Khyros

Lighting and Repaints

115 posts in this topic

Amazing work!

I had been following Millenium Falsehood's fully lit CR90 thread, but it hasn't been updated in a long time and I'm not sure it even survived the removal and reemergence of the painting section, but your detailed instructions on how you did the Gozanti has almost given me the confidence to try my hand on the Raider.  I'm especially intrigued by the rechargeable battery and recharging cord and of course the fiber optics.  Plus, I never knew there were side glow fiber optics like on your Falcon!  That's awesome.  Would a side glow fiber optic work for numerous small windows like on the side of a Star Destroyer in order to avoid running dozens of individual wires?  I'm thinking still drilling the holes, and just running the FO behind all of them.

 

The biggest thing holding me back from starting the Raider is conceptualizing the giant central engine.  One big LED, or a group of them inside some cone deep in the engine, or a ring of smaller ones hidden by the exhaust and reflecting off a chromed/silvered interior cone?

 

Enough about that, my problem.  Let me just say again you did a great job on all your ships and thank you for sharing.

 

Thanks man.  I've been stumped by the giant engine myself.  At one point I was thinking about putting in a small propeller to break up the large area.  I'll have to see how that looks before I decide on what I'm doing.

 

I would still recommend using end glow FOs, the side glows aren't very consistent  and even in the 6'' total length that the Falcon has (double illuminated I might add) you can see quite a bit of fade in the middle.  

 

If you're interested about the CR-90, I detailed out my CR-90 progress back when they killed the painting forum, so you can find it in this thread here:

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/183353-rookie-repaints-by-khyros/?hl=rookie+repaints

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Maybe something similar to the CR90 engines would look best?  Something other than just a flat featureless diffuser?  Something that might look OK unlit too.

 

I see what you mean about the Falcon fading.  I thought maybe you just went with lower power on the LEDs for increased battery life or something.  Oh well.

 

Thanks for the link on the CR90. I think I'll get my feet wet with the Raider because it seems infinitely easier to work inside, but it's definitely on the list.

 

If you don't mind, could you be a little more specific about the recharge points and related wiring?

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If you don't mind, could you be a little more specific about the recharge points and related wiring?

 

Sure.  

 

YT-1300: I have access to the CR2032 that powers it to turn it on/off and change the battery.  The top cover of the Falcon comes off, and the entirely circuitry slides out.

 

CR-90: In the link you can see the actual recharge cables.  The front bottom turret swivels off to reveal the cables.  Since I used an extended cell phone battery on that one, it has a port to charge, and a separate port to discharge.  Both remain connected at all times.

 

GR-75:  The left bottom hull is removable, exposing the switch along with two leads that connect to the drone battery.  It's a pretty simple system, I just drilled a hole, stuck the wire through, soldered a bit on the exposed part to prevent it from falling back inside the ship.  I can snap a picture of it when I get home if you want.

 

Ghost:  This one isn't the most elegant, and it's kinda because I screwed up.  The circuit for the ghost is completed via the stand, so when I mount it, it turns on.  This is accomplished by running the current through magnets to an aluminum plate on each peg of the stand, with a wire connecting the two pegs.  I was thinking that I should be able to charge the battery through the same two magnets.  But upon actually trying to do so (and then rationalizing what went wrong) I realized that while the negative side connects to the battery, the positive side connects to the LEDs not to the battery.  So I ended up having to stick a third magnet that connects specifically to the positive side of the battery, allowing me to bypass the LEDs to charge it as needed.  Since it's on the bottom side, you don't really notice it, but I know it's there, and I dont' really like it.  If I'd been smart, I would have made the front peg the recharge peg... Oh well.

 

Gozanti:  Again, I can take a picture when I get home, but essentially I cut out two flat pieces of aluminum and soldered leads onto them connecting to the positive and negative leads of the battery.  From there, the each piece of aluminum is attached right above the tunnel (or whatever it's called) for the pilot to enter the TIE fighter.  When these are removed from the model, you have a direction shot at the sheet of aluminum.  So a cable with a magnet on the end of it will easily attach itself to the sheet, allowing me to have removable wires to recharge the battery.

