1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

WiP, finished models and general 1/1400 chit chat.
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novahobbies
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1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by novahobbies » Fri May 31, 2019 3:49 pm

New kit in the works! I was waiting for some new paint to arrive for my Romulan Valdore, so I got a head start on her companion build, the old Macro Trek Phoenix Nebula model. I snagged this a few months ago for a great price, and it was one of those "gosh I wish I'd gotten it at the time" sort of models. It was one of those old Macro Trek kits that I missed out on back in the day, and bringing it into the stash felt like scratching an itch that I was barely aware of until suddenly it was gone.

Now, couple disclaimers. The Macro Trek version of the Phoenix is in no way accurate to the actual studio model. It was released well before anyone had a good idea of how the upper AWACS dome mounted to the rest of the ship. And I will NOT be trying to correct any of the inconsistencies to this model, either. In point of fact, I actually prefer the way Macro Trek designed their kit. The mounting brackets for the AWACS make a lot more sense to me than the mount that was actually used on the studio model. Since I'm not changing that part, I feel perfectly free to continue with other obvious inconsistencies. My model is going to have saucer impulse engines....and it will have all the windows a normal Galaxy class has. In fact, I may even keep the saucer separation ability in my model. In short, I'm not modifying the Ertl kit primary hull in any way. :-) I also won't be calling this the Phoenix -- mine will be the USS Chimera. Fitting name, since (1) the model is a mash-up of different styles, and (2) it stays in the same context of Greek mythical animals.

The old Macro Trek conversion comes to you in 6 parts -- a secondary hull, warp pylon assembly, AWACS dome, dome struts, and the connecting neck. It's a straightforward conversion that will need all the parts from the Ertl kit for the saucer and warp engines.

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Now, I built the old Macro Trek weapons pod Nebula back when I was just out of high school. It was such a fun kit -- but I vividly remember the thin resin warp pylon drooping quickly under the weight of the comparatively heavy plastic engines. I solved that issue eventually when I rebuilt the model in the early 2000's but since the Phoenix type has a slightly different pylon assembly, I didn't want to do that with this particular kit. Instead, I opted to brace the resin pylon underneath with some medium gauge brass strip.
I marked out where I wanted the brass to go, then I cut a channel into the secondary hull, and another longer channel in the lower side of the pylons. The brass fits well, and will be puttied and painted to hide it. Once the engines are in place, there won't be much to see unless you're REALLY looking.

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I fully admit this will be a slightly faster build, with a little less attention to detail than I usually do. It's meant to be a fun build that will look good on the shelf. No more, no less. I'm saying this to justify my intention of assembling the bulk of the conversion kit NOW, rather than waiting for the whole model to be painted. I base-coated the kit with Tamiya Light Ghost Gray spray paint, then I started hand-painting the aztec with Model Master Dark Ghost Grey.

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I painted the top of the primary hull, the bottom of the warp pylon sled, and the entire neck part, then I assembled those parts with thick CA and 2-part putty. The connection between the neck and the secondary hull has some significant gaps, and the putty is absolutely necessary. The AWACS dome has its risers glued, but the sensor dome assembly won't be glued onto the rest of the model until much later.

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Here's where we stand now....and where it is going to stay for a week or two, while ironically I am now stuck waiting for more Tamiya spray paint to arrive! Funny, since I started this because I didn't have my Valdore paint. It's proving to be a pretty fun little no-worries kind of build so far.

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by Dr_Corsa » Fri May 31, 2019 4:09 pm

Wow, just wow! Of course this kit is not really perfect but it's still very awesome! The Phoenix variant is something I'm still looking for...daily on eBay co.uk, .de and .com ...no chance to get one Warp models kit...

Have fun with it!
Michael
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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by novahobbies » Fri May 31, 2019 4:29 pm

Dr_Corsa wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 4:09 pm
Wow, just wow! Of course this kit is not really perfect but it's still very awesome! The Phoenix variant is something I'm still looking for...daily on eBay co.uk, .de and .com ...no chance to get one Warp models kit...

Have fun with it!
Michael
I admit I didn't think it was something I had to have, I just got it to complete the Galaxy era set....and then when I test-fit it, I was struck by how good it looks! I might even say I like this one better than the triangle pod! OK, maybe not that far. But I'm happy I snagged it, and definitely good luck finding one! You'll see it turn up, I know it.

