk’s’ not Kirks’s. Can’t even blame predictive text.