Monthly Archives: July 2019

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Kuhn Global’s KORBANTH 41″ Blockade Runner KIT REVIEW – Photos by Dan Grumeretz

Every so often a kit stands out more than the rest. In early July 2019, KORBANTH released a kit of the 41 inch Blockade Runner… which is a RE-POP from the original amazing Chris Kelley kit from years back. Korbanth purchased the patterns and molds late last year, and as recently usual, they came through my place here for inspection before going to Randy Johnson to produce under the Korbanth banner. That stated, this kit is NOT exactly as it was originally made… it is BETTER! Randy took the patterns and molds to artist Mark Worley, who made the original patterns even better by adding additional detail, and making it better to assemble. Then Mark made new molds, and cast the nearly perfect kit that I show you today. I was lucky enough to get the very first cast made from those molds that you see in the photos below. First, I must say that I am very impressed at the cast quality! This feels almost like a very fine and expensive plastic injected kit. Artist Dan Grumeretz agrees with me that the details are absolutely crisp, and there are little to no bubble remnants anywhere on this kit. There are a few, but not many at all. I asked Dan to take these photos for me as I have had little time lately, and I wanted to make certain you all could see the quality I witnessed as I held these parts in my own hands. As I stated before, Dan is right with me in agreement on the quality of this kit being amazing. As usual in my reviews, nothing has been touched up in any photo. They are shown in their original high resolution state in order that you may zoom in and see things even more than I may see with my naked eye. The color difference you see of the bridge, and other parts, were from photographing the parts on a white backdrop. A camera lighting thing. All in all, and again, this is a very impressive kit!
I already have two beautiful 41″ Blockade Runners that artist Ray Lawson II built for me from the original Chris Kelley kits. This new build will be shown here, and on the Kuhn Global site for all to see. It will be a fantastic addition.
I want to thank Chris Kelley for making such a fantastic kit, Randy Johnson for acquiring it and selling it again, and Mark Worley for making it even better than before! Thank you Dan for taking these photos for me. Outstanding work all!
Kurt Kuhn
Kuhn Global Incorporated
Modelers Miniatures & Magic

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Kurt Kuhn

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Randy Johnson

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Mark Worley

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Dan Grumeretz

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Chris Kelley

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Building the Dream: The Motion Picture USS Enterprise Refit Replica – PART 2

*** Continued from PART 1 ***

 

BELOW: March 28, 2019 – Dan Grumertez and Kurt Kuhn viewing the assembled size of the model as it is first placed on it’s armature.

It was only this past December 2018 that this build really kicked into high gear when my wife Melanie and I made the decision to donate this model to The Museum of Science Fiction. Being that 2019 was the 40th anniversary of Star Trek The Motion Picture’s release, what better way to celebrate that fact than to have the world’s first studio scale sized miniature for all to view. With that in mind, suddenly there was a looming deadline that felt more and more like that of a Hollywood film deadline. HA! Some of you reading the article know this feeling! LOL. What is very memorable is how many challenges came up during this short 5 month period, including no sleep for the entire last 7 nights before a very late departure to get the model to the Convention in time that was located across the country.

The Push is ON!
Hours were increased greatly at this point…

..Enter HELIOS Models & Lighting, MarZee Fabricators,
Tyler Harshman, and Dustin Ashton

As you can see in the above photos, we had received the light & sound boards from HELIOS Models & Lighting in Germany, and the armature parts that were fabricated by MARZEE Fabricatiors in Phoenix, AZ. The primary hull armature, being that it would carry great weight, was made of steel. Dan designed it to house the entire Shuttle Bay within it. Again.. this feature was a bit wasted since we did not use the Bay after all. That stated, Dan’s design of it was perfect for this feature, and very strong. The Pylons were also made of steel, and even though they were made thick, they still had the issue of having “flex” in them. That is when we had welder Tyler Harshman strengthen them by adding angle iron. It did a great job in stopping the ‘flex’ that was happening. The neck was made of elevated sections up to where the saucer section would connect. Being that the saucer is massive, the armature needed would need to be a more light weight material, yet strong to last the ages to come. We decided upon aluminum for that purpose. Even so, the assembled armature part was very heavy… especially with the fiberglass parts attached. The neck would eventually be strengthened to hold it all straight and firm.

