BSG Raptor with lighting 1/32

Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Hey guys,

I’m in the middle of putting together the Moebius 1/32 Raptor and frankly it has been a bit of a pig so far. I thought it might help someone out to see what I’ve done so anyone thinking of doing the same kit can learn from my mistakes.

So here was the plan:

1. Photo etch - I’m using all of the green strawberry photo etches (internal, external and armament)

2. Lighting - I’ll be lighting all of the interior screens, instruments and lamps using various sizes of LEDs

3. Armament - I’ll be adding some of the armament from the separate Moebius kit. Likely the wing tip guns and missiles. I won’t put the big rocket pods on as you can’t open the side door with them on, so you can’t see the ECO bay very well

4. Internal power supply - I don’t like my models to be stuck permanently to a base (how can you whoosh them around the room making spaceship noises if they’re stuck to a display base?!) so I plan to include an internal Lipo battery with a USB charging port concealed somewhere

5. Crew - the crew figures included with the kit are, frankly, rubbish (sorry Moebius). They’re tiny and weird proportioned and stiffly posed. So I’m planning to replace them with some modified 1/32 pilots. Which will probably mean replacing the seats and modifying the cockpit too

Let me know if you’re interested to hear more! A word of caution: I’m pretty new to building models and have never used photo etch, weathering materials, electronics or a soldering iron before...what could go wrong?
 

modelerdave

Well-Known Member
I'm anxious to see how this goes. Take lots of pictures!

Lou Dalmaso did one of these with the full PE complement and lighting everything. He has some good tips (though he's a little long-winded). It's a multi-part build on his YouTube channel. You may want to check it out.
 

GMan68

Active Member
I’m keen! This is the one BSG kit not in my stash, and I’m undecided about getting it. Your build might help me decide! Oh, and avoiding your mistakes if I do get one would be real useful too lol.
 

Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Cheers guys. Just took a look at Lou Dalmaso's one - he seems like a real pro so don't expect mine to go together as easily as his! Although comforting to see that even he had problems getting it together...

First instalment (I may not put stuff in chronological order as I sometimes do stuff in a stupid order).

(Apologies, the photos are all attached because I can't add links in my posts yet, and all photos are taken with my phone, so not amazing quality)

Internal photo etch preparation

So the green strawberry photo etch requires you to basically destroy the interior of the model. A lot of parts end up as skeletons and others are just chopped out entirely. I love the commitment to detail that greenstrawberry put into this, but sometimes the instructions aren't very clear (e.g. how much to cut away from various stock parts to make the PE fit), and actually when you see the amount of modification necessary to some parts you think a brand new cast resin part would be better.

Starting with the cockpit, you need to chop out most of the main floor (I used a Tamiya razor saw), plus the aisle between the seats and the step between the two (photo 1). At the same time I chopped out the screens from the consoles and stuck the pedals in. Which was silly, because they ended up falling off every five minutes from this point onwards. At this point I didn't have a photo etch bending tool (in fact, I didn't know such a thing existed), so the PE looks a bit rubbish, with rounded edges.

Then I did the back wall - using an electric drill (photo 2). no need to be too precise as none of this should be on display, hopefully.

Then the main console wall. I ended up taking so much plastic off this I was amazed it didn't just disintegrate. Used the drill plus a combination of razor saw and craft knife to cut out the vent and desk. Photo 3. AS you can see, I got carried away and stuck some of the PE bits on before I had it all ready. You will see this a lot. I'm not very patient.

Then I stuck the bits onto the back wall (photo 4). The eagle-eyed BSG geeks out there will notice I put the bottom screen on backwards. Cue attempting to pull it off without destroying the PE and then turning it inside out to re-attach. I also stuck the jumpseat on with the seatbelts. Which was not a clever idea, as that got in the way constantly until I finished putting the insides together. One thing to note is that the bottom of this back part has not been cut or extended at all, so should fit perfectly with the rest of the kit when I put the body together. Let's wait and see if that actually happens (spoiler: it does not. at all.)

