More fun with fiberoptics - lighting a Star Destroyer - FIN!

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by rayra, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    building a kit for a boardmember, gonna miss this one.

    Just a quick test -

    [​IMG]

    Fiber is jutting out a bit, will be trimmed flush after painting.

    Just the sides of the main hull, this forward portion, and the bridge is over 200 holes / strands so far, guessing about another 180-200 to go.

    Replacing the stock kit micro-bulbs with a couple of white LEDs, undervolted, and lighting the engines with some superbright blue LEDs.
    Rigging the engine backplane to slide out with the PCB, battery and LEDs all mounted on it, for easy servicing.

    Coincidentally, all the lighting fiber is being routed to the 'reactor' bulge on the underside of the SD. Using the partial shell of a ping-pong ball to hold the fiber bundles / orient them towards the lights.

    Several weeks off and on of work remaining, will post some progress pics [​IMG]
     
    micdavis likes this.
  2. Biskit

    Biskit New Member

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    </SPAN><TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>
    rayra wrote:
    <HR></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>
    building a kit for a boardmember, gonna miss this one.

    Just a quick test -

    [​IMG]

    Fiber is jutting out a bit, will be trimmed flush after painting.

    Just the sides of the main hull, this forward portion, and the bridge is over 200 holes / strands so far, guessing about another 180-200 to go.

    Replacing the stock kit micro-bulbs with a couple of white LEDs, undervolted, and lighting the engines with some superbright blue LEDs.
    Rigging the engine backplane to slide out with the PCB, battery and LEDs all mounted on it, for easy servicing.

    Coincidentally, all the lighting fiber is being routed to the 'reactor' bulge on the underside of the SD. Using the partial shell of a ping-pong ball to hold the fiber bundles / orient them towards the lights.

    Several weeks off and on of work remaining, will post some progress pics [​IMG]


    </TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE><SPAN CLASS=$row_color>

    That's looking great!!!

    Tom
     
  3. hydin

    hydin Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    is that the kb kit? or the whatever kit thats on clearance at a lot of kb's? ive got one in my laundry room on an upper shelf.

    after seeing that, i might take a whack at it. it looks cooler than i thought it would.

    great job man!

    chris
     
  4. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    (posted it just to tease you, Biskit [​IMG])

    yeah, the AMT/Ertl kit. They show up on ebay occasionally, too.
    Comes with ~180' of ultra-fine fiber - this stuff is somewhere around .008" in dia. The drill bits needed are ridiculously tiny, and quite fragile.

    I'll have some pics shortly of the engine/electronics mounting kludge I've whipped up - epoxy, brass tubes, sculpy,...
     
  5. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    here's the fugly mounting setup -

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The PCB, battery, LEDs will be mounted between the two brass tubes mounted to the engine panel.

    Used sculpy to surround and fix the other set of brass tubes, which the engine panel tubes slide over.
    It's messy and ugly, but it works real nice, and can't be seen from outside the ship.
     
  6. Robert McLain

    Robert McLain Sr Member

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    Lookin great! [​IMG] Definately keep us posted.


    Robert
     
  7. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    hah, good timing, was just about to post this - last night I applied and epoxied the fiber in the lower hull -

    [​IMG]

    One fiber technique I stumbled across while doing this -

    When I did the TIE fighter bases, I was sticking the fiber an inch or so through the holes, and temp-taping the protruding strand in place, while I glued the backside. Occasionaly troublesome / annoying, as the strands would simeties slip out of place while moving things around.

    On the Star Destroyer kit, the supplied fiber was in a 3' length, and while starting to insert the strands, I at one point had them draped half through the hole, half out. Light bulb went on (over my head), and I threaded the loose end through the next hole in line. Basically stitching the holes with fiber. Eliminated the loose ends / taping issue, strands are nice and snug with all the loose ends trailing into the inner side. Relatively easy matter to wire up the 120+ holes in the lower hull, gather the loose ends, and epoxy everything in one pass.