 

The GR-75, Ghost and Gozanti all use these batteries:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016HV64GE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

And to recharge them, I use this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QHUONLE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I just cut the wires to get rid of the connectors.  Same thing with the recharging cables - I have one set with magnets on it (for the Ghost and Gozanti) and a second set with alligator clips on it (for the GR-75).  The 750mAh is about right - I've gotten a full 6 rounds out of the Ghost, at which point you can tell that the battery is getting low (the FOs @ 3V die out, but the engines are still going strong).  At 5 LEDs, it should last 7.5hrs, and I typically just assume 30% less than that, so 5hr 15min is what I would expect.  I'd say they last a bit longer than that, perhaps 6hrs.

On the Gozanti, since I just finished it, I haven't tested run time, but at 6 LEDs, it should be pulling 120mAs.  So officially it would last 6hr 15min, I realistically expect more like 4.5hrs.  Which is still plenty - as long as the epic ships last >3hrs, then they should be off the board before the batteries die.  The CR-90 with it's 11 LEDs makes good use of the larger capacity battery, as it wouldn't last long off of the drone battery.  But with the one it has, I've seen it last for about 10hrs, and my fuzzy math shows it should be 11, so it's a bit worse than I would like, but still plenty for what I need.

 

Likewise, the Falcon should last ~8hrs.  I want at least 6hrs from my regular ships so they can go 6rounds of swiss.  In the case of the Falcon though, I can just pop a new battery in if need be.  For the Ghost, I typically top off the charge in between the later rounds if it looks like I'm going to be making the cut.  

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Wow thanks so much for all the info!

I was thinking of a mini USB charging port, but I haven't looked into currents and capacities much so I don't know if a standard phone charger would blow out the batteries or anything.  How do you know when it's charged, btw?  Or is there no danger of overcharging?

 

Since rounds of swiss is not even remotely a concern of mine, your run times sound like plenty.

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Alright, so here are the pictures I promised of the recharging locations.  So I very strategically took this picture.  You can see in the top right the lead magnetically attached to the ship, and in the bottom right you can see the aluminum sheet that the lead attaches to (there's also an FO that's crossing over top of it).  The bottom left is untouched, and you can see a couple FOs there - I tried my best to capture them elsewhere so they wouldn't go over top of the metal sheets, but I clearly missed one.  And the top left shows it with the "tunnel" or whatever it's called in place.  I just slapped some paint on the top right to indicate that is the positive terminal - the bottom right is therefore the negative.

 

V0pXGCH.jpg

 

And apparently I lied a little bit - on the GR-75 I glued the leads in place, so the exterior isn't soldered like I originally said.

oJUtvCA.jpg

 

Here you can see the switch, the black lead, and the red lead.  Nothing special about that.  Except when I put the hull plating back in place, everything is covered up.  The hull plating is a friction fit, easy enough to get in/out such that it's not obnoxious to do so, but hard enough that I'm not worried about it becoming too easy.

 

 

 

 

One of the nice things about using the drone batteries as the power source is that they mate with a recharging hub.  It has lights on it to indicate that it's charging, and it's smart enough to shut off when it's fully charged.  So that works out well, and I'm content going forward with this setup.  The CR-90 has the logic inside of it and will shut itself off when needed as well, so I can't over charge it either.

 

I'm thinking that such a large ship as the Raider might require two batteries, so I'll have to confirm that I can charge those at the same time - I wouldn't expect it to be a problem as I should be able to wire them in parallel for that and then it just acts as a single battery with 1500mAh @ 3.7V.  Oh, that reminds me, they're actually more like 4V when they're fully charged, so I size the resistors to take the drop from 4V down to the 3.2V / 2.2V max of the LEDs, and then as the battery wears down, the voltage at the LED drops from 3.2 down to 2.9, but it's still illuminated.  If you start at the low end though, you might find yourself turning off the LEDs before the battery is dead.

Edited by Khyros
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This is fantastic, thank you!

Drone batteries had never occurred to me, but seems like a great solution.  Why would the Raider need two batteries?  Too many LEDs to light for one?

 

Do you run all your LED's and FO in parallel or serial or a combination (if that's even possible?) and why?

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This is fantastic, thank you!

Drone batteries had never occurred to me, but seems like a great solution. Why would the Raider need two batteries? Too many LEDs to light for one?

Do you run all your LED's and FO in parallel or serial or a combination (if that's even possible?) and why?

Everything is run in parallel. A brief background of electrical schematics might be in order. So your power source has 3 components that you need to balance - Voltage (V), Amperage (A), and Capacity (mAh).

