BS-75: Engines part 01

OK, once more, let me remind you that this is a exploratory blog and nothing is definite. Its just to give you an idea on what you can do with your own model kit.

Now, lets get to the other part, which are the engines. I can never decide if they are white or blue. This is because for LEDs, you either have pure white, bluish white or yellowish white. So, in this matter, I decided to go with just white and paint them blue later if I want. That is the beauty of using White LEDs because you can paint them in any transparent colour you want later on. This is very important because there are some LEDs such as yellow and especially green, which suck up so much current and still glow. So, you just put a white LED in there and paint it transparent green.

This is one of the four outer engines pods and it only consist of four parts.

Again, you have to remove these 'pillars'. Really. I am not fooled that easily now. Heh.

With the two halves closed, you have the third part, which I call it the funnel for the moment, OK? So, with the two halves of the pods closed, there is no through hole to put the wires through to the LED. So, you have to drill a hole for it. Even a 2mm or 3mm hole would do. If you want, you can line up the hole with the transparent dimple so that the 3mm White LED will sit flush on the other side of the engine pod with its legs still intact.

This is the funnel fitted with the clear part. The round area is what it would call the 'dimple', OK?

And just for fun, I wrapped the insides of the funnel with aluminium tape. Unfortunately, the only aluminium tape I had was much thicker. And so, I had to use something stronger than toothpicks to make sure they cover all the tight corners. Unfortunately, the Satay stall has not opened for business yet.

OK, you can see how bright the LED is. And you can see how it lit up the dimple. The problem with LEDs are that they have a very narrow viewing angle. If you look at it head-on, its bright. But the moment you look at it from another angle, its not that bright. So, this is the effect wehn you put the LED right next to the clear part.

Remember the aligned hole I talked about earlier? Let's put the LED BEHIND it. Now, the gap between the clear part and the LED has increased.

Let's light it up again. OK, it looks nicer, as if there are a lot of 'details' inside the engine. But if you look head-on, the dimple is still bright, which is good. So, I presume this is the same for the other two lower pods but looking at the parts still in the sprues, there is no blacked area for you to drill a hole to. So, you might want to use some scrap plastic sheets. The alignment of the LED to the dimple, I must say, is very important.

Next are the middle engines. This is is a single clear part and well, you would have to use some scrap plastic sheets to to separate all the LEDs inside.

This is a small test circuit I made earlier and its about the right size. However, because I am not using the correct resistors sizes, they do get HOT after a few minutes. This is because 12 volts is a lot of power and limiting it to just 3 volts means a lot of energy will be given of (as heat). So, I will have to get the actual resistors next week once my salary is in, of course. Because of the engine, I am starting to consider using lower voltage but this would also mean other problems, mainly I would have to custom build the White LED lights int he landing bay instead of using the LED strips.

This is supposed to be a very simple lighting exercise using minimum components but now, using 12 volts seems a bit too much. why i chose 12 volts is because over here, it is a very 'common' voltage for devices such as CCTVs, auto-gates, alarms, and so on. This means the wall adaptors would be easy to come by. Anyway, I have to think more about this.

Coming back to the engines, the design of the kit is perfect because it has the space for you to put in a circuit board and with the help of the engine pods which you can use as a backing, they will give you the wanted gap.

This little circuit can run for about 5 minutes or so before getting hot. And I mean, really hot. I was so hot, I can smell the resin in the board cooking. Imagine what would have happened if someone stole this circuit and put it into their PLASTIC Battlestar Galactics model kit........

BS-75: Landing bay Part 01

Previously, I mentioned that the model kit is a very easy kit. But the main challenge lies in lighting it and also, in the painting to give it a very worn down look. For me, assembling the kit is going to be a big problem since I do not have any plastic glue nor paints in my room. heck, my so-called airbrush project in 2009 got blown off.

Anyway, since I have some time, I will now explore the kit with the intention of lighting it up. Please note that the next few posts are exploratory posts and so, the notes would be a bit cryptic and only those who owns a cat Hotel would understand what I am trying to say. Moreover, as my mind relaxes, more ideas would come and so, these would change and therefore, the nores on this blog would be outdated. So, just take it as ideas for you to make your own lighting. But if I were to do a kit for this, it would take quite some time and for those who are about to ask, I seriously do not have the funds to do so for 2010.

