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as my mind relaxes, more ideas would come and so, these would change and therefore, the nores on this blog would be outdated.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.