Think of Voltage to be kinda like a staircase, the negative terminal returning to the battery is the ground floor, and then the battery walks up 3.7 stairs (because it is 3.7V). The rest of the circuit will have to walk back down 3.7 stairs, that is a requirement in order to get back to the ground floor. A white LED requires 3V, so it walks down 3 stairs. If you try to put 2 in series, you'll need to go down another 3 stairs - but you only have .7 left, so you won't be able to, so the circuit won't work. But since a single LED leaves .7 stairs remaining, you need to put a resistor in the circuit to walk down the .7 stairs, so the LED doesn't have to do it (if the LED tries, the LED won't be able to handle going down the full 3.7 stairs, and will blow, opening the circuit and nothing will work).

So now that we have an elementary understanding of voltage, we can move onto current, which is measured in amperes (amps for short, which is shorten to A as an unit). If we stick with the stair case analogy, amps represent how much is going down the stairs - do you just have 1 person walking down, or do you have 10 people? A battery will have a rating for amps as well, typically 1A or 1000mA. This would mean that the battery is capable of providing 1000mA to the circuit, however it can provide any amount between 0A and 1000mA. So, the battery can run 1000 people down the stair case, but it's just as happy with only 200 running down the stairs. If the circuit is incomplete, no one will run down the stairs. Model sized LEDs all use 20mA regardless of the color. So a single 1000mA battery could power 50 LEDs in parallel.

If you were to have 2 LEDs in series (though with this example there's not enough voltage to support this, but let's ignore that for a moment), the voltage drop would be twice that of a single LED, but the current draw would be the same. If you wired the two in parallel instead of in series, the voltage drop would be the same as a single LED, but the current draw would be twice as high. This is because a single LED is going to take the same amount of power regardless on what the configuration is. Power, measured in Wattage (or Watts for short, W abr.), is literally Volts x Amperage. As such, there is always a trade off between the two. And a White LED (3V, 20mA) uses 60mW of power.

This brings us to our final battery parameter of capacity. Capacity is actually supposed to be a measure of power, but it's easier to understand when it is written mAh. This literally means Milli-Amp Hours, and it is as clear as it sounds. If your system draws 75mA, and you have a 750mAh battery, then it will last for 10 hours because 75mA * 10h = 750mAh.

So, with that background, to answer your questions, I wire all of my LEDs in parallel since the battery Voltage isn't high enough to wire even 2 in series. As such, every LED I want in the Raider will be in parallel, drawing 20mAs. Using a 750mAh battery, with 30% loss, and the requirement that it runs at least 5 hours, means that I can only use 5 LEDs in the system (which is what the GR-75, Gozanti, and Ghost all use). Except I expect that the Raider is going to need 2 LEDs for the FOs, 2 for the side engines, and probably at least 3 for the middle engine. So if I go with the 7, and my rule of 30% transfer loss, it'll only last for 3:45hrs. A second battery will increase the capacity from 750mAh to 1500mAh, boosting that to 7:30hrs. If you're not concerned with run time at all, then you should be able to get 25 LEDs in the system and it'll run for an hour, with no need for a second battery.

Edited by Khyros

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I had read up on circuits a little bit, but nothing quite as clear.  To top it off, I was not paying attention to the fact that your battery was only 3.7V.

So if we wire in series, we need a power supply to generate at least as much voltage as the sum of the LED voltage, but if we wire in parallel, each LED needs a resistor to take up the slack between the LED's voltage and the battery's, right?

 

You said the Raider would be wired in series, but that doesn't seem to follow the math of the power draw you laid out.  Did you mean parallel or did I just not understand something?

 

Once again, thanks so much for answering the questions and being so detailed!  And I'm sorry for kinda derailing your thread. :)

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Have you thought of doing the YT-2400.  :D

 

I have thought of how I would do it.  And it'll probably happen at some point.  What I'm thinking is dremeling out the engine section, which should be just large enough for me to fit the CR2032 battery + holder that I use for the Falcon through there... A simple magnet to hold it all in place, and I should be able to have everything accessed from the engine bay (getting rid of some of the issue I have with the YT-1300).

 

I was thinking of doing it but was put off as I had already painted it.

You may have a problem fitting the battery as there is a big post behind the engine that gets in the way. 

But I would be very interested if you manage it :)

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This is fantastic, thank you!

Drone batteries had never occurred to me, but seems like a great solution. Why would the Raider need two batteries? Too many LEDs to light for one?

Do you run all your LED's and FO in parallel or serial or a combination (if that's even possible?) and why?

