AMT(Round 2) USS Defiant

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by Millenniumf, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. Millenniumf

    Millenniumf New Member

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    Don't I have a bunch of projects already on the work bench? Why, yes. Do I really need to start another one? Of course not. Am I going to anyway? Yes, I am. Why? Because I want a model of the Defiant, that's why. :D

    I've wanted a good, lit model of the USS Defiant ever since I laid eyes on her, but the only injection molded kit's reputation preceded it and I just couldn't bring myself to pay the ridiculous eBay prices (at the time), so I just put this one in the realm of "maybe one day". Well, thanks to the wonderful folks at Round 2, I was able to get a decently priced copy of the kit, and by now my skills as a modeler have improved to the point that I'm not afraid of tackling such a kit as this.

    As anyone who has built her knows, the AMT Defiant was and is plagued with problems that Round 2 hasn't bothered to fix, beyond correcting the decal sheet. But I'm not about to let a little thing like poor fit, raised and soft details, and a general lack of detail stop me from building her up. :)

    I started this whole mess by cutting out the "warhead" so I could build it as a complete unit:

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    I drilled out the windows, then installed the replacement deflector from the DLM upgrade kit:

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    Cutting out the warhead however has left me with a problem. That being the socket needs to be not only filled with bulkhead and detail, but evened out.

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    You can see there that the bottom half doesn't line up with the top half. Nothing a little sheet styrene and TLC can't fix. I planning on adding plenty of bulkhead and a small battery box that slides in and out of the hull for the 9V power source. The box itself will attach to the inside edge of the warhead so it will be easily pulled out.

    The next thing on the list was to sand down the inside surface of the glowy bits on top of the hull and replace them with clear acrylic sheet from a CD jewelcase.

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    That took for-ev-er! Fortunately, I have plenty of movies to keep me occupied. ;) I started with the impulse crystals. Once they were as thin as I could get them without actually sanding them off the hull, I put a dab of tube glue on them all and glued a small rectangle of clear acrylic. Then after giving it a chance to dry I trimmed them off the hull, allowing the piece to fall free. I trimmed up the circular bits, then trimmed their holes, and finally glued the piece back in. I realize in hindsight that I probably should have painted this assembly first, but hey, live and learn. The orange radiator thingy was given the same treatment, though after it was sanded down and the excess styrene removed, I chucked a small cutter into my rotary tool and removed more styrene from beneath the ladder details. Then I glued more clear acrylic to the inside of that, again using tube glue.

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    After those were dry and set, I constructed a pair of light boxes for the impulse deflector crystals and mounted blue LEDs in them. They look pretty good even with two out of three LEDs lit:

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    The last thing I've done so far, other than constructing the circuit for the strobes, is cut out the warp grilles and replace them with sculpting armature. I was really wanting to replicate the look of the miniature, with those sunken-in warp grilles, but I had run out of this excellent piece of photoetch brass grille that I'd been snipping bits out of for the longest time. I had no idea where I was going to get anything to replicate those wire grilles. Maybe something from the internet? I couldn't find anything that would work which wouldn't also break me. Finally, I was at Hobby Lobby with my parents, helping them find some wood for my dad's craft project, and I decided, what the heck, I'll just ask someone to help me find some fine wire mesh. And wouldn't you know it, the $7 sheet of sculpting armature they pointed me to was perfect! It's not quite the same size as the existing grilles on the kit parts, but hey, this stuff looks just fine on the model! :D

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    Before I wrap up this post, I want to say a word about the strobes on this model. I had figured that nobody would have bothered to accurize the warp grilles. This isn't surprising; it's usually expensive to get fine metal mesh, and I think I got lucky in my find. However, nobody, not even the guys building studio scale kits, has ever gotten the strobe pattern right. I noticed that they looked weird as I was watching DS9, and when I did a frame-by-frame analysis, I determined that the fore strobes pulse just before the aft ones do, and that their frequency is almost a constant 1.166Hz. So I asked about this in the electronics forum and someone was kind enough to point me to the 4017 CMOS chip, which could be configured to strobe two LEDs, one after the other. :D I went out and bought a pair of them (because I have other ideas for this chip) as well as some 555 timers and 4060 chips for more fun times. I haven't yet done any calculation on the timing of the circuit. I'll save that for after I've successfully tested it out, which should happen very soon after I purchase a new 9V battery, heh.