Also, I am not a very big fan of the new BSG mainly because I missed a lot of episodes while I was working non-stop for the past few years. it was not until I met the Cat Hotel man that he showed me some of the models in the SFTPMS forums that I began to take interest in it. But there are still so many episodes I have to get and watch, not including the mini-series, the pilot, etc.

Let's start with the landing pod. There are only three parts and its very simple. The main challenge is to light it and also, the "GALACTICA" sign. There are some other red/green lights which I have yet to discover but chances are, they will be lit via fibre-optics later on.

The upper level of the landing bay is where the Mk II Vipers would land and at the bottom level, this is where they would launch. This is a very great design but I have yet to see an elevator system like what you see in the current Aircraft carriers in service today.

But somehow, I think there is a problem because I do not remember seeing the pod so high. And so exposed too. maybe there are some pieces I have not seen.

This is very weird. The eight plastic stands were not mentioned in the instruction sheets too. All it showed was to label it 44 number with a circle and also, tie some arrows between the plank and the part in question. And I can't even find the decal or arrows inside the box. This kit is going to be tougher than I thought.

Anyway, remember the 12volt white LED strip I bought sometime ago? Since it was lying around unused, I decided to use it. For the ship at such scale, it would be very difficult to light the bay exactly as seen in the series. to do this, you would need a photo-etch part and some electroluminescent strips (then you would also have a problem with their big sized and whining inverters). And so, I decided to give this LED strip a try.

The strip was designed for a 12volt system, which, I think, was mean more for cars. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a Diary Salesman. Anyway, if you look at it closely, it IS designed for a 12 volt system. This is because each White LED would take in a minimum of 3 volts and also, at least 30mA of current. And because they are soldered in such a way, anything less than 9 volts would not light them up. The good thing about this strip is that you can cut it to your desired length, provided you know WHERE to cut.
Some soldering later, I am ready to try. Bear in mind, because of the way the tracks on the board were designed, I had to whittle away some plastic so that the strip can line up straight at the top of the plastic part.

Well, its bright. Too bright in fact. Now, it looks like one of those livery ships. Not only that, after a while, the strip does get warm. So, for this plastic, you would need to 'lightproof' it from the inside. But this is not a problem if you need to light up the 'GALACTICA" decal. Masking the sign from inside to create a spotlight effect is possible here. This also called the Raytheon effect. However, in the TV series, the name plates are raised and this would mean the Raytheon effect would not work with photo-etched parts.

Looking from the inside, the lights look very weird because who would have thought of having 100 feet lighting? Imagine working in there, you'd go blind in minutes. But Cat Hotel Man theorised that it would be dim so that Viper Pilots would still be able to see once they land inside. This is the effect your eyes would experience when you drive into a tunnel. Your eyes would need time to adjust the sudden change of lighting.

Another thing is, the height. With the 1.6mm thick circuit board and the almost 2mm thick LED, Viper pilots would have to be very very careful in there.

So, what can be improved on this? Simple. Look at the picture above. Its blindingly bright because its taking in 12 volts. This is the strips actual performance and putting a dimmer in there might solve the problem but you'd be creating a new one in the sense that dimmers are bulky. Even a simple voltage limiting resistor would have its own problems that it gives off heat.

Not, let's see what happens when I use 9 volts instead. Much much better but it still bright. Then again, as I said before, the lights in the landing pod does not need to be very bright. Just enough to see whats inside.

I know its not easy to see the brightness of the 12 volts in this picture as my Nokia 5800 keeps auto adjusting its brightness.

This is from the 9 volts, which is a lot dimmer. The only clue is that you can see more details of the landing bay. Now, imagine if you did buy Paragrafix's photo-etch kit and put it in there.....

So, there you have it. Just a simple exploratory post. Of course the lighting can be improved by designing a board and populate it with smaller LEDs like the one above. And the board must be thinner, not those conventional 1.6mm circuit boards we are so used to. Until I see these boards being available where I live, its not going to happen. I just don't want to endanger anymore Viper pilots who forgets to fly low during landing.