Everything is run in parallel. A brief background of electrical schematics might be in order. So your power source has 3 components that you need to balance - Voltage (V), Amperage (A), and Capacity (mAh).

Think of Voltage to be kinda like a staircase, the negative terminal returning to the battery is the ground floor, and then the battery walks up 3.7 stairs (because it is 3.7V). The rest of the circuit will have to walk back down 3.7 stairs, that is a requirement in order to get back to the ground floor. A white LED requires 3V, so it walks down 3 stairs. If you try to put 2 in series, you'll need to go down another 3 stairs - but you only have .7 left, so you won't be able to, so the circuit won't work. But since a single LED leaves .7 stairs remaining, you need to put a resistor in the circuit to walk down the .7 stairs, so the LED doesn't have to do it (if the LED tries, the LED won't be able to handle going down the full 3.7 stairs, and will blow, opening the circuit and nothing will work).

So now that we have an elementary understanding of voltage, we can move onto current, which is measured in amperes (amps for short, which is shorten to A as an unit). If we stick with the stair case analogy, amps represent how much is going down the stairs - do you just have 1 person walking down, or do you have 10 people? A battery will have a rating for amps as well, typically 1A or 1000mA. This would mean that the battery is capable of providing 1000mA to the circuit, however it can provide any amount between 0A and 1000mA. So, the battery can run 1000 people down the stair case, but it's just as happy with only 200 running down the stairs. If the circuit is incomplete, no one will run down the stairs. Model sized LEDs all use 20mA regardless of the color. So a single 1000mA battery could power 50 LEDs in parallel.

If you were to have 2 LEDs in series (though with this example there's not enough voltage to support this, but let's ignore that for a moment), the voltage drop would be twice that of a single LED, but the current draw would be the same. If you wired the two in parallel instead of in series, the voltage drop would be the same as a single LED, but the current draw would be twice as high. This is because a single LED is going to take the same amount of power regardless on what the configuration is. Power, measured in Wattage (or Watts for short, W abr.), is literally Volts x Amperage. As such, there is always a trade off between the two. And a White LED (3V, 20mA) uses 60mW of power.

This brings us to our final battery parameter of capacity. Capacity is actually supposed to be a measure of power, but it's easier to understand when it is written mAh. This literally means Micro-Amp Hours, and it is as clear as it sounds. If your system draws 75mA, and you have a 750mAh battery, then it will last for 10 hours because 75mA * 10h = 750mAh.

So, with that background, to answer your questions, I wire all of my LEDs in parallel since the battery Voltage isn't high enough to wire even 2 in series. As such, every LED I want in the Raider will be in parallel, drawing 20mAs. Using a 750mAh battery, with 30% loss, and the requirement that it runs at least 5 hours, means that I can only use 5 LEDs in the system (which is what the GR-75, Gozanti, and Ghost all use). Except I expect that the Raider is going to need 2 LEDs for the FOs, 2 for the side engines, and probably at least 3 for the middle engine. So if I go with the 7, and my rule of 30% transfer loss, it'll only last for 3:45hrs. A second battery will increase the capacity from 750mAh to 1500mAh, boosting that to 7:30hrs. If you're not concerned with run time at all, then you should be able to get 25 LEDs in the system and it'll run for an hour, with no need for a second battery.

 

 

First of all, let me tell you that all your modded ships look amazing, they are by far the best I have seen yet! And thanks for the lesson in electronics! You should be teaching that stuff somewhere. As an aerospace engineering student I know my way around electronics, but what you explained back there made a lot of things way more understandable and cleared away all that complicated stuff I used to think about when working with electronics to replace it with the simplicity you put down here. Wow! Thanks man, that explanation and your models made my day now!

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So I started tearing apart the Raider last night, and figured instead of doing a "this is what I did" write up, I would switch it up a bit and go through each step and why I do it in that order.  I should have snapped some pictures last night to go along with the steps - I'll have to take them when I get home tonight before I continue the work.  

 

 

Step 1)  Determine the scope of the project and game plan everything out.  This WILL change as you tear it apart.  I like to do some google searches for pictures of the ship to determine what I'm interested in doing.  But it goes beyond just deciding what I want the end product to look like.  I also decide where I'm going to put the switch, and how I'm going to recharge it.  I also take this opportunity to do any research on tearing it apart if others have already done so.  I make my shopping list of components I'll need at this time to make sure I have everything in advanced so I'm not waiting for something to arrive (which I end up doing anyways).