    Here it is on the breadboard:

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
    bikemancs, Wes R and Galactican like this.
  2. Galactican

    Galactican Well-Known Member

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    Very good build report! I love the Defiant, too. Looking forward to the updates! :)
     
  3. Jedi Dade

    Jedi Dade Sr Member

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    Kickin' Butt and takin' names - just like the defiant should !

    Jedi Dade
     
  4. Millenniumf

    Millenniumf New Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, y'all. :)

    The next part I decided to work on was the warhead. And FWIW, I have no idea if that's the correct word for this section, but it's used in plenty of blueprints, and it's just as good as anything else. I decided to construct a small housing for the deflector's LED. I noticed in the show that there is a perceptible hot spot in the deflector dish, and after analyzing a fly-by frame by frame, I determined approximately where it is. So I built the box so that I could mount a single white LED at that location, and I think it looks pretty good.

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    After that was finished I built the light box for the warhead's windows. Not much to say about this, but I will probably apply some light blocking paint to the interior.

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    I also spent quite a bit of time today working out the proper values for the strobe light effect, and once I had them I built the circuit board to control them. I'll be adding a voltage divider to this as I complete more lighting systems so that it'll be evenly lit and the strobe effect doesn't dim the other lights on the model.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I built two light boxes for the engine thingies:

    [​IMG]

    Honestly, I should pick a better name for them... There are three white, two red, and one purple LED. This should produce something similar to the pale magenta light that this area produces.

    Till next time. :)
     
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  5. Millenniumf

    Millenniumf New Member

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    Got some more work done on this beauty over the weekend. :D The first thing I decided to work on were the Bussard collectors. I enhanced the contrast on a screen cap to figure out where the hot spots are, and then after figuring out just how far back I needed to place the LEDs to get them correct I glued them to a pair of bulkheads. For some reason, superglue wasn't holding them very well, so I built two holders from sheet styrene and glued them over the LEDs. Here's what they look like when turned on.

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    The next part to tackle were the bulkheads on the back of the warhead. I cut out sheet styrene and glued it to the inside edges of the warhead. Then I glued in more frames to create a gluing surface for it.

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    Before I forget, here's a short video of the strobe effect in action:

    [video]http://vid60.photobucket.com/albums/h4/Millennium_Falsehood/DSCN6541_zpscwb7wchm.mp4[/video]

    Anyway, I also decided to install the position marker LEDs. I had a bunch I had ordered from the model train store to install in my Fantasy Flight Games Imperial Shuttle miniature, but they were the wrong size for the wingtips. So I put them in the LED box, and I decided to use four of them for the Defiant. I encased them in styrene, then glued them to predrilled holes on the sides of the warp nacelles.

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    I also added the ribs on the inside of the impulse thrust tunnels.

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    After that was done, I installed fiber optics and an LED light source for the forward floods. I am going to put a drop of Tamiya clear yellow on these when I get the model finished to make them look more like the incandescent bulbs used on the miniature. I would have used warm white LEDs, but the ones I have weren't bright enough for the job.

    [​IMG]

    I then decided to work on my battery tray idea. I started by building a battery box out of thick sheet styrene. Then I cut out a hole for it and put a track inside so that it would ride smoothly in and out of the hull. After that, I built up the area around it and put in a pair of walls around the tray to serve as guides for it. It slides out very easily. I'm going to mount the warhead on it after I install the strobe lights and glue it together; I still need to sand it down on the sides so it will slide freely.

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  6. Millenniumf

    Millenniumf New Member

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    I've been working steadily for the last few months, trying to get some more progress on it between school and work, and I've gotten some real progress on this tough little ship. :D

    First, I drilled out the two countermeasures pod launchers on the dorsal surface. After that, I built small light boxes for the dull orange LEDs I wanted to install behind them. I also put a small square of milk jug plastic to act as a diffuser.