On the reference pictures I found there is a big blue square light on the back wall which wasn't present in the PE kit, so I decided to do it myself, using a little drill bit and a sharp craft knife. It ended up looking...OK? Just about OK. Photo 5.

Next instalment I'll be putting the screens on...
 

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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Preparing the screens and instruments for lighting

Ok, so this is what the main ECO wall looks like with the PE on it. You'll notice lots of the panels are wonky, this is because I was using loctite superglue which sometimes sets instantly when you're putting two bits of brass together, so if you place the parts on there's no chance to reposition them and no way to remove them without wrecking them. After this I started to use Micro Kristal klear (just because I had it lying around, any PVA glue would presumably be the same).
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I also added the centre controls in the cockpit - the instructions for these were completely obscure to me so I have no idea if that's what they're supposed to look like.

Next I had to work out the best way to do the many screens and gauges. The greenstrawberry kit comes with colour paper screens and monotone acetate screens, and the stock kit comes with some decals. The paper screens aren't ideal as they don't let much light through and are flimsy. The acetate screens are a bit rubbish as they're only black and clear. The decals are OK but sometimes lack details and don't always fit the PE screens. So I ended up using a combination of all three in various places. I put the decals and paper screens onto clear 0.5mm plastic (sanded a bit for diffusion), with a bit of tissue paper glued on the back for the decals to diffuse the light a bit more. Where I used the acetate screens I used Tamiya clear red, blue and yellow to add some colour. I also used these paints to paint the back of the small holes which are supposed to look like backlit buttons.

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the top and bottom blue screens are decals, the instruments are all acetate, the bottom left screen is a paper one.

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You can see that with the back wall attached there's a giant gap in the corner. I couldn't see any way of closing this using the PE parts provided, it just doesn't fit. And for once I don't think I did anything majorly wrong to cause this. There's also a big gap under the corner of the desk which you'll see when I do a light leakage test later. It would have been simple to fix prior to attaching these parts. But not after.

I put a chunk of blue plastic from a bottle behind the square on the back wall as the hole is too big to be covered by the Tamiya clear paint.

I then started chucking aluminium foil all over the back to help give more even light through the screens, as well as on the adjacent hull wall, and the cockpit consoles.View media item 50272View media item 50274View media item 50275
At which point I realised I hadn't cut out the centre of this part for the light to come through to the screen that attaches on top in the middle.

Next instalment will be a break from photo etch - the new pilots
 

modelerdave

Well-Known Member
Nice work so far. I have a love/hate relationship with PE parts. Mostly hate during the build, and a bit of love when it's all done.

One tip with the monochrome acetate screens. I painted the backs with transparent paints to color them for my Viper Mk VII cockpit. It works really well. Got the tip from Plasmo's build on YouTube. I used the same technique to color all of the buttons. I covered the openings with Micro Krystal Klear and painted the buttoms from the underside.

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hEPVyY2l.jpg
 

Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Nice work so far. I have a love/hate relationship with PE parts. Mostly hate during the build, and a bit of love when it's all done.

One tip with the monochrome acetate screens. I painted the backs with transparent paints to color them for my Viper Mk VII cockpit. It works really well. Got the tip from Plasmo's build on YouTube. I used the same technique to color all of the buttons. I covered the openings with Micro Krystal Klear and painted the buttoms from the underside.

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Thanks! I actually just did this tonight on my Viper Mk2, looks much better than the standard. Also I found that you can use Pigma Micron pens to do the same thing, I find you can be a bit more precise with them than a paintbrush given that you need to kind of glob on the Tamiya clear paint to make it work. I used the same pens to do some of the non-lit buttons and other details in the Raptor. It didn't work as well as I had hoped, you can see they look a bit scrappy in the pictures above, but probably better than I would have been able to do with a brush.

I also have a Mk7 in the stash...Plasmo's one looks awesome.
 

Jimw100

Well-Known Member
OK, apologies for so many updates in such a short period, I just happen to have spare time and don't think I will in the near future.