 

For the Raider, I am using these for reference: http://spikeybits.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/raider-battle-art.jpgand https://images-cdn.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/x-wing/news/large-ships/imperial-raider/SWX30_10067_RaiderOverhead_TimothyBenZweifel2.jpg 

 

I'm looking to run fiber optics along the sides, I like the look of the cockpit being lit up even though that's not in the pictures, and between those pictures, and this guy's finished model, I decided I want the laser batteries lit up red (http://d2ydh70d4b5xgv.cloudfront.net/images/7/7/custom-led-star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game-imperial-raider-4e6559a4e53c6f34085369cdb637f4d8.jpg).  Of course I also want the engines lit up, which should be blue based off of the Star Destroyers, and the glow that you can see in pictures (though I can't ever find a picture of the rear of the Raider).  One thing that I'm still a bit unsure about - since the center engine is so large, I want to do something special for it, but I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do.

 

For recharging/switches, I've become a big fan of magnets these days.  My initial thought is to use a magnetic read switch on one of the wings to turn it on/off.  And I'd likely hide the recharge points under the other wing.  My materials list includes bright white LEDs (for FOs), red LEDs (for laser batteries), Blue LEDs (for engines), warm white LEDs (for cockpit), 64 strand FOs (for sides), and .6mm single FOs (for laser batteries), Milk crate diffuser (center engine and cockpit), some hot glue for the side engines, a magnetic read switch, some resistors, and 2 drone batteries.

 

 

 

Step 2) This is the first hands on step, tearing down the model.  I'm not the best at this as I always end up marring the surface in some location at least, but in general, I slide a knife between the parting lines, and wiggle it back and forth.  Once a post breaks apart, you should be able to locate where the other posts all are - focus your attention right at (or on either side if you can't get right on it) the post.  In addition to splitting the hull in half, there are always additional components that need to be taken apart, but take a look at whether or not it needs to come off before taking it apart.  Minimizing the tear down is always a good thing.  Don't be afraid if something breaks - it's almost always a clean break that you can easily repair.

 

For the Raider, my research indicated that the wings needed to come off first.  I snapped the actual wings off, knowing they'd be easy to reattach to the clamp, and this gave easy access to the clamp.  Beyond that, one of the clamps snapped off completely, the other ended up detaching, but is almost broken all the way through, so they'll both need to be glued back together.  I also needed to take off the laser batteries on the top hull.  Note that I did not need to take the rear engine portion off.  

 

 

Step 3) This is where the fun begins.  And I actually mean that, I enjoy these next few steps.  Now that everything is opened up, it's time to start planning out where everything will go.  The main thing to determine is the battery location as that is the largest item.  But it's also important to take a look at wiring routings, and where the LEDs are going to go.  This is also the time to determine any plasticard that'll be needed, and where that's going to go.  You also have to determine what needs to go and what needs to stay.  Striking the right balance is critical - remove too many and it's a PITA to put back together.  Leave too much and it's a PITA to get everything in.

 

The Raider is the easiest one of the bunch for this.  It has a huge open hull, and no real additional sections.  The batteries easily fit along the sides of the center area just ahead of the 2nd center post (starting from the engine).  The first post needs to be removed to open up clear access to the center engine.  And the plastic between the top deck and the top hull needs to be removed, which means the second post can also be removed.  NOTE though that the attachment point for the peg is on the second post, so you can only remove a bit of it.  It's pretty clear where it changes from post to peg though.  Obviously the 3 engines are going to have to be carved out, along with the windows for the cockpit.  The rest of it should be good to stay though.  I'll need some plasticard for the deck, so I'll want to leave some of the flat section intact to give a good surface to mount to.  I might also want some plasticard by the engines to block it out from the rest of the ship, so again, I'll leave a bit of a ledge on the first post to mount to.

 

 

Step 4) Now you get to execute step 3.  You WILL want a dremel for this.  There's not much to be said about how to do this, you'll learn short cuts and techniques as you go.  Posts are pretty easy to remove, and sections that you are opening up can typically be drilled through, and then widened with a routing bit.  Finally, the engine diffusers (such as on the CR-90) are best to come from the back of it, and just take off ~1/8 of plastic until only the diffuser is left.  A hobby knife can help clean up the edges to provide a crisp look.  Cutting out the cockpits can be simple or difficult depending on if you want to leave the vertical window supports.  If you're fine cutting them out completely, use a cutter disc to just open up the slot.  It'll make it nice and straight and level.  However, if you want to leave the vertical supports in place, then you'll have to drill out enough of it to fit a small hobby knife and work very carefully to cut it out.  The good news is if you mess it up, you can just cut out the vertical support anyways.

