Finally, a Real Post!

Ok.  First things first, let’s get up to speed on the 1/350 refit.  I believe I had cut things off at the neck, so to speak..haha.  So I’ll start out by tossing up a couple of pictures of the secondary hull being painted.  First in gray primer, then in white.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!!...IN WHITE!

BAM!!…IN WHITE!

Now, at this point I had a sexy looking white secondary hull pretty much ready for detail painting.  But, there was a sinister little problem lurking beneath that layer of virgin white lacquer, just biding its time in order to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moment, and that moment was when I peeled off the masks and tested the lighting.  That’s right, you guessed it.  There was an LED out…and not just one of the internal illumination LEDs.  No, it was one of the external pylon spotlights!

I spent some time pounding my head against the wall and crying myself to sleep at night before setting about fixing the problem.  You gotta do what you gotta do, and what I had to do was cut the damn thing open and replace the stupid LED.  Luckily I had done a fairly decent job of documenting where everything was located on the inside, so I was able to find a safe place to make the cut.

OUCH!

OUCH!

The old one was cut out, and the new one lined up in its place.  Then the patching job began.

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And finally after filling, sanding, and painting, I was back to this.

Whew!

Whew!

There’s still a little unevenness in the patched area that I’ll continue to work on a bit, but I think it’s safe to say that that little disaster has been rectified.

So, now I was ready to play with the nacelles.  The first order of business was to install the spotlight LEDs that illuminate the starfleet pennant on the secondary hull, and the saucer rim.  Some would just glue the LEDs in place and hope to get some light in the right general area when the model is assembled.  But, I wanted to be a little more scientific in my approach.  So, I decided to pull out my assembly jig (remember that?) and mock up the assembled model.  Even though the saucer was assembled and ready to go, I decided to use one from a spare kit.  That way, I didn’t have to fuss with its wires, and I could feed the wires protruding from the neck into the spare saucer.

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So, in essence, all of that was done in order to achieve this:

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It took several tries, and several LEDs to get the effect I wanted.  But, I think it was all worth it in the end.  I ended up using a 5mm white for the pennant spot, and a 3mm for the saucer rim.  With those secured in place, the rest of the wiring and nacelle assembly could begin.

Grills with a nice purple glow and no hot spots was the goal here.  Easy, right?  Well,no…not exactly.  I had procured some special acrylic made for diffusing LEDs in backlighting applications.  I thought “PERFECT!  I’ll use white LED strips, along with a layer of the the 1/8” diffusion acrylic, and translucent purple acrylic.  That ought to work great!  What did I get?

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Hot pink……

My next attempt was to order some UV purple LEDs and try that.  The day they arrived, I connected them up to my power supply, and they looked perfect.  So, I installed them in a nacelle, put the diffusion acrylic in place, and what did I get?

Brilliant blue.

Apparently, something about the uv light from the LEDs reacted with the diffusion acrylic creating the blue glow.  Actually, it was a pretty cool effect.  I could slide the panel in and out from in front of the LEDs and watch the light change from purple to blue.  The brightness would increase significantly as well.  Not the effect I was after, but nifty nevertheless. I’ll file that knowledge away for some future project.

I did some further digging around and finally located some LEDs that were simply purple without a uv component.  I ordered up a reel and waited anxiously for them to arrive.  When they did, I installed them and got

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PURPLE!!

I also discovered that I could use the translucent purple acrylic as a diffuser by itself with out having to resort to the special diffusion material.  But, before I could start wiring everything up and making it permanent, I needed to mask and paint the grills.  Some laser cut Tamiya tape strips were in order here.

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After the masking was applied, the girlls were first painted black for light blocking purposes, then a nice purplish color.

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They were then installed into the nacelles and tested.

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I know.  Looks bluish. But, trust me it’s very obviously purple in person!  I think either my camera, or some color management setting on my computer is playing tricks on me here!

Here’s the completed wiring and lighting setup for the nacelles.  Note the rcs thruster lighting, strobe, and blue crystal thingie lights are installed as well.

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I also installed a pieces of 1/32″ black plastic to help block some of the light that inevitably leak from the pylon/nacelle connection point.  The nacelles halves were then finally glued together.

Next up was to add these little photo-etch jobbies on the back of each nacelle.

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With those in place, I started the sand-putty-prime-repeat process on all the seams.  In doing so, I intentionally destroyed some of the raised panel areas on the bottom of the nacelles.  Not to worry.  I cut new ones and glued them in place when I was happy the seam lines were no longer an issue.

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The top nacelle is a spare used as reference when replacing the missing detail.

And finally, here is were things stand at this moment.

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I’ll be putting the finishing touches on the seam work and getting things masked off for painting next. All of the internal wiring and lighting for the model is now complete.  From here on out everything will be either assembly, or paint work.  Well…until I get to the display base anyway.

Which, speaking of display bases.  I mentioned a while back (ok, a long time ago) that I intended to start blogging about all of my activity in the shop.  I’m not sure anyone remembers, or cares that I said that.  But, I still intend to make good on that promise.  As Laserfire Creations, I build a variety of custom display bases, plaques, and acrylic awards, so expect to see a variety of new posts popping up here on (hopefully) a more regular basis.

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