The Crew

As I mentioned above, the pilots seem really small for 1/32 scale. The pilot from Moebius' own Viper Mk2 in the same scale is much bigger and much more detailed. Seems odd. Anyway, I found some 1/32 scale F16 pilots which came with a helmet that looked roughly along the same lines as a Raptor pilot, so I set about making them work.

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You can see how different in size the two are.

So obviously the F16 pilots didn't fit in the standard seats, so I bought a couple of ejector seats (A-10 seats I think). I cut out the "plinth" which the standard seats go on, as these new seats are so much taller they wouldn't fit otherwise. I also had to cut a portion off the side of each seat to get them in.

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Then the pilots. I had to chop one leg off each of them and reposition it to get them into the space available. Then I chopped the arms at the elbows to reposition them so they are touching the controls. I used mainly superglue with sodium bicarbonate to re-attach the limbs (love this as you can sand it pretty much straight away) and also Perfect Plastic Putty (love this less as you have to wait, and even then it's often a bit crumbly) and then my favourite Mr Surfacer 500 to smooth it out, using isopropyl alcohol on a cotton bud to smooth it out after an hour or so.

I also sanded down the lifejackets on the F16 pilots and then built them out a bit using plastic putty and Mr Surfacer to make them look a bit more like the sort of waistcoat things the raptor pilots have.

Then onto the helmets. Same process as the rest, and once I had a shape I liked I cut the outline of the glass visor with a blade. I also cut tiny bits of round plastic to put on the ears of the helmets like the Viper pilot has. There's probably a clever way to cut them out with a special tool but I did it with a knife, and it took ages.

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Finally I painted them with a mix of three citadel greens and Vallejo steel. About a million coats of this, and it took about a week to dry for some reason. I painted the whole helmet with Vallejo steel and then went over the visor with Tamiya smoke. Would have loved to do a clear visor with a face inside but...I don't have those skills.

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19narvik40

Sr Member
I took some comparison photos of the original resin Viper Mk II pilot, styrene Viper Mk VII pilot and the Raptor pilot I also took some shots of the helmets, and the Viper Mk VII pilot in the Raptor cockpit seat. I've decided not to have the pilots in the Raptor. Instead I am going to convert some 35th scale modern US figures into Colonial Marines and set them so it looks as though they are waiting to board the Raptor.
 

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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Instead I am going to convert some 35th scale modern US figures into Colonial Marines and set them so it looks as though they are waiting to board the Raptor.

That’s a cool idea, I was looking around for some figures to go in the Raptor’s passenger/ECO bay but all I could find in the right(ish) scale were WW2 figures. Where do you get the modern US figures?
 

GMan68

Active Member
The Viper mk II figure is ok, those others are terrible! I’ve never sculpted a figure in my life and I reckon I could do better haha!
Nice work modding that fighter pilot, coming along nicely!
 

19narvik40

Sr Member
That’s a cool idea, I was looking around for some figures to go in the Raptor’s passenger/ECO bay but all I could find in the right(ish) scale were WW2 figures. Where do you get the modern US figures?

In the show, the backseater was dressed in a flightsuit just like the pilot, may have been one ot the two pilots. As for the modern figures, unless you want to search for 1/32nd individual figures you can use almost any of the 1/35th US modern figures available from several companies. I had looked for police/SWAT figures but the only ones I could find where either 1/24th scale or not dress/equiped like the Colonial Marines. These are the three sets I am going to use, cherrypicking the most neutral poses to fit with my idea. I am also including a Google seach result for '1/35th scale modern US troop figures'. 1/35th scale modern US troop figures - Google Search

There will need to be some work done on the figures and you shouldn't need to attach all the accessories to them. I am trying to have the Beretta CX4 3D printed in 35th scale to arm my Marines as well.
 

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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
That's going to look ace I think. Could use FN P90s instead of the berettas, if they're easier to find/print? I think they used P90s early on in the show. The berettas are definitely cooler though.