The Light and Sound board that HELIOS built for us is fantastic, providing the entire music and light-up sequence for the Enterprise as it starts up and leaves the Space Dock for the first time in Star Trek The Motion Picture, then going to warp speed with a bright flash of the engine nacelles. We also asked Daniel Beck of HELIOS make it so that on the 15, 30 and 45 minute of each hour the vessel would drop out of warp (with appropriate Impulse Lighting) and fire two volleys of Photon Torpedo’s before going back into warp. Three minutes before the top of each hour, there would be a drop from warp speed sound, (like every 15 minutes before that), and it would go into a complete power down… as if it were back in Space Dock again. Then at the top of the hour the process would start all over again. This made for a very crowded viewing area around the model as each new hour began. It was very cool to witness everyone’s reactions!

At this time I brought on a professional cabinet maker, Dustin Ashton, to build the base we designed together, and the crates the model would travel in. Dustin made this base beautiful, and the cabinet made for great sound with the speakers installed.

In these next photos you will see more progress, and even famed Appraiser Leila Dunbar with us. Famous for the Antique Road Show, and having appraised the full sized Shuttlecraft Galileo prop, among other rare and high priced items, Leila will be doing the final appraisal on this piece. You will also see the moving Van (Box Truck) that my wife Melanie and I drove the model in while traveling over 2,500 miles in 3 days (on our wedding anniversary, no less) through the worst weather possible… Snow, Tornado’s, Winds, Torrential Rains, and 5 foot visibility Fog! It was a true adventure we shall never forget… and we did it with the Starship Enterpirse!! Potholes be damned!! LOL.

Dan spent the last hours of the darkened night, which was now morning, working on the wiring of the model. He literally had a mass of wires that would be the last connections of what HELIOS Models & Lighting provided to us to bring the Enterprise REFIT alive. Dan completed the last solder connection, and brought it over to my home to be set up for the first time, and tested. It was at 3:12am on 5/20/19 , in my own garage, that this model would be turned on for the first time. I had tears in my eyes, and the room was silent. Dan Grumetez, my wife Melanie, William McVey, Sr. and the cabinet maker Dustin Ashton, (whom both came over to assist in those early hours), along with myself simply watched it come alive for the first time.

Note that at this point, these are NOT photos of the completed Enterprise.
It still needed much work when it arrived at Escape Velocity.
These do show the first assembly and activation.
You will notice that even some of the paint mask still required removing. 

ABOVE: May 20, 2019 – (Left to Right) Dan Grumeretz, Kurt Kuhn, Dustin Ashton

Above and Below: May 20, 2019 – Kurt and Melanie Kuhn (Above), Kurt and William McVey, Sr. (Below)

Above and Below: May 20, 2019 – Kurt and Dustin Ashton (Above), Kurt and Dan Grumeretz (Below)

Everyone already knows that I take Blue Screen photos of every model that we create, or comes through here. I was saddened to be unable to properly do so due to time constraints. With this projects challenges creating delay after delay, Melanie and I were going to have to drive hard to get the Enterprise to the Convention Center on-time. Basically we had three days to cross the United States from where we are located in Arizona. Through the challenged weather I previously mentioned,..we made it! This model was meant to be seen, and nothing would stop us from getting it to it’s destination!

ABOVE: May 20, 2019 The Enterprise is crated up for the first time in order to travel in a small moving truck.. over 2,500 miles in three days

ABOVE: May 23, 2019 Kurt and Melanie arrive at Escape Velocity with the Enterprise safely still in it’s crates. Dan had arrived one day before via a plane in order to be there for setup on time. The Enterprise traveled very well in the crates Dustin Ashton built for it. There were some minor issues, and some sort of debris on the main saucer from the foam, but considering the trip this model just endured… I can state it came through exactly as every Enterprise always does.  OH! Yes.. that IS Lou Dalmaso in the photo! LOL.. Lou was extremely helpful is un-crating and setting the Enterprise up for Escape Velocity. Thank you Lou!

ABOVE: May 26, 2019 – Kurt Kuhn introducing (Behind Kurt, from Left to Right) Clint Borucki, Dan Gurmeretz, George Takacs, and Lou Dalmaso

Unfortunately, during our Panel at the 2019 Escape Velocity Convention, my Laptop ceased functioning and we therefore had nothing to show everyone of this amazing build. At least now we may correct that for all to view and appreciate. My apology for that. I do hope these photos will show you how amazing this build was, as well as the skill, efforts and cost to make it come to life. Many were involved, and it was very worth every moment, and every penny spent with all of them.

