Star Trek Voyager never grabbed me. I tried to watch it for a while, but it bugged me. Post 60’s Star Trek relied too much upon technology to solve their crises. It happened regularly in The Next Generation, but Voyager took it to a whole new level of dependency. It seemed every episode I saw ended with a transporter application, tachyon beam emitter or clever use of a flux capaciter. The characters felt flat too. The Captain lost my allegiance the moment she ended up in the Delta Quadrant in the first episode. The villains were boring and predictable and the mild mannered Voyager consistently beat up on the mighty Borg. So why then do I collect and build ships from the series? Because they represent some of the last mass market produced of a widely seen science fiction series.
I needed a change. I had been painting Warhammer Figures non-stop for months. I needed a spaceship to clear my palette. I noticed that I had accidentally acquired no less than three of these beasts and figured now was the time to see what it looked like. I was surprised at how large it was. Revell/Monogram used a standard big beefy box for the models and this one filled it. The shape suddenly appealed to me more than it ever did on television.
After washing the pieces and ignoring the model for another week or two, I assembled it. It didn’t go together as well as one could have hoped. The wings were particularly troublesome. Their placement among the other protruding surfaces is unclear in the instructions and the connecting surfaces along the side weren’t ample enough to hold them on securely. (I mended them several times and finally gave up.) The wing connection on the bottom was the worse. I used putty to cover the gaps and lost patience with it. So I left it rough. Obviously the Kazons repaired their ship after a tachyon tetris burst from Voyager's phase plasma emitters in the 50 Watt range.
I lacked patience in building the model because I knew all along that the fun of this kit would be painting. The rounded surfaces and recesses offered an airbrushing challenge I was anxious to meet. So after building the kit, I let it sit on my workbench for about a month. Don’t ask my why these things happen. Sometimes the modeling muse sings sweetly in your ear, sometimes she’s having a sandwich in front of the television. Maybe she had a mud bath, I dunno.
When I got around to it I began by priming the kit with my usual gray primer. I went with a straight Liquitex Raw Siena coat and Sotar 20/20 airbrush for the base. I lightened it a bit with Titanium white and highlighted the convex surfaces. I lightened it a shade more and did it again. I made a darker color with Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber and attacked the recesses. This works well for me. I lack the complete control to shade completely with lighter tones and usually go back with a darker color for contrast.
I let the model dry (always a good idea) and sealed it with Future Floor Wax. I mixed a dark brown oil paint wash with brown and black and aggressively filled the recesses wiping off the excess after it had set a bit. I let it dry for a couple of days to be sure the oils had set and then added the bits of color - purple and green from my miniature acrylic paints, Ral Partha I think. And then I tried to do the decals.
It started well, really it did. The decals didn’t break, they went on flush and they went on quick. But then I decided I didn’t like the edges so I went to my chemistry set and applied Microsol and Solvaset. My beautiful flat decals started to bubble up. I kept on with the solutions to flatten them down, confident that I’d be able to handle it until the biggest brain cramp of the month overcame me one evening.
I had been working with the decals for a day or so. While watching the Cubs on TV it occurred to me that I needed to Dullcoat the beast soon. I went into my study, picked up the model took it outside and sealed it. The decals, much to my embarrassment and later aggravation, were still wet with setting solutions!
This is how I found out that decal setting solutions can eat through Dullcoat. When rational thinking returned to me I went back to work on the side decals with the solutions. I was so relieved to see that the solvents could still work with the decals that I swore then and there never to do another dumb thing as long as I live.
Even so, I ripped one of the decals. That was dumb. I flattened them out as best as I could, went for another layer of Dullcoat and added a touch of soot residue to help hide the decal flaw and make the ship look cool though unrealistic by giving it smoke streaks. But hey, this is Voyager we're taling about. Plenty of smoke up there.
Painting the model was fun. It was a great airbrush project. I achieved fine results and depth of color on this basically monochrome scheme. Just don't mention decals to me for a while.