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    I also filled in the portholes on the bottom of the ship with styrene and then sanded them smooth. Then I drew guide lines on it and drilled out accurate porthole locations, then drilled them out with a pin vise. I'll be filling them in with fiber optics later.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the piece de resistance of this update: the warp engines. This is the area I wanted to tackle the most and which would require the most work to do, but in the end I think it will be worth it to make the engines look right. I've built the areas behind the warp grilles. I didn't bother making them symmetrical in details, as the object was to give the area details similar to, but not exactly like, the filming miniature.

    [​IMG]

    After those two areas were built I focused on the lighting elements. I didn't just want glowing areas. I wanted to replicate the fluorescent tube lighting seen in the filming miniature, which was a U-bend fluorescent tube light, similar to this one. So I bought some 5mm side-glow fiber optic filament off Amazon and created a mounting assembly for it, complete with milk jug plastic for the diffuser.

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    I also bought four super bright LEDs to light it, and will be mounting one in each end of the fiber to give it even glow throughout. Here's one of them at half-brightness lighting up the fiber:

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    I'm really liking the looks of this setup! :D I can't wait to finish the other module and mount them both with LEDs permanently installed behind them.

    The only things I have left to light up are the impulse engines, strobes, and portholes, then I can connect all the lighting elements to a voltage divider, connect that to a battery, and then seal her up! :D
     
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  7. funboy1013xx

    funboy1013xx Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    wow, pretty cool! are you running all the light's on one 9v?
     
  8. Millenniumf

    Millenniumf New Member

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    Yep. None of them require more than 3.5v forward voltage, so I can run them all on a small power source. :)
     
  9. Hunk a Junk

    Hunk a Junk Sr Member

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    Very nice! This is definitely a kit that cannot be done justice without lighting her up real good! Looking forward to seeing her together.
     
  10. bwize

    bwize Well-Known Member

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    That is looking great. The lighting is coming along nicely and can't wait to see more progress.
     
  11. rbeach84

    rbeach84 Sr Member

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    Great information, appreciate you sharing the details of your project (especially the lighting, something I'd like to attempt someday...)

    I'm looking forward to the finished model.

    Regards, Robert
     
  12. kruleworld

    kruleworld Well-Known Member

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    i too would like to thank you for sharing the build
     
  13. Millenniumf

    Millenniumf New Member

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    No problem. :) Got some more progress on the model done! :D First thing I want to mention is the fiber optics for the underside portholes. It didn't take too long to get them installed, but I decided to use J B Weld to secure them because it is a good light blocker and I figured I could kill two birds with one stone. Well, while it is excellent as a light blocker, it also takes forever to set... Ah well. I just applied it the night before, and today I was able to work on the fibers. [​IMG] I'm going to sand all the fibers flush before I paint the model, so that the windows will also be flush. I did one area of portholes to see how well they would look, and they don't look half bad. [​IMG] I also added some standoffs for the strobe light circuit board. The little bit in the middle is where the position marker LEDs are wired in. I'll solder this all together probably tomorrow. [​IMG] Here's how the interior of the upper hull half looks so far. [​IMG] And here's one of the warp engine interiors mounted in place. It's not glued in yet; I installed several braces to keep the part in place for fitting, to make sure that any newly built areas, like the porthole light boxes, won't interfere with them. I'm also going to be painting them along with the impulse engine thrust tunnels a light gray to promote light transmission. I should note that while you don't see them, I have actually finished the impulse engine light boxes and will be gluing them once I've painted the thrust tunnels. [​IMG] That's all for now. :)
     
  14. bwize

    bwize Well-Known Member

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    WOW, that's looking amazing! Love the rear warp engine glow, looks awesome.
     
  15. Captain April

    Captain April Sr Member

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    Looks fantastic, but my biggest problem with this kit is the raised panel lines instead of recessed as in the studio model.
     
  16. JMar

    JMar Active Member

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    Well done!

    Very neat work!
     

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