Thank you to everyone…

When Melanie, Dan and myself witnessed the amazement and wonder of the crowd around the Enterprise, all of whom became absolutely silent as it started up at the top of the hour, it became clear to us that what we did was the right thing to do in our decision to donate the model to The Museum of Science Fiction. As we watched many tear up in joy of seeing something they had dreamed of, we are confident that what we shall do in the future with the Museum is the right course. It is obvious that this art form must be seen. It has been missed somehow in all of the Museums of the world. Together, as we make the Museum of Science Fiction a reality, the Museum shall have much to show everyone of an art form screaming to be seen, screaming innovation, and made from the talents of so many artists all over the world. It shall promote the art form, and give back to it in ways of commission works, not to mention the donations it shall oversee that will make a difference in the world. It shall inspire, and bring people together.

BELOW: May 25, 2019 – The Crowd viewing the USS Enterprise at Escape Velocity

May 26, 2019: Star Trek’s Dan Curry, MOSF’s Greg Viggiano, and Modeler Magic’s Kurt Kuhn

So much came from this build. I wish to thank everyone, especially all those who visited this amazing model. Your reactions made every challenge worth it. Thank you to MOSF’s Greg Viggiano, Mandy, Rachel, Nico, Keith, Jason, Shauna, Steve, Chris… Lou Dalmaso… all of you either hosting, or helping at Escape Velocity. Such a great event,…you are amazing!! Thank you George Takacs for starting something great, and bringing these parts to reality. Thank you Clint Borucki and your team at ACME Design in fabricating parts George created. Thank you Marc Elkins for starting this project for me. Thank you Marzee Fabrications, Tyler Harshman and Goldencalf Studios for your part’s in this. Thank you Randy Johnson for helping in areas that were vital. Thank you to Samuel and Isaac Grumeretz,… your patience and assistance were invaluable. Thank you Dustin Ashton,… your excellence in cabinet works is second to none, and brought this piece to greater heights. Thank you William McVey, Sr., you and Dustin provided much support when we really needed it. Thank you to my beautiful wife, for putting up with my collecting habit, and with whom I could not have gotten through this. That long drive together, facing what we did during all of it, I shall always remember that adventure with you, even through my fading memory. Thank you, thank you, thank you to artist Dan Grumeretz, who truly brought a legend to life… the world’s first studio scale USS Enterprise Replica from Star Trek The Motion Picture! You are a shining star, and an artist whose works stands among the best in the world today. I am grateful! I am grateful to you all!

Thank you to all…
…this is only the beginning!


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Building the Dream: The Motion Picture USS Enterprise Refit Replica – PART 1

On May 24, 2019, my wife Melanie, myself, and artist Dan Grumeretz unveiled the world’s first completed studio scale replica of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek The Motion Picture. Melanie and I donated it to The Museum of Science Fiction during it’s 2019 Escape Velocity Convention. It was to be a great celebration of that film’s 40th anniversary. What an amazing journey this has been. The dream of a Studio Scale REFIT Replica has come to reality.

ABOVE: Short clip of a feature video (showing Kurt Kuhn with the Enterprise) that Omar B. Rimawi filmed of the model at 2019 Escape Velocity

2010…Enter TimeSlip Creations,
George Takacs!!

ABOVE: May 26, 2019 – Kurt Kuhn (Left), George Takacs (Middle), and Dan Grumeretz (Right)

It is a journey that began for me with my contacting artist George Takacs of TimeSlip Creations about parts he had just announced he was creating for the Studio Scale Enterprise REFIT. George first stated he was making the massive 4 foot long Nacelles, showing the initial files to do so. The idea was amazing! Because so, on October 5, 2010 (a Tuesday at 6:47 AM PST) (…to be exact.. LOL) I emailed George about these parts for the first time. You may be thinking, “that is a very specific time Kurt”, right? The great thing is that I still have the emails from back then that I keep for occasions just like this one. How else would I remember the exact time? LOL. I state that with a huge, and very grateful smile. This is an important date for me, and the beginning of a huge dream fulfillment of mine, as well as for many people around the world.

ABOVE: December 9, 2010 — Kurt Kuhn with the 4 Foot Refit Nacelle Parts

2011…Enter Marc Elkins!!