 

For the Raider, I dremeled out the 1st post and half of the second post to start with.  I find doing the posts first means that I have extra space for the rest of it.  Again, with the Raider that wasn't a big deal since it's so open anyways.  The section to the cockpit was pretty simple, though a bit scary to do as it started as a mostly blind operation.  I drilled through the middle, and widened it up from there.  Once it got close to the edge, you could see the edge of the cockpit section, so then you could go until the two edges were flush.  The entire dremeled section will end up being replaced by a piece of plasticard to keep the light contained.  The engine bays themselves took a bit of unique work.  I started both by drilling and then routing out towards the edges, but the side ones were presented with the unique challenge of being so small and yet so far away, that it was difficult to get it evenly cleaned out, so I ended up switching from the dremel to an actual drill and using a 15/64th drill bit to clean it all out.  The middle engine with it's large opening had the challenge of consistency.  If I cleared it out with the router bit, you'd notice each imperfection, so I swapped to a disc cutter and went about it like that.  The larger diameter of the cutter was a closer match to the diameter of the opening, so individual imperfections are less noticeable.

 

 

Step 5) Paint it black.  All of it (well, just the interior).  Trust me, it'll help with light seepage.  And it's super easy (though time consuming) to do now instead of later.  You've cut everything out that needs to be cut out, and you haven't installed anything yet.

0v5x9nv.jpg

W6TBfi4.jpg

Step 6)  If you're using fiber optics, this is when you want to run them.  I will point out that if the ship is double walled, you will want to dremel out (in step 4) the interior wall.  FO's don't go well through two walls.  In general, I find that drilling from the outside in works best for FOs, it typically leaves a shaving on the inside to help you locate each hole.  For sizing the FO cable, I find that I'd much rather waste extra than deal with just barely enough, so I'll run it from the location of the LED to the furthest point, and then add about 3-4 inches (depending on how far away that is).  When threading through, I start at the furthest point and go back towards the LED.  Once all of the FO's are wired and the cable is in the position you want it, it's time to glue them in place.  DO NOT use super glue.  This actually attacks and breaks the FOs.  I've had good luck with just white glue (you know, the stuff you use in school?), but I used to use hot glue, but that ends up being messy.  I've heard good things about silicon as well, but it seems like it'll have the same issue as the hot glue.  Whatever medium you use, after you get it in place, wiggle the FO in and out a bit so the glue actually goes into the hole instead of on top of it.  Once it's dried, you should be good to snip the FOs down to about an inch.  I leave an inch to minimize the chance of the external FO getting caught up and pulled on anything - that will break the glue.  But in case I pull it from the inside working with the rest of the installation, I still have some extra to thread through.  

 

For the Raider, I'm doing a more complex FO setup.  First, I'm running .7mm single strand FOs to the laser batteries (12 total), and will light those red.  To do that properly, I had to rip off each laser battery (which was pretty easy), drill through the hull of the ship, chop off the actual laser extrusion bits (since the FO is like the same diameter), drill in with the .75mm drill bit for both channel, and then very carefully drill and angle  from the bottom to create a bit of room to make the 90 degree turn.  Once all of this come complete, I used a set of pliers to bend the FOs at 90 degrees twice to create a hook so to speak.  This allowed me to thread them from the front of the laser through the bottom of the battery.  Rinse and repeat 11 times for the others.  The second FO in each battery was extremely difficult to thread, but it all worked.  I worked a dab of white glue from the bottom into the inners of the laser battery to hold the FOs in place (though to be fair, it's a tight fit anyways and they won't willingly go anywhere anyways), and then another dab of white glue to reattach the laser battery.

 

The other twist is that I decided with ~40 FOs on each side of the Raider, I wanted to run dual colors.  I chose to randomly mix warm white with bright white, but this led to a tangle of the FOs (I did one of them randomly to begin with, and then had to go back with the other one to the missing holes).  Nothing too complex about it, but not something I'd recommend if neatness is at a priority.  I haven't decided if I want to run FOs anywhere else on the ship yet, I'm thinking about putting a few on the sides of the upper deck, but I'm not sure how that'll go when I light up the cockpit on the upper deck, and I'm thinking about lighting it up red, so I don't want that bleeding through the sides at all.

