Star Trek Ship Minatures – Tugs

My most recent miniatures project was doing up some Tugs for Star Trek. These came from several sources. Most of them are Lou Zocchi’s Gamescience Ptolomy Class Tugs that came out in the late 70’s early 80’s. These also came out as set part of a set for Federation Commander.

There are a couple that I have had for decades, they are darker than the ones from the Federation Commander set.

I also picked up a few more individual Tugs from Starfighter Shipyards along with decals from the sister site, Jupiter IV Decals to go with the Tugs and other ships I have, including some custom decals for some Shapeways ships.

I also order a few Tugs of various types, along with a few other ships, from Shapeways.

I primed the Shapeways ships with white primer but decided not to prime any of the plastic Zocchi ships.

I experimented on a couple, trying a light blue wash, but didn’t really like the results. The ship on the left is an Antares Class robot grain ship from the Animated Original Series. The tiny ship is an Archer Class scout from the Vanguard TOS Novels.

The last set of Tugs I purchased were the WS Ptolomy Transports from Studio Bergstrom.

These were interesting to put together. Each one came with six small earth magnets. Two get used on the ends of the pods, these were not too bad to put in, just be sure to check that you get the polarity of the magnets lined up correctly or they will repel rather than attract.

On the other hand, the two that go into the bottom of the saucer and on the neck of the pod were a pain. The ones in the neck less so, because the area isn’t recessed, you can apply the glue, then push in the magnet and hold it in place. The ones in the saucer are more difficult. The first one goes in fine. I should have let it completely dry before trying to put in the second one. I applied the glue for the second magnet, but because the two spots are so close together, it actually jumped over to the first magnet as I moved it towards it’s position. Of course when I tried to take it off, it ripped the first one out, I ended up with the magnets glued together and glued to my finger as well. Fortunately I was able to get them separated, and unstuck from me.

I cleaned up the first one, glued it back in and let it dry. I then used a piece of cardboard to create a barrier between the first magnet and where the second magnet had to go. I stuck the second magnet to a straight pin, maneuvered it into place then held it there with the toothpick while my wife removed the straight pin. I then sat there for awhile until the glue was dry enough that the magnet wouldn’t pop back out. It’s a neat idea, but if I was to do these again, I would just glue the first pod to the saucer and skip the magnets. I don’t really see myself using the mini without the pod anyway.

For the Studio Bergstrom Tugs, I used Grey Primer instead of white.

Then, I decided to dust off my airbrush and paint the Bergstorm and Shapeways Tugs with a base coat of white using my airbrush. It could have gone better. The paint didn’t go on evenly, and ended up too think in several areas, particularly on the Bergstorm tugs. I either need to give up on airbrushing or take the plunge and invest in a good one.

In the mean time, I had applied some decals to a couple of the tugs, which went well, and the rest were ready to go.

Of course, it is a little challenging getting the decals on when you have big hands like mine.

Once they were all on, I gave them a coat of Dull Cote, which actually distorted a couple of the decals on the bottom. I think I either got too close with the spray can or put on too much at once, but fortunately it was on the underside of the saucer and not noticeable in play.

So, for fun, I pulled out some of my Space Station and Shipyards miniatures and set up a Trade Station diorama.

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