ABOVE: November 22, 2013 – Marc Elkins with the Refit Saucer

Artist Marc Elkins had originally been commissioned to take on this amazing build. His skills are well known in all the fantastic work he has done over the decades he has been within it. He actually took on this project with his own build in mind. We purchased more parts from George than for just one of these builds. We actually purchased enough parts for three builds. Thus, Marc began to clean and fit all the parts coming from TimeSlip Creations…

BELOW: April 7, 2011 to November 3, 2014 Progress Photos from Marc Elkins

Over 2500 Hours!
.. Just Over $65,000!

Many people have inquired how long it took to build, and how much money it cost to make the Studio Scale USS Enterprise Refit. The caption above tells those numbers, but they should be elaborated on.  For Build time, I had quoted around 2,500 man hours during our Panel at the 2019 Escape Velocity Convention. I can tell that everyone was shocked in a sort of disbelief. Even Dan Grumeretz, this model’s primary artist, looked at me in question of that number. HA! I suppose the sound of that number seems to be an embellishment. After all my accounting, I can tell you with truth that it is not. If you break it down, you will find hours worked on this project from two different artists, an electronics expert, fabricators, a welder, and a cabinet maker, among a few other people I hired to make this model a reality. If you could see everything I have on the subject (which is too much to show) you would find my estimate is indeed true, and in fact… a very conservative estimate. What is more amazing is that my stated 2,500 hours estimate is not even counting anything George Takacs had vested in his efforts in creating the parts, and the talents he utilized (like Clint Borucki’s team at ACME Design, Inc). The hours I have stated as used for this model are only our own hours taken to create this model. That number began when I first received (in my own hands) the Nacelles from George. Still in dis-belief? This has been an 8 year, 8 month journey, with the majority of this build being completed in the last six months. Let’s add those six months up for just Dan alone. We start with two months at 12 hours daily, three months at 16 hours daily, three weeks at 20 hours daily, and one week at 24 hours daily. That is 876 hours just in the last 6 months with only one man’s hours accounted for. We had a few people working on this project during that same time, and there were many, many hours devoted to this with at least two artists in the 8.5 years before this last 6 months. Putting this “time” into a real-world perspective: If a person worked for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 16 months… (68 weeks), you will get 2,720 hours worked. That is a standard work day, with weekends off,… in only 1 year and 4 months. Interesting, isn’t it?

As for cost… if this were a Hollywood build, this would have been over $100K. But in all reality, with what we had to do to make this real at this time, it came to exactly $65,314.26 USD. Here is the great thing…. With all we now know of this beautiful model, and the fact that George continues to develop parts (which are very near to being complete) to make this an entire kit, Dan and I both agree this model could be built for much less. Better efficiency, and less time taken to make those things we know of now effects costs greatly.

ABOVE: November 22, 2013 – Kurt Kuhn (Left) and Marc Elkins (Right) with the Enterprise Saucer Top

As mentioned, this fantastic model went through two main artists, Marc Elkins and Dan Grumeretz. After a few years of acquiring parts from George, test fitting and assembling these parts, Marc found himself overloaded with work, and a new child on the way. This wonderful news was fantastic back then, and even today. That stated… it meant that the Enterprise build would have to wait for a significant time. Family is always number one with me, and Marc has an amazing and large family that he is a great Father of. Therefore, in 2014 Marc and I decided together to move that project to another artist…. Dan Grumeretz. I had already been working with Dan for a few years, with many projects. Dan was able to take my own vision and translate them into beautiful, physical display models. As it turns out, our symbiosis is a great one for this type of artwork, and the Starship Enterprise REFIT Replica was again on track. I am grateful to my friend Marc Elkins for his great contributions to this wonderful build.

Amazing Artists Utilized…
2014….Enter Dan Grumeretz!