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Step 7)  If there's any sections that need plasticard installed, now's a good time to do it (make sure you paint it!).  Though if you needed to run FO's through it first, then it would have to be at least slightly in place already.  In addition, this is a good time to glue in place the diffusers as well, both on any cockpits and engines.  I've found that any time you can glue the diffuser in from the back, better to go with a milk carton, but any time it would have to be a perfect fit, you're not going to get it with a milk carton, so you might as well fill it with hot glue.  If you want a smooth surface at the end of the hot glue, you can use parchment paper (ask the lady for some), insert the hot glue, and then hold it upright so the parchment paper is on the bottom - the glue will drip down and cool against the paper, which should peel off afterwards.

 

Here is the result of using some parchment paper on the side engines.  Almost perfect, and once it's lit up you'll never be able to see the blemish.

2SpXbWh.jpg

 

I still haven't placed the plasticard for the upper deck since I haven't decided whether or not I want FOs up there, but otherwise this step is complete with no real surprises.

 

 

Step 8)  Almost done.  Time to install the LEDs for all of this.  I've found that it's typically easiest to solder on a length of wire to the end of the LEDs, but leave it at that for now.  Green stuff is a great way to secure the LEDs and hold them in place in the center of the engine.  If you're lighting up a cockpit area, drilling a small hole through the plasticard and inserting the LED through there is also a good way to secure it (and then glue/tape it to the backside).  For the FOs, I use some heat shrink to hold the LED tight to the FOs.

 

Once I got past the idea of doing anything special for the center engines, this was a pretty simple step.  I used 5mm for both side engines as they fit almost perfectly into the already existing channel.  A bit of green stuff to ensure they don't fall out, and that's that.  For the center engine, I went with a bunch of 3 blue LEDs.  A bit of green stuff in between them to keep them all together, and then a platform made out of green stuff to hold them up in the center and aimed at the engine.  I had to keep it a ways back to prevent there from being a "shadow" so to speak in the corners of the engine.  There is still a bright spot where you can see the three LEDs, and I'm not overly satisfied with it, but I've run out of ideas.  I will say it's quite bright.

KPtV9RW.jpg

 

 

Step 9)  Finally, time to snip the leads to length and solder then to the resistors and to the battery.  This is also a good time to figure out where the recharge cables and switch(es) are going to go.  Not much to discuss here, I've found that using bits of metal plates along with magnets are a good way to have hidden recharge cables.  As are removable turrets.

 

But with that said, I've changed my mind regarding switches and recharging points.  After taking it apart, the side wings seemed like they would present a problem for recharging and switching on/off.  They'd really need 2 magnets each to keep them aligned, and there really isn't enough space to do that.  So I moved to the bottom wing, which actually works better.  The bottom wing has 2 supports at the end of the wing.  This works out really well - I can use the two supports as the + and - recharge magnets, and the primary wing as the magnetic read switch.  And since it has 3 points of attachment that are spread out to form a triangle, I can ensure that it's always on straight.  This should work really well.  The one problem is that I broke the wing trying to get the stupid support posts off the ship.  Nothing a bit of glue wouldn't fix.  Sadly I ended up losing the posts, but with it being on the underside of the ship, you still never notice it unless you go looking for it.

 

 

Step 10) Time to put everything back together.  Before gluing everything together, I like to test it for 24hrs or so prior to finalizing it all.  I typically put glue in a couple of posts, and then in a corner or two when I've cut out a bunch of the posts in a row.  This is typically an easy step.  And once it's all set, you can trim the FOs flush.  Plyers are the best tools normally, but sometimes you'll need a knife.  And if you plan on painting it, you'll want to leave a bit of the FOs exposed so you can paint it, not worry about covering the FOs, and then cut them at the end.

 

Edited by Khyros
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Thank you so much for the step-by-step breakdown!

I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the main engine so I haven't even gotten to figuring out the lighting parts yet.  The flat part of the center engine looks to be about an inch so I've by trying to think of something around the house that has an interesting radial pattern that could fit (similar to the pattern on the business end of the corvette engines).  I have some old Lego satellite dishes but I think only the big ones had the pattern and the little ones were solid.

 

Behind that I'm thinking of a bell chamber with 1 or 3 LEDs and a highly reflective interior.  Or possibly something that looks like the inside of a jet engine.

 

For the bridge, I've been considering a surface-mount LED on the roof, though hiding the wires could be an issue.  What LED are you using?