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by NCC-26773J » Fri May 31, 2019 5:20 pm

Nice kit. I'd say it easier to follow your WIP here on this message board, rather than the "Star Trek Modelers" group on Facebook. Furthermore, I can see pictures you did not posted over there.

I have one question : just how old is the kit ? Scalemates only says 199x.

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by novahobbies » Fri May 31, 2019 6:41 pm

NCC-26773J wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 5:20 pm
Nice kit. I'd say it easier to follow your WIP here on this message board, rather than the "Star Trek Modelers" group on Facebook. Furthermore, I can see pictures you did not posted over there.

I have one question : just how old is the kit ? Scalemates only says 199x.
Thanks man. I like to post my WIP / Build thread here or SSM, and then just drop pictures on FB since a lot more people seem to be on social media these days as opposed to message boards. But FB has a bad drawback -- the crap you post tends to get lost in the crowd real fast. It's not "gone" gone, but it's hard to find after just a few days. Sometimes I like to come back and revisit build logs, so this and blog formats are better for that.

As for your question, I can't say with complete certainty. I know the weapons pod Nebula kit you linked to (awesome retro pic BTW!) was released before the Phoenix version. I'm pretty sure the Nebula was released in 1995-1996, so the Phoenix was most likely 1996-1997. That's best guess. The Phoenix did have the updated, slightly more accurate secondary hull when compared to the original weapons pod version.

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by NCC-26773J » Fri May 31, 2019 9:31 pm

Yeah, I understand what you mean. It's good to see message boards like this one still exist, even if some pictures tend to disappear when the picture hosting site goes off. At least, posts do not fade away after a few weeks or go into errr... darkness.

So... conversion kit from the late 90's ? Damn... I wish I had bought one of these kits while there were plenty of them on the market. Like a few other guys out there, I'm monitoring Ebay from time to time, but well... there's quite some competition out there. ;)

How many different conversion kits were there anyway ? Warp Model, Macro Trek & DLM ? Am I missing someone ?
Anyway, I'll monitor your WIP with great interest on both AST & FB. ;)

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by novahobbies » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:19 pm

Not much done that's photo-worthy. I spent the weekend helping my brother install his new tub, so that took up most of the time. In the evening I finished painting the aztec on the bottom of the secondary hull, and since the new Light Ghost Grey showed up while I was working, I put the base coat of paint on the primary hull and engine parts yesterday when I got home. Tonight I may get to relax and start painting the aztec on the primary hull.

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by novahobbies » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:52 am

Been a busy week or so.....but we're still coming around on this kit. Got the primary hull upper half aztec done, most of the secondary hull, and some details painted in on the upper sensor. I.....forgot....how time consuming the aztec painting on these big Galaxy hulls can be. Relaxing, though. Anyway, here are a few shots...

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I'm going to paint a little more on the warp nacelle bottoms (well, tops, for the Nebula) tonight, and then most likely save the rest of the primary hull for the weekend. Got some other model related projects to take care of this week.....not the least of which is to get back into the Valdore!

Oh, yeah, and after some thought, I've decided to leave the saucer separation option on this model, at least so long as the plastic pin holds out. The biggest reason I dislike the saucer sep feature on the Galaxy is because of the big gap between primary and secondary hull; on this model though, it's mostly hidden by the sensor hull.

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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by Dr_Corsa » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:12 pm

Hey,
Used you masks and sprayed it or is this all made with a pencil? Of course I know...the Aztec is a time intensive story.

Go on and make it so!
Michael
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Re: 1/1400 Macro Trek Phoenix-type Nebula class conversion

Post by novahobbies » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:20 pm

Dr_Corsa wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:12 pm
Hey,
Used you masks and sprayed it or is this all made with a pencil? Of course I know...the Aztec is a time intensive story.

Go on and make it so!
Michael
No masks, all hand painted. I am going to use some generic paneling decal to cover the top pod, just to add some additional visual interest to that relatively sparse location.
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This one is sort of a "fun" build, not worrying too much about super detailing it. The next couple Galaxy types will be decalled completely. I've got the Sutherland as the weapons pod nebula, the Robinson as the standard Galaxy variant, and the Challenger as the Galaxy-X to build eventually.

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