    Just have the upper hull superstructure drilling to do, production got held up a bit by my breaking all the microscopic drill bits I had on hand. Picked up another dozen on Monday, but it will be next Mon-Tues before I can get back to work on this. It's gonna be cool.

    And another random thought / technique -
    Been reading up lately about scale painting techniques, looking for anything new, and refreshing on paint lightening (for 'scale effect') and looking for any new techniques.
    Especially digging into 'Aztec-ing' (usually applied to Star Trek Federation starships to simulate the myriad tiny body panels.
    Picked up some aluminum mesh for another project (see my new Dremel / Home Renovation thread in the OT forum), and while dumping my purchases on my hobby bench I laid the mesh next to the Star Destroyer. Gave me the idea to use the mesh as a template/mask. I'm thinking if I airbrush through it with a subtly different shade of paint, I can achieve some fine detailing in the SD paint job. Going to have to try some tests. [​IMG]
     
  8. TridCloudwalker

    TridCloudwalker Sr Member

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    One painting technique you may want to try is one I did on my Star Destroyer (never finished it though). I put on a base coat of flat grey. Before it dries i stand a goot two or three feet over the kit and let a mist of black and white settle onto it (darker and ligher shades of grey work too). What you end up with is a richly colored and texured surface. Then go making tape crazy, creating smallish panels, and using the same misting technique, lay down some slightly different shades of grey. After the weathering, the finished result should be quite pleasing...especially with the FOs.
     
  9. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Seen another very similar technique, using an L-shaped mask- blow the different shades at the inner corner of the 'L' and keep randomly moving the mask. Think I saw it on someone's scratchbuilt Mon Cal cruiser.
     
  10. Great_Bizarro

    Great_Bizarro Sr Member

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    Back in the 60's we used lace on "chopper" gas tanks to make a custom job. Paint a base coat let it dry, hit it with a light coat of clear and set the "lace" or "screen" in it and let it dry, then spray the foreground color and let it almost dry then pull the lace off. You should practice on some scrap to see how much clear you need to use to hold the material in place. I would try the screening used in tents as it is flexible. This needs to be done on something that is not a compound curve, or you will have to cut the screen into sections.

    On the fiber optics, you can get a neat effect by heating the end lightly with a candle(it is flammable to an extent so don't torch the house) and then press it straight onto a file. It will create a cross hair effect on the fiber and give a different effect.
     
  11. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    I've been a baaad boy. Let my enthhusiasm for a Halloween prop-costume get in the way, AND out of town twice to work on a vacation home.
    Got back tonight, kits/workbench out there waiting for me [​IMG]
    I should have some new shots very very soon (Engine lighting [​IMG]).
     
  12. TallDarkandDisfigured

    TallDarkandDisfigured Sr Member

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    I can't wiat to see the engine lighting!! Are you going to use a pale blue LED at the ends of your copper tubes Or a clear LED with some sort of color screening?
     
  13. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    super-bright blue. soldering iron is heating up riiight now. [​IMG]
    Using ALCLAD chrome to airbrush the inside of the engine bells. Ought to give a nice actinic eye-hurting blast of light, a little like this:

    [​IMG]


    EDIT - and the brass tubes are just there as a mechanical means of mounting the engine backplane and electronics, that will let those parts be removeable later. Not directly involved in the lighting.
     
  14. TallDarkandDisfigured

    TallDarkandDisfigured Sr Member

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    Very cool idea!! I think it should look awesome. I've been scoping eBay for a good snipe on one of these.
     
  15. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Another breadboard-test.
    too stron a resistor on the LEDs, have to pick up a slightly weaker one. Plus the wires are crimped on the switch, not soldered.
    The black gloss in the engine bells is there as a basecoat for alclad chrome. Once engines painted and lit, will plug'em up with tissue while I spray the rest of the kit.
    I also expect much more light scatter from the LEDs on the inside of the cones, once the LEDs are mounted correctly. I have the panel-mount LED ring collars embedded in the throat of the engine cones, and the LED collar press-fits into that. The LEDs will be easily replaceable.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. TallDarkandDisfigured

    TallDarkandDisfigured Sr Member

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    So you're gonna make those brighter? Man that's gonna be sweet!
    One otehr question for ya. When you paint the kit will it affect the fiber optics? Can't they get filled in by the paint?
     
