Klingon Bird of Prey • HMS Bounty • B'rel Class Scout


Model by Bill E.


Box Stock

AMT/Ertl kit 8230 (Klingon Bird of Prey), Evergreen plastic, K&S tubing, sheet styrene, and various model bits & pieces

Model Specifications:
Scale = 1/345
Length = 25.5 cm
Width = 29.3 cm
Height = 15.4 cm

  I have always remembered the Klingon Bird of Prey's initial and awesome appearance on the big screen in Star Trek III and wanted to build a model of it ever since.  Unfortunately, it took AMT/ERTL over ten years to finally market one. I bought one as soon as it hit the shelves.

For the most part, the Bird of Prey was built from the box. The following areas were enhanced:
  1) The kit had a number of flat, unremarkable surfaces that I thought needed additional detailing. The most noticeable areas were the wing roots and the inside area below the Inner Coolers of each wing. These flat surfaces were enhanced with Evergreen plastic strips, sheet plastic and bits and pieces from old kits. Strip and sheet plastic was also used to replace detail that was sanded off during the filling process.

2) The Radiator Baffles on each wing are hollow and is very apparent if the model is viewed at the right angle. Thus, I glued squares of 0.30" sheet plastic together inside each Radiator Baffle, from the front to the back, offsetting each alternate piece. Once painted and weathered, this addition provides the bottom of the Radiator Baffles with the appearance of sliding plates when viewed from the aforementioned angle

3) The disruptor cannons mounted on the Wing Pylons were drilled out.

4) The kit stand was discarded. Inside the Lower Hull, covering the slit for the kit stand, I glued 0.60" plastic squares to a height of about 1". A 3/8" diameter hole was then drilled about 1/2" deep through the bottom of the Lower Hull and the stack of plastic. This assembly provides a solid mounting for the new stand which consists of a bent 3/8" K&S Metals' brass tube and a wooden base. I also built up an insert to disguise the mounting hole if the Bird of Prey is hung from a ceiling.
  If anything, the success of this model is in the painting and weathering. I took a different approach with this kit than any other I have built. With most models, I generally paint the main colors and then will mask selected panels and paint them lighter and darker shades of the main color. This technique simulates wear on different access panels and provides a nice basis for follow on weathering. However, because the Bird of Prey as full raised panels, I reversed the process.

I started the painting process with the "feather" pattern on the wings. I used Insignia Red for the bottoms of the wings and Forest Green for the tops. I individually masked each "feather" panel with Bare Metal Foil, which I find conforms much better than masking tape to the small angles associated with each panel. The foil was trimmed at the bottom edge of each panel, leaving the recess between panels exposed. Several random panels were painted a shade lighter and a shade darker prior to masking.
After the masking was done, I prepared the main color by mixing Forest Green and Pale Green in a 50/50 ratio and separated the main color into three batches. I added more Pale Green to one batch to produce the lighter shades and Forest Green to another batch for the darker shades. The first lighter/darker shade was applied to a number of random panels and once dry, the panels were individually masked. Adding more "shading" paint to the respective batch produced the next successive lighter/darker shade. In all 3 different lighter/darker shades, 6 in total, were applied to the model. I also painted, and masked, several panels with a couple different shades grays. Some of the industrial areas were painted Gun Metal.

By this stage, the Bird of Prey was looking quite "silver" giving it a "chrome finished" look. This gave rise to the idea to build one in a graving dock prior to being "commissioned into service". Of course this idea still lies in the GIB (Great Idea Box).
Once the shaded panels were masked, the Bird of Prey was painted with the main color. The removal of the masking medium proved to be somewhat of a challenge due to the nature of Bare Metal Foil. However, by using balled masking tape and dabbing at the foil with it, the foil lifts up producing an edge in which tweezers can be used to pry the foil off.

The last pieces to be painted were the Warp Drive Housing and Photon Torpedo Emitter. These pieces are molded in clear and the transparent colors were painted on inside of the pieces. In painting these pieces, I discovered a nifty effect that I have duplicated in one form or another. After painting the Transparent Red color, I masked it with Bare Metal Foil™. The effect of doing so was to make the engine to be fairly reflective through the transparent color. Needless to say, the masking was not removed from the inside of these pieces. On the outside of these pieces, the areas that were to remain clear were masked and the framework was painted with the main color. These pieces were glued in place once the paint had cured completely.
With the masking removed, the Bird of Prey received the standard treatment of gloss coat, decals and dull coat. Next, weathering commenced with several black washes. Several areas received a wash of rust. Drybrushing of the entire model with Flat White, Flat Aluminum and various grays and greens enhanced the "wear" effect. Several panels received a heavier drybrushing of Flat Aluminum to simulate heavier wear on those panels.

Once I was happy with weathering, the little details such as windows, lights, etc. were picked off as indicated in the instructions and at random based upon my feel for the model. The final touch was to paint "HMS BOUNTY" in red on the port underside, as per STAR TREK IV.

This model received a 2nd place award in Sci-Fi Ships at CAPCON 2001 and received a 1st in Sci-Fi and Best of Category in the Space category at CAN/AM CON III

Photos by Steve M. and John T.