I wish I could find some decent 1/35 pilots to replace my 1/32 ones. I suspect they would fit better - Im not convinced I will actually get the canopy on with my ones.

next update:

Installing the lights

I used a total of about 6 0402 SMD LEDs, 9 0603 SMDs, 7 3mm LEDs (incl two for the engines). I basically just chose whichever ones would fit in the required space. The two bulkheads between the cockpit and the ECO bay are wide enough for 0603 as are the spaces behind all of the monitors in the ECO bay. I managed to get away with a single 3mm wide angle diffused LED for the three cockpit consoles plus the buttons, by creating a little 1mm styrene cover for the bottom of the console piece and liberally using aluminium foil inside it. I didn't really realise that the grille on the outside of the console piece would let the light through so much until after I'd put it all together, so nothing I could do about that light leak. I don't think it looks too bad with the light coming through though.
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The ECO back wall was going to be too close to the back hull piece behind it so I had to use 0402 SMDs, which I just glued straight onto the wall.

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All the LEDs were white, the colour is either painted on using Tamiya clear or comes from the decals.

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The camera makes the main screens look a bit awful but in real life they aren't that bright, you can see the detail pretty well. I noticed at this point that I'd forgotten to light the two screens on the desk next to the joystick, so another hole drilled in the back and another 0603 got stuck in there.

I used Micro Kristal Klear to glue all of the LEDs in place, and I cut/sanded a few channels where I thought the hull would be too tight up against the wires as they run down the walls. There's loads of space to drill holes through the floor behind the bulkheads and the main consoles to run wires down under the floor, and there is tonnes of space under the floor to run wires and stick in other electronics/batteries etc. Even so I cut out a lot of the under-floor to give more space, as there is another bottom hull piece which goes over this to cover it up.

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This shows the space cut out on the left hand side to reveal the black sub floor of the hull piece. With my LiPO battery stuck under there to test whether it would fit. My grand plan was to have this bottom hull piece attached by magnets so I could pop it off in case I need to rewire or replace the battery at any point. This did not go so well (more later) but you can see here what I did:

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Four 5mmx3mm neodymium magnets epoxied into the hull piece with putty. Then a blob of paint on each one and the side hull pieces pressed on to see where to drill the holes for the top magnets. It worked really well. Until I stuck the side hull pieces together.

Finally I drilled a couple of holes into the back wall of the ECO bay and ran 2 3mm LEDs under the floor, up through two more holes and out the back to where the engines will be.

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Next instalment will be the proper electronics - actually wiring all this up and fitting battery/usb charger etc. All of the shots above are done with an external test battery.
 

19narvik40

Sr Member
That's going to look ace I think. Could use FN P90s instead of the berettas, if they're easier to find/print? I think they used P90s early on in the show. The berettas are definitely cooler though.

I wish I could find some decent 1/35 pilots to replace my 1/32 ones. I suspect they would fit better - Im not convinced I will actually get the canopy on with my ones.

They used quite a few different firearms throughout the series, including the P90. You see a couple in the S1 episode Bastille Day. There are P90 models available in styrene, resin and 3D printing. The CX4 appears most often and appears to be the standard long arm for the Marines.

As for 35th scale pilots, the only ones you will find are helocopter pilots, with a little jiggery-pokery you could fix one up pretty close.
 

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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
The Electronics

OK, first things first: I don't know anything about electronics. If anyone can offer advice on how to do things better then it would be much appreciated for my next build!

So I had a look at the options for including an internal battery, switch and some sort of charging capability and I came up with the Adafruit micro-USB Lipo charger, a 3.7v 250mah rechargeable battery and a little toggle switch. It should be fairly simple but I actually blew up the first Adafruit board by accidentally shorting it with crocodile clips whilst testing...

The front of the raptor has a panel that covers the join between the two haves of the hull, and behind this panel there's a big space inside so I decided to put the USB port and switch behind this panel, and then attach the panel on top with magnets.

I needed to cut out a few holes so I just snipped away with the Tamiya plastic cutters until I had a hole that a USB cable would fit through, and then I drilled one hole for the switch and one on the other side which would allow me to see the red/green charging lights on the charging board.