  17. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    can't make it out in my pics, but what you do is leave the fiber sticking out like beard stubble, paint everything, then go back and trim the fiber flush without marring the paintjob. Pain In The *. But it looks coool.
     
  18. TallDarkandDisfigured

    TallDarkandDisfigured Sr Member

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    Ahh cool. I didn't notice it in the pics. I can't wait to tackle this.
     
  19. Biskit

    Biskit New Member

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    Those engines look awesome!!! Can't wait!

    Tom
     
  20. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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  21. TallDarkandDisfigured

    TallDarkandDisfigured Sr Member

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    Lookin sweet Rich!! What is the cost of the LEDs? And did the fiber optics included cover the whole ship or did you need to use extra?
     
  22. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    have a local non-Shack mega-electronics store, they have them loose / in bulk, only about $1.75ea.
    As for fiber, the supplied segment had a surprisingly huge number of strands, something like 50. I only used ~20' of thicker fiber to light the sidewalls of the main docking bay. The supplied bay was way too shallow, so I scratchbuilt taller sides and some inner detailing, then bored the fiber in from the top and at an outward / downward angle. The light that comes out of them shines on the side walls of the docking bay like key lighting [​IMG]

    It's the central box-structure -

    [​IMG]
     
  23. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    Rich, you are phenomenal!
     
  24. M-Pire

    M-Pire Well-Known Member

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    I second that! Wonderful work, Rich.

    cdw
     
  25. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    thanks, both of you.
    cobbling together the engines / lighting module now. The bridge/upper hull, and the lower hull/sidewalls are two seperate lighting layouts, with the fiber bundles gathered to central points.
    The engine section will have two bright white LEDs on projecting sprue 'wands' that will aim the light right at the fiber ends in both lower and upper setups. Using ping-pong ball halves as light-traps / reflectors / fiber mounting points.
    Have strung the bridge and upper decks, except for two flanking superstructure portions whose lack of fit is giving me a fit.
    Should have more pics to post on Sunday.
     
  26. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    got hung up on a wiring mystery, more on that later.

    Here's some poor shots of the lower hull lighting (too late and too tired to dick with setting room lighting)

    The first is the lower hull sidewall, bow towards the left -

    [​IMG]


    The second is a shot of the hangar bay. very rough. the fiber is looped right now, will be cut flush later, so the series of lights will be much more regularly spaced. and once painting is done, the light bleed-through will be gone -

    [​IMG]


    Last is a shot looking down into the lower hull. Used half a pingpong ball (as mentioned earlier, the inner face is painted with ALCLAD chrome, both for light blocking and reflectivity) as both a mounting for the fiber, a light concentrator, and a light blocker. The white LED is hanging loose, will be attached to a projecting sprue rod later so that it's rigid and aimed perfectly at the fiber ends. There'll be an identical configuration for the upper hull as well.

    [​IMG]


    The light is too blue-white, I'll probably up the resistor to dim it down a bit - windows that tiny shouldn't be so bright.

    Anyway, more later...
     
  27. wakeboardjedi

    wakeboardjedi Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    GOD! that thing is going to be soooo bad! I'm working on mine right now using your blueprint. I hope it turns out half as good.

    Nice work.
     
  28. natty15d

    natty15d Well-Known Member

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    That is stunning!!!

    Youve given me some great ideas for a few models ive got kicking about.

    This is one of the best tutorials ive ever seen on here.

    Thanks for sharing
    Nathan [​IMG]
     
  29. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    you're welcome. [​IMG]


    another progress shot, the upper decks, Star Destroyer's having a 'Bad Hair Day' -

    [​IMG]


    That's ~50 'windows' in the bridge, and ~140 in the two main decks (not counting the forecastle or the flanking deck structures).
     