 

Great write up and looking forward to some pics of the progress!

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I'm going to give a go here tonight, but I'm thinking for the center engine about using a drone motor to spin a second diffuser, spaced between the LEDs and the stationary diffuser.  The rotary diffuser is going to be non-uniform (various translucency/colors of paint?), so as it spins, the end effect on the engine will change.  At least that's the thought I have in my head - we'll see how it actually turns out.  The other option I've thought of is to side light it with blue lights, and the center light it with white/cyan, but I don't like that idea as much.  I fully expect this to slow down my overall implementation timing for the Raider - New features always take much longer to do than tried and true methods.

 

As for LEDs, I'm just using the standard 3/5mm variants, I can't bring myself to buy the mini/micro ones that are ridiculously expensive.  I picked up a few packs of the 10 color variants of both the sizes, and I also have a couple of the RGB 5mm.  I've used those on occasion (such as the CR-90) when I want multi colors.

 

 

Edit:  Bah, all of my thoughts on the center engine failed last night.  I started with trying a blue/red disc on the drone motor, but it just shown through as purple, even at the slowest spin speed.  I then tried side lighting it, but it just made it looked uneven.  Finally I tried using a side glow FO around the border, but this wasn't a success.  I guess I'm going to end up with just a bright vibrant center engine.  It's not as large of an area as I originally thought, so perhaps just making it bright will do the trick.

Edited by Khyros
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Argh, forum ate my first post.

 

What I was saying was maybe if you use a solid/opaque propeller-type spinner between the LEDs and the diffuser, such that the blades on the propeller were of different sizes and shapes?  I'm thinking if the spin speed is right, the occlusion provided by the propeller would be uneven and lend a bit of an amorphous darkening and lightening of the perceived glow.  Does that make sense?

 

I had been considering a ring of small LEDs around the engine pointed inward and reflected off the interior so there's no single point of origin for the light, but that would probably require too many LEDs, so a cluster in the middle as normal might be the best as you say.

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I just saw these, and thought they might work for the Raider engines if you don't want a solid glow: http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/flickering-led.html

Check the video, it's a nice effect, and it's available in blue or cool white.  Three of them together would look pretty cool if they have different flicker rates.  I might give it a shot.

Edited by Kharnvor

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I just saw these, and thought they might work for the Raider engines if you don't want a solid glow: http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/flickering-led.html

Check the video, it's a nice effect, and it's available in blue or cool white.  Three of them together would look pretty cool if they have different flicker rates.  I might give it a shot.

 

Herm... that's an idea.  I've messed with trying to do a flicker effect before via a 555 timer, but I haven't gotten a good effect out of it that I'm satisfied with.  I went ahead and ordered a set of 50 on Amazon of a 5mm... I guess this puts a damper in my plans to finish it up by this weekend, but that might just be what I'm looking for on the center engine.  Thanks for the inspiration!

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You're welcome.

 

I contacted the website about the flicker and they confirmed a cluster of 3 shouldn't all flicker at the same time or rate, so it should work.  I'm definitely going to give it a try.  The one I linked is only 1.8mm (would that work in the small engines?) so probably too small for main engine, but I keep forgetting to check Amazon when I find these on specialty websites.

 

Hopefully the ones you ordered come in soon so we can all see how it looks.  And hopefully it looks great!  (I don't want to be responsible for you dumping money into something that didn't work! :))

 

Question: How did you decide where to put the FO on the sides of the Raider?  I was looking at mine and didn't see anything that clearly resembled a window or something.

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I just randomly drill it out.  I did the same for the Gozanti.  As far as I'm concerned, all of the work I do is designed for the table top and to hang from my ceiling (yeah, I do that... gotta a problem with that?  Didn't think so), so having specific areas that are "windows" doesn't really matter.  Now if you were doing the Titanic or something where there's a difference in the hull for the various windows, yeah, you have to be careful where you install the FOs.  But when you're looking from 3+ feet away, only the overall lighting effect matters.  And it's more important to make sure it doesn't look like a pattern instead of making sure they're drilled for windows.

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NO problem with hanging from the ceiling.  Used to do that myself with various model kits.  It's the only proper way to display a B-36 Peacemaker (love that - Peacemaker, not Peacekeeper) or a JU-87 Stuka if you ask me: diving right at you ready to drop those little bombs.  Most X-wing minis are a bit small for that though.

 

Good thoughts about FO, thanks.

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