Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Perhaps It IS A Good Day to Die!

Next up is a non-canon Trek ship, originally designed by Conrad Mitchell. Designed to fit, size-wise, into the Klingon fleet somewhere between the movie version of the Bird-of-Prey and a small cruiser, the ship retains the smaller ship's ability to land on a planet's surface, while being big enough to utilize and carry a pair of shuttlecraft.  

Original model by Conrad Mitchell
Ever since I first downloaded the original version of this model, I've enjoyed the finished look achieved by what is really a rather simple model, and I liked the way it was thought out, the design builds easily, with interior reinforcing as if the model itself were made to take abuse.  I also like how well it fits into the established design aesthetic so that it's instantly recognizable as Klingon, even if it's not of of the ten Klingon ship classes used on screen.

Updated model by Paul McCool
The biggest shortcoming of the original model was the low resolution of the original art, as it was only an 832 x 1268 bitmap in six colors, so the surface detail was fairly rudimentary. Another drawback was the overly complex construction of the warp engines, which, at least for me, required three or four attempts to get a serviceable pair.  With these two issues identified, I made correcting them the ultimate goal in my updating the model.

I enlarged the images by 270%, allowing for a resolution of 300 d.p.i. which enabled me to improve the level of surface detail, and soften some of the blockiness of the original.  While I kept to the same basic hues that Conrad had used, I did add several different shades of each to add a bit more depth.  The higher resolution also allowed me to add finer details that were absent on the original, such as running lights and even a tiny little Klingon in a window.

View of original, removable shuttle bay.
Aside from the engines, I had to make a few changes to the structure of the model where the neck attaches to the engineering hull, and the construction of the shuttle bay.  On the original model, the hangar was designed to be a separate assembly which could slide out of the rest of the model, turned 180 degrees, and slid back in, to depict the shuttle bay as either open or closed.  It was a neat idea, but it made the stern of the ship look clunky, so in my repaint, I replaced the slide out hangar with a fixed assembly which could be modeled as an open bay by cutting out the doors.

Revised shuttle bay assembly
The shuttles got an updated look as well, as I used a design I had been playing with for a Star Fleet shuttle and painted them green.

The revised engines are more faceted than the originals, but they build up easier, and still look pretty good on the finished model.

The last big change for the model was a "stealth" version, in black, done at the request of someone on the forums at papermodelers.com.

The models, and instructions can be downloaded here:


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