  30. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Some words on wiring - Tip O' the Propeller Beanie to Hyperdyne, he helped me correct a glitch.
    I'm using a submini SPDT (Single Pole, Double Throw) switch, throw the switch one way, one circuit operates, flip it the other, another does.
    What I wanted was window lights in one position, and window lights AND engines in the other.
    I basically have two separate light circuits, and the engine circuit jumpered to also feed the window circuit. I'd thought that Resistors were one-directional, but both circuits would light in either switch position. Went to the 'Electron Oracle' ™ (Hyperdyne) with my dilemma, and he edumacated me. Needed to use a Diode to bridge the circuits. Diodes ARE one-directional.

    SO, now we have this (note the sw in the lower left) -

    Camera 1 -

    [​IMG]


    Camera 2 -

    [​IMG]


    Not totally happy with the switch placement, hope to hide it better with a bit of added detailing and paint. It's the only spot on the removable engine module that worked with the way I laid things out.


    And about that removable module - as noted earlier, I used nesting brass tubes, the inner set mounted in the hull, the engine set sliding over them, to hold the engine module in place, and keep it easily removable.
    Problem was after a bit of PCB & epoxy work, my engine tubes were pulled a wee bit out of alignment. You could get the module mounted easily, but getting it off was a bitch, and THAT was with the hull open and being able to touch the interior. With nothing but the engine bells to pull on later, no way.
    So I made several longitudinal cuts on the inner tubes, turning them into semi-rigid springy fingers, instead of a solid tube.
    Now, the module mounts easy, and comes off almost as easy, but is still fairly snug.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  31. Darth Larch

    Darth Larch New Member

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    Man! This is an amazing thread, thanks for showing the details. I've thought about trying to build one of these fiber optic models, but I have such poor modeling skillz...

    BTW, am I imagining things, or wasn't there a fiber optic Death Star model too? I've been looking on ebay but can't find one. I swear I saw one once upon a time.
     
  32. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    yah, there was one, don't see them often. They also released a version sans fiber (which I have). Get one of those instead, wait for the after-XMas sales to score a deeply discounted fiber-optic XMas tree, and scrounge the fiber from it - as long as the price works out to less than $.01 / strand inch, you're beating the cost of packaged fiber from a hobby store.
    And don't forget there are several / scores of fiber strands in each bundle.
    I can't wait for Dec 26th. [​IMG]
     
  33. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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  34. Rick Hanson

    Rick Hanson Sr Member

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    You've inspired me, Rich. [​IMG] I just grabbed an AMT Death Star (non-fiber, the snap kit) for cheap on ebay, and I'm going to try filling it chock full of some of that wholesome fiber goodness.

    I did a few of those Trek fiber kits (Ent-D, DS9, and one other methinks) a few years back...here's hoping my hands are still as steady as they were then. [​IMG]

    -Rick
     
  35. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    great news, Rick, I've got that dreadful Death Pinata kit in the closet, as well. 8 lovely sphere sections just ready and waiting to assemble incorrectly. [​IMG]


    Here's another (mini-)progress pic, finally started gluing and snipping some of the upper decks fibers. They are cut ~1/16" from the surface, Almost([​IMG]) all of the uneven alignment is due to the bends in the fiber during gluing. Moot when trimmed flush.

    [​IMG]
     
  36. Biskit

    Biskit New Member

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    This model is looking AWESOME!!! Just great work and fantastic attention to detail!

    Tom
     
  37. greatwazoo42

    greatwazoo42 Sr Member

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    Ho-Ree-Clap!!! Dude, when I hit the lottery you're hired!!!
     