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I used a SPDT switch (I think) as I couldn't find a small enough SPST one, so I just used two of the pins and it seems to work fine. I wired it into the -ve wire and then stuck everything in place with epoxy. Except it didn't stick for some reason, so I ripped it out and used superglue, which worked fine.

I gathered together all of the +ve wires from the spaghetti underneath the cabin and all of the -ve wires and began to solder them together (in two separate groups obviously!). I found the magnet wires to be most difficult to do, as I was very wary of damaging the wire whilst scraping off the enamel coating but got there in the end. I used a lot of heat shrink tubing, which I shrank down using the side of my soldering iron, as I don't have a heat gun, or the desire to buy yet another tool to take up space.

Some of the +ve have resistors on them (not all) as I understand most LEDs are rated only up to 3v as standard. The place I bought them from had 4.8v as the lowest option for pre-wired resistors so for the 0402 less I ordered them with resistors, and also some of my 3mm LEDs were from a different kit and already had resistors on them. I've no idea if resistors are a real necessity when there is only about .7v "excess" voltage, but I ran all of these in tests on a 4.5v source for a while and none blew up. I didn't put resistors on the 0603s because I can't solder that magnet wire very well. I thought soldering the legs of the resistors together would be easier than adding wires and then soldering them, but I was probably wrong about that - it wasn't very easy and didn't work that well. I did a bit of research and got some better tips for my soldering iron and some flux, which seems to help a bit sometimes with getting the solder to stick where you want it. Also someone bought me one of those "third hand" things with a light and crocodile clips to hold bits whilst soldering, which sometimes makes what was a seemingly impossible task only very tricky. For me at least.

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So eventually I got the wire spaghetti down to an acceptable volume that it would fit in the space.

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Neat and tidy? No. The brown tape is a fabric tape with zinc oxide adhesive which I used because normally it sticks to things really well for a long time (unlike duck tape which comes off after a while) and my electrical tape was just awful. Anyway, none of these worked. I should have bought some of those little plastic cable tidies with adhesive backs. Too late.

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So there it is with everything fitting in. I tested the charger and it seemed to work ok, and then I switched it all on and left it somewhere where it wouldn't burn the whole house down if it set on fire. Even with only 250mah running all of those LEDs it went for nearly an hour before the LEDs were too dim, which Is good enough for me. As mentioned before, I see this as a toy rather than a model for display (lucky as it isn't going to be display worthy!) and it will only be switched on for a few minutes at a time.

Now a bit later (about 2 minutes after I spent hours getting the hull pieces together, with much epoxy and superglue and filling and sanding and clamps and vises) I realised that I originally planned to light up the tips of the upper wings (front and back) like Lou Dalmaso has done with his. And then I watched his video and thought maybe I want to light up the lower wing tips too. Except that all the wiring is stuck in the hull and there’s no way I'm smashing it open to get to it. So I'm thinking about putting in another battery underneath the cabin floor (there is about enough space) and installing either four (or eight, if I do the lower wings too) red and green 0603 SMDs. They would be routed out the back underneath the engines and into the fins. The wires would be external for 10mm or so but I don't think it would look to awful as those magnet wires are really thin and if I glue them down it will just be another bit of detail. The only problem is I can't find blinking red or green 0603s. I think from watching BSG that the left side has red lights and the right side has green. I want them to be blinking like the strobes on modern aircraft i.e. on for a short time then off for a longer time, as I think it looks cooler than constantly on. If I do the lower wings the wires for those LEDs will need to be run externally for the last part as the "step" area of the wing is not hollow, and the SMDs would be surface mounted directly on the front and back sides of the step piece.

The other option is to use blinking 3mm LEDs which I can find, and run fibre optics. This would have the advantage of the LEDs of the same colour blinking simultaneously, but would mean there's no real way to do the lower wing ones as running fibre externally will look rubbish.

I also found an LED "flasher" chip which I could maybe use with the 0603 LEDs, but have yet to receive this to see if it works.

Let me know if anyone has any other ideas (other than "plan it properly next time") :)
 
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