U.S.S. Observer NCC-19778 Discovery Class Starship


Model by Mike S.



AMT/Ertl kits 8766 (USS Reliant), 8617 (USS Enterprise-A), 8229 Klingon Battle Cruiser, spare kit parts

Model Specifications:
Scale = 1/535
Length = 47.1 cm
Width = 27.5 cm
Height = 10.0 cm

Originally, when I first got this kit of the Reliant, it was going to be built stock. Then a contest on the Starship Modeler website had issued a "Model in A Month" challenge. At first I wanted to try combine the Defiant kit with the Reliant to form some sort of monster escort vessel. After much thought and realizing that combining the two kits would be difficult, I decided to take another direction; modify the Reliant kit using its own components, making a Defiant style vessel that could be used by the infamous Section 31.
The first thing I did was to take the parts that attached to the saucer and try play around with new locations where they could be fitted. The weapons pod that originally was on the "roll bar" was moved to the center of the saucer in the front so I needed to cut away the correct amount of hull away. I also decided to reverse mount the warp nacelles. For this, I needed to cut the struts and rebuild them to have a proper fit against the hull. This meant that the mega phasers would be now on the underside of the ship.
Since I was going to make this a Section 31 vessel, I thought that it might be interesting to have a smaller auxiliary dropship docked in the bottom of the saucer. To have a nice even fit flush with the hull, I had to cut out the middle and place the ship inside the gap, then place small strips of styrene to hide the gaps and make it appear the dropship was just a different sensor palette to those that were unfamiliar with the ship's design.

With the weapons pod in the front and the mega phasers on the bottom, I felt there needed to be a weapons system somewhere on the top half of the ship to face the rear. I simply took the rear photon torpedo launcher piece, fixed it to the hull with some sanding to fit, cut strips of styrene for the side bulkheads and then used what was originally the sensor dome for the bottom of the ship as the torpedo room's roof. I used Bondo to seal the gaps that I had.

I soon realized that I was going to have some issues with the nacelles...they were facing "downwards" in relation to the rest of the ship. Instead of filling the gaps and creating new holes for the nacelle mounts, I decided to keep them in the "wrong" direction. As luck would have it, Stephen (SoundEffect) was actually looking for Miranda nacelles and had a pair of Constitution Refit nacelles that WERE the "right" direction for the ship! We were both happy with the trade and now I only need to fill in the panel lines to keep the nacelles as smooth as the rest of the ship.

Another minor detail I am also attempting is to carve out the top of the bridge module and replace it with a shaped piece of clear plastic from the lower sensor dome that wouldn't be used. I would like to be able to get a nice scale bridge inside to be viewed from the top but I will see what time permits me to do.
Today's date is June 13th and I am still uncertain of what other features I would like to add but am trying to find "greeblies" to fill in "empty spaces". The background I have on the class so far is that my ship is the second of its class, the first ship was declared "missing in action and presumed destroyed" on a classified mission. There is also a third and tentatively last ship of this class being constructed at a "classified facility".

I will continue to update my progress and keep reports on a weekly basis with highlights and more pictures. I would love to hear any comments and could take some suggestions into account if it is possible to fit it in the construction uninterrupted. Thanks for looking, by the end of the month, this model, I will "...make it so..."
Here's the kit still without it's first coat but pretty much finished, sanded and glued together. It gives the general idea of what it finally looks like all together.
Here's where we see the most significant difference in the kit; the forward torpedo launcher pod. The ship is now colored with the primer coat which was sprayed on from a can. This gives a uniform finish without the color of the filler.
Here's a view of the entire ship with the first coat and I must say it looks pretty good. The clear parts have been masked off and the shapes are easy to see now. The aft torpedo module now blends in nicely without the contrasting color of the filler along with the gap that was behind the forward torpedo module. The biggest problem now is making sure that the cracks are filled when too much pressure is applied to the main hull. The nacelles are aligned nicely and the gaps where the nacelle struts were modified have blended in perfectly with the ships new shape.
The commissioning plaque of the starship Observer.

Photos by Mike S.