  38. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Got some more work done today.
    Having trouble using epoxy on the fibers inside the upper decks. I cut an access hole through the main fuselage (the kit has this solid) both to gain access for lighting to those decks and to make more room for the lighting hardware.
    I left the hole about 1/2" smaller than the footprint of the upper structures. Problem with this after drilling / running fiber - the place where glue needs to go is too recessesed / almost inaccessible. Probably will wind up reverting to white glue as I can pour that in and slosh it around without affecting the fiber. Too much epoxy or gap-filling cyanoacrylate, and the extremely thin fiber will just MELT.

    Stuck waiting for the postman to bring some more fiber, too. Didn't have enough for the two flanking upper decks, so kinda stuck waiting for the fiber, can't proceed to close the hull or paint, etc.

    Am able to work on the base though. [​IMG]
    The kit comes with a cheesy clear 'scaffold' thingy made from flat pieces. Fugly.

    Thought of the asteroid belt scenes in ESB, and decided to go with some sort of 'rock' base.
    Since the lighting is all self contained, still wanted some sort of non-attached 'cradle' to hold the SD up, that way the owner can whoosh! it around the room ([​IMG]).
    Probably accomplish this with some 1/4" clear rods projecting up from the rock base. 3 fingers / prongs for the SD to rest on.

    On to the 'rock'. Should of used a pumice or lava landscaping rock, but too heavy, expensive to ship. Sharp. and a pain in the * to cut flat as a base.
    Opted to use bondo.
    Had done something similar long ago with plaster.
    Trick is to create your 'blob' of a base, then impregnate its surface with dirt clods to create the indentations. Once cured, you flush off the dirt, and you have a cratered surface.

    Was working on my PVC chainmail today, messing around with the digicam, so I photo-documented the whole mess. Enjoy.


    First we start off with our good friends, polyvinyl mixing boards and tools, and bondo. I've taped the boards together, and to the counter so I don't have to mess with holding things down as I mix.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Garden variety planter dirt clods.
    [​IMG]

    Roughed out the shape I wanted, SD for comparison.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Glorp. Always a mess, sticks to everything. That's WAY too much catalyst (and I was ALREADY worried about fooling with the camera while working on this). Mixed.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Applying the clods, then a covering of dirt. Press and pat and using a ping pong ball to force larger 'crater' indentations.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Finally, all that, to wind up with fake dog vomit. Surprised to find that a bunch of my 'clods' were actually dirt-covered rocks. Dug a few out.
    [​IMG]


    Can't really make out the pits in the photo. Tomorrow after things are dry, I'll shoot some primer and browns on it, and start working up a nice 'carbonaceous chondrite' -looking asteroid.
     
  39. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    welcome to the asteroid surface...

    [​IMG]


    That's just red oxide primer, painting / airbrushing still to come.
     
  40. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    the new fiber is here! the new fiber is here!

    [​IMG]



    eh. time for the final push on this project, right after the holidays.



    EDIT - Chaucer, I PM'd you some time ago, never heard anything back?
     
  41. Guardian

    Guardian New Member

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    could you e-mail me the wiring diagram , I have 3 SD's that need to glow [​IMG] what size drill bit do you use for the hole ? electric or hand drill ? The Fiber Optic Store .com is sweet thanks for posting the link. [​IMG]
     
  42. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Here's a post I made in another thread in the Prop forum -

    </SPAN><TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>Quote:<HR></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>
    just recently got my small shipment from thefiberopticstore.com -

    Got 5' of the 64-strand (.264mm), in a timely fashion, with good communication.

    Added bennie, they threw in a nice sample pack -

    [​IMG]

    Wiped out by the camera flash, top to bottom -
    32-strand (.50mm)
    64-strand (.264mm)
    3mm
    2mm
    1.5mm
    1mm
    .75mm
    .50mm
    .25mm
    </TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE><SPAN CLASS=$row_color>


    The fiber with the SD kit is a quarter-millimeter in size (.264mm), that's about 1/96th of an inch. My hobby store had a couple-score sizes of micro-bits, and I chose several from the smallest end of the selection. Avoid the micro-bit kits from the chain-hobby stores, if you can, they are vastly overpriced, and only contain 1 of each size. I managed to break 6 of these bits while hand-drilling ~400 holes.