BELOW: August 27, 2016 – Dan Grumeretz holding the Enterprise Primary Hull

ABOVE: May 24, 2019 – Dan Grumeretz working on the Studio Scale USS Enterprise

Marc had already done much of the fitment needed of the parts we had at that time, so Dan almost immediately began to create the interiors of this model. We found something very interesting almost immediately. This Studio Scale Model is actually 1/120 scale, yet it’s corridors, the Captain’s Lounge, and an entire Shuttle Bay had to be built in “N” Scale 1/160 to fit properly. Unfortunately the beautiful Shuttle Bay Dan was making did not get finished in time for the presentation, and we used the closed clam-shell doors instead. One of the main interior areas is the massive Rec Deck, which is located in the Aft Starboard saucer section. It has the largest windows in the saucer section which are squared off that the people inside the ship could have great views. This Rec Deck is shown in two fantastic scenes in the film. One is when Captain Kirk first shows the crew V’Ger, and what it did to the Klingons in Battle,.. or what appeared to be a Battle. The next time we see this massive Rec Deck is when Commander Decker is accompanying the replica of Lieutenant Ilea (whom is now communicating as V’Ger). It is this scene we have replicated in the model replica’s Rec Deck area, and it can be seen through it’s windows. In making that area, and fitting the correct size figures into it, we found the scale to be very much smaller than 1/120, and even smaller than the “N” scale of 1/160. To fit that Rec Deck into a 1/120 Saucer section, and have it be correct to the size we viewed in the film (with it’s two levels) the scale of that section is actually “Z” scale, or 1/220. The figures Dan placed in were less than .33 (⅜) inches tall!

BELOW: May 24, 2019 – Kurt Kuhn (Left) & Dan Grumeretz (Right) – Final Details on the REFIT

Easter Eggs!

In making this Enterprise, it was very important to me that this model take on the look and characteristics of what this Enterprise would look like if it were real, and someone simply shrunk it down with a shrink ray. This is the vision and criteria for all that is in the Kuhn Collection today. I call it “Idealized” because it strays from the true meaning of “Studio Scale” when that is applied. For instance, much of the detail seen through the windows of the original model were simply pictures to give it depth. Dan took it a step further. He made corridors that could be seen within all the tiny windows, and then placed actual figures in the corridors! This is where we placed in what is referred to as “Easter Eggs” into the model. “Easter Eggs” are tiny objects of interest that one discovers… like Disney does with it’s “Hidden Mickey” head in just about everything it creates. Our “Easter Eggs” begin with the Rec Room’s huge monitor… which is showing the scrolling words in the beginning of the 1977 film Star Wars! Other “Easter Eggs” can be found through various windows…. like the famed Vincent Van Gogh painting of “A Starry Night” on the rear wall of the Captain’s Lounge, or an actual “Mickey Mouse” peering at you through one of the Saucer Deck windows. Other’s include an “Andorian”, and the black and white faced character “Lokai” from “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” in the primary hull section. Dan  even included “Orion Slave Girls” which are very difficult to see through the windows, but have been placed in anyway. Even more include C3PO & R2D2, and even Luke and Leia as they stood in the Medical Frigate at the end of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back! Dan added those on his own, knowing I would approve. We just could not resist. He and I have the same thoughts on “idealized” miniatures.

So many people ask me of the “Kit”. While many modelers speak of what George Takacs has created as a “Kit”,… I don’t consider it to be a singular kit….. ‘yet’ that is. I state this because as of this article, it is not yet a full kit that can stand on it’s own. While the Bridge Module stands alone as a kit, the rest are fantastically made parts that are being assembled to become a “Kit”. I can state with every confidence that the stand alone kit it shall eventually become, it is most amazing, and I highly recommend it. George is doing great work for us all! Thank you George!

Dan and I had been waiting for some ‘key’ elements from TimeSlip Creations that, as previously stated, some of which are still in development. George is making certain these parts are perfect to be released. In my experience with TimeSlip Creations, George will release nothing less than amazing. A few of the key elements that were still in development with George during the time we were in were the Neck with Torpedo Bay, the Nacelle Pylons, and the Nacelle Pylon Boots. Some of those are now available from George today, however back then they were not, and we needed these items to begin the metal armature that Dan would end up designing. We decided they would need to be scratch built to press forward with the build. Utilizing photos of the original studio model (the 1701-A shown on Modelers Miniatures & Magic), matching it with the Polar Lights 1/350 kit, and viewing close-up screen captures from Star Trek The Motion Picture, Dan was able to make all of these parts needed. We have the molds even today. I even sent a second set to Marc Elkins as a gift for his own build, as the Refit is Marc’s favorite sci-fi model. Getting back to the build, after Dan created these needed parts, he continued to work on the interiors, including very fine details for the scale.

The next section of photos shows the progress (in order of the dates they happened) by Dan from August 6, 2015 to March 28,2019. This section also shows reference used from screen captures and photos of the studio model, drawings made, the creation and casting of the Neck, Pylons and Torpedo Bay, some notes, and even the parts Dan made for the Shuttle Bay we had planned (that was not finished in time for unveiling).