My 1/2700 Star Destroyer


Sr Member
Finally started working on this one recently, but have been so busy with trying to get it finished for the IPMS UK Scale Modelworld show in Telford at the start of November, I've not had time to post as I go so here it all is!

Lighting is provided by the module I designed earlier in the year - this drives the engines with some flicker and runs some animated power up/down sequences. It also provides static lighting for the windows (Full details here )



I started with the drilling of all the holes for the fibre optics. As mentioned elsewhere but worth repeating here, I made myself a low RPM "Frankendrill" from a tiny geared 12v motor and chuck assembly from eBay for just a few pounds.

It's not a quality combination - the hole in the chuck is slightly larger than the motor shaft and the jaws of the chuck do not centre well when holding a very fine drill, but the end result is usable and even after several hundred holes I didn't manage to break a single bit!



To aid centring the rather wobbly bit, I pressed the point of a scriber into the plastic at each location. This allows the drill to quickly register in place and then some gentle downward pressure drills the hole in a couple of seconds with no risk of the plastic melting under too much friction. I initially started off running at the rated 12v but found the motor itself got quite hot. Reducing the voltage to 7.5v (I'm using a selectable voltage wall adaptor) maintains enough speed but runs nice and cool.

One minor problem I discovered was that the packet of 0.5mm bits I bought are actually more like 0.45mm... just a fraction too small to push the fibre into so I have had to go round each one and widen it with a 0.5mm drill. Thankfully this is much easier to do by hand than the initial drilling.

All the detail pieces were drilled before gluing to the superstructure - the solid area on the superstructure behind each hole was removed with a regular Dremel and milling cutter. It doesn't matter how messy this is as you can't see it. Through carelessness I did manage to let the Dremel chuck briefly touch some of the surface detail near where I was working, and it quickly melted that away :(

Power for the lighting is a 3xAA battery box. I needed some way of accessing the box inside the model once fully assembled, so decided on using the small rectangular top piece towards the front of the upper superstructure as a removable hatch, held in place with magnets. Using my recently purchased 3D printer, I knocked up some attachment brackets for the magnets. I'm using 3mm x 1mm neodiddlyum ones - one magnet is glued into a recess in the bracket, and one magnet is glued onto the hatch cover such that the magnets align when the hatch is in place. The brackets were then glued to the superstructure.

Battery Hatch Creation




I also 3D printed a battery box holder that is attached to the bottom of the superstructure. This holds the battery box at an angle so that it fits below the hatch opening, but allows it to be easily slid out for a battery change! I've found the PLA I'm printing with does not glue well - liquid cement doesn't have much effect, 2-part epoxy just peels off once set, CA doesn't seem to form a great bond either so I included a notch on each side of the battery holder that a bit of Plastruct I-beam sits over. The I-beam was glued to the bottom of the SD, and the battery holder then slides along it, but won't come out. A good blob of epoxy then stops it sliding too, and it's secure!

3D Printed battery Box Holder



All the sidewall details pieces were then glued in place and the conning tower partly assembled before painting started. I opted for paint then fibre because I wasn't convinced I could get in and clip oversized fibres to length neatly in some of the more recessed areas once painting was complete.

Painting was a bit of a chore - I initially primed with grey acrylic then started airbrushing a top coat of slightly off-white I had to hand. It was a new bottle, but my airbrush is just too fine for this size of work - by the time I'd finally got an even layer on just the top of the hull, I'd already used half the jar of paint. And I wasn't really taken with it anyway, it was looking decidedly creamy. So I decided to fall back to re-priming with white out of a spray can. This covered ok, but ended up with quite a coarse finish - not sure if it was insufficient shaking, atmospherics, or just a duff can, but this then lead to some rather frantic scrubbing back down with Scotchbrite and abrasive grit. I didn't want to use sandpaper as that would take all the fine raised detail off first.

Finally ended up with something passable, but far from ideal for the next stage which was to coat everything in Flory Models “Concrete” wash. This is a water soluble weathering system containing a very fine clay pigment. You just slap it on all over, allow to dry thoroughly and then start wiping off the majority with a damp rag. The result is the wash remains in all the nooks and crannies and adds a great deal of depth to the finish. A slight problem was that because the primer coat came out so rough, the wash also ended up trapped in the surface texture. This had the effect of staining the white rather than coming off completely, but the effect was not entirely unwanted - the whole Destroyer is now the delicate share of grey I wanted at the start.

This was pretty much all the painting I had time for. Some of the more recessed areas had the wash worked over with a damp brush just to smooth it out a bit more, but that was it.

Wash Applied And Left To Dry



Excess Wash removed




On to the fibre optics! Because I wasn't trimming after installation, I needed a way to stop each fibre pulling through before I had a chance to glue it in. I resorted to heating the end of each one ever so gently next to a candle flame. This causes the end of the fibre to mushroom out slightly wider than the normal diameter and forms an effective plug. It also has the bonus effect of creating a very smooth lens which gives a much more even light distribution than a roughly chopped end. In hindsight I would have been better with 0.25mm fibre as this would then have mushroomed up to nearer 0.5mm rather than the 0.75mm I ended up with but that's life. They still don't look too bad. Each fibre or small group of fibres was secured in place with silicone "glue" - basically regular silicone sealant supplied in a small tube. This was relatively easy to apply and does not affect the fibre like CA can, but can take several hours to cure so is best done once you're finished for the day and left overnight.

I started off with 60m of fibre - this got me through the lower hull, the conning tower, top of the mid-section, and started on the upper hull but it was clear this was nowhere near enough, so another 50m was acquired.

Initial Fibre Installation





Some small bits of styrene tube were stuck on the underside of the top piece to help feed some of the fibres away from the opening where the battery box will be accessed. All the fibres were bunched together into groups that fitted inside a bit of 5mm inside diameter styrene tube and given a final trim to the same length. Inserting the fibres into one end of the tube and a 5mm LED in the other makes the perfect connection, both optically and mechanically. The fibres were daubed in a bit of clear 5min epoxy before being slid into the tube for a permanent connection.

Fibre Guide Tubes



Battery Box Amongst Fibres



The engine LEDs were epoxied into place and all the wiring looms connected to the controller board. It was then just a case of mashing everything down inside the fuselage and attaching the top half to the bottom half.

Ready For Final Assembly




The 2 stand pieces were painted flat black and the finish kit was photographed on a table draped with some black fabric. The first 4 pictures are under flat interior lighting on a second or so exposure which makes the windows appear brighter than they actually are. The last 2 pictures were lit using just a small LED torch from just the front to emulate the point-source light of a distant sun. These were considerably longer exposures hence the windows look even brighter. A change in white balance from the torch light also makes the windows look much warmer.







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