    The kit comes with a battery powered drill, but its plastic-mounted bit broke very early on, and I couldn't jury-rig a new bit onto motor. So I used a micro-drill 'pin vise' -

    [​IMG]


    As for a wiring diagram, well, the inital diagram was scribbled out, and wound up wrong in the first place. I'll have to actually transcribe the final diagram and psot it shortly.
     
  43. Rick Hanson

    Rick Hanson Sr Member

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    Thanks for all the great info on this stuff, Rich! I'm really diggin' the asteroid base (gonna have to mooch that technique someday LOL) and I've eagerly absorbed the fiber info you've provided for us. I've always enjoyed lighting models, but it's been such a long time since I've actually done it...that Death Piñata is still staring me down from under my desk. [​IMG]
     
  44. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    'That's no moon... it's your next modeling project!' [​IMG]

    I'll be airbrushing the base and putting fiber in the last bits of hull, tomorrow, so stay tuned for more updates.

    I'll get the wiring parts list and diagram worked up tomorrow, as well.
     
  45. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Here's a few more goodies -

    Using a bit of bent sprue to place the LEDs right on-target for the fiber -

    [​IMG]


    Did a bunch of painting on the asteroid base, 4 different blended shades, a tan wash, a black wash, and it all wound up being far too subtle. You can still make out a bit -

    [​IMG]


    Hangar bay lights. Poor pic. Fiber still needs to be trimmed flush after painting, so the llight 'glow' is a bit askew -

    [​IMG]


    The upper decks' fiber installs were too recessed to reach with epoxy (mentioned earlier). Settled for using Elmer's. Epoxy doesn't 'flow' well enough, and this much cyanoacrylate would have melted the fibers -

    [​IMG]


    The fit of the Bridge and Neck model parts was pretty poor, and at this scale, trying to fill with putty from the exterior would have obliterated a lot of surface detail.
    Elected to use gap-filling krazy glue, applied from the inner surface, and worked a bit in the gaps with a toothpick tip. That and a quick wipedown with a Q-Tip to pick up the extra seepage from the outside, and painting should hide the rest.

    [​IMG]


    And a peek inside the neck. Had to be real careful not to spill the krazy glue on the ultra-fine fibers.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  46. metalboy

    metalboy New Member

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    Very impressive job you did there. Now that I have one I'm even more motivated to make mines.
     
  47. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    watch a couple kits on ebay go to extreme price levels, ~$50ea. Ouch.

    Got the last bit of upper hull structures done today. There's two flanking pieces that get added to the upper deck structure, and are wedged between it and the longitudinal gun banks. After fitting the uppers on with clamps, and running fiber, I discovered it had become a VERY tight fit to get the flank pieces in where they belonged. A little judicious trimming and fiber trimming, and prying got them in - NOT FOR NEXT TIME - fiber and mount these flanking pieces BEFORE running fiber in the rest of the upper hull.

    Got a nice oval wood base fitted for the asteroid as well.

    I expect to glue the hulls together and start painting in the nex 1-2 days. [​IMG]
     
  48. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    bunch of progress last night and today.

    Got all the upper hull deck sections glued in place, and all the upper fiber tied together and glued, as well.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    And a bunch of cut sand paint sand paint sand paint sand paint for the pedestal under the 'asteroid' -

    [​IMG]


    Got the upper and lower hull glued together, and did a great light test. Still need to putty some of the heinous gaps in the superstructure of this kit. And do some experiments on the base to find the proper height for the clear rods.

    [​IMG]


    EDIT - and I finally documented the wiring diagram (scribbled in pencil). I'll post a digital version right away.
     
  49. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Just a pure insignia white basecoat. Lots of painting to go. Looking to see what seams and flaws have to be corrected or need add'l putty.

    [​IMG]
     
  50. rayra

    rayra Well-Known Member

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    Some heavy-handed 'pre-shadowing' -

    [​IMG]


    And Biskit! Turn Back!
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