USS Utah NCC 46277 Starfleet Survey Vessel
With the conclusion of the Dominion war and the dissipation of the Borg threat, Starfleet were finally able to return to their primary mission of exploring the galaxy. The Iowa class had been conceived as a heavily armed rescue vessel, but was redesigned as the Utah class survey vessel. Such ships were designed to orbit promising planets and use their expanded sensor capabilities to extensively map the surface, while the large shuttle bay allowed extensive logistical support of survey teams on the ground.
Having built a number of smaller Star Trek models I wanted to build something larger where I could go to town on the smaller details and colouring rather than just get the overall shape. This fantastic concept design by Ryan Dening had been in my ideas folder for years, and I thought the faceted hull looked eminently buildable.
I had also wanted to build a large microscale shuttlebay into a model for some time, so I photoshopped the one in the concept really quickly and this became my main guide. I ended up following that quite closely, tweaking the details mainly and eliminating the raised area behind the bridge.
I was really pleased with the angles of the hull and used some neat techniques to build them. I also worked really hard to get the dark grey section to carry seamlessly onto the warp “wings” - the sand blue inset was just an added bonus! I posted a WIP online and did a final round of changes following some great feedback, making the hull more predominantly white and changing the lower weapons pods to sensor pods, with gold dishes as a throwback to 60’s Trek.
It’s surprisingly sturdy and the central core means the entire model can stand on a single rod of technic beams. I also designed a new stand that angles the model on two axes so it’s artfully presented at a swoopy angle. My previous model took 10 months to build, but I knocked this out in four; and the process has been surprisingly straightforward and very enjoyable!