Nautilus Submarine & Fiber Optics!
Created, written and submitted by Ken Morgan
These are two project photos of the resin Nautilus submarine model. I just wanted to say thanks again for all of your help with the fiber optics portion of this project. The fiber optic lighting added the perfect visual “pop” and brought this model to life.
Sub Interior Attachment: At this stage of my project, the two halves of the submarine’s inside hull has been painted with glow in the dark hobby paint. The bright LED from the Model Illuminator 1000M produced a sufficient amount of light to charge the paint and give the sub an eerie green glow for up to 10 minutes after the light had been switched off. Cheap and easy, I thought that this extra “glow” added to the lighting effects of the model. I also added color enhancements to the two bigger salon windows on each half of the hull. I cut a square of clear yellow wrapping paper (Great idea, Paul!) and doubled it over onto itself. I then used Model Masters Clear Plastic Cement to seal the doubled up piece onto itself, creating one two ply piece of clear yellow wrapping paper. The two ply yellow paper achieved the desired color enhancement for the salon windows that I was looking for. I used the same clear plastic cement to secure the yellow paper to the interior of the sub hull behind the windows. I added four tiny strips of scotch tape to each corner of the paper for added sticking power. Once the two halves have been glued together, repairs would be impossible. The two wheelhouse windows were left clear. The color variation between the bright white of the wheelhouse windows and the yellow of the salon windows worked well.
I used the 64 stand cable to carry the light from the Illuminator to the model. The 64 strand worked well for my project for several reasons. The strand’s diameter was small and therefore compatible with my 12 inch model, yet still carried enough light from the source to the interior of the sub. The 64 strand is also very flexible, allowing for angles and turns. Needing to feed light to only one source, the sub’s interior, the cable was the most practical choice. The plastic sheath protected the fiber optics from damage and contained possible light leaks.
The plastic sheath was cut away at the very tip of the cable that carried light into the model. Using a candle, I flared the end of the fiber optics and then buffed the flare with sandpaper. This technique helped to scatter the light as it spilled from the fiber optic cable. I then threaded the cable through a hole that I drilled into the back and underneath side of the resin model. Using Elmer’s glue, (CA glue can leave unprotected fiber optic strands brittle) I secured the cable to the top interior of the model. I also added some Squadron Green Putty around the drill hole for a complete seal. Once the two hull halves were glued, I would have little concern with cable jostling.
Switch: After glue and final paint applications, I attached the model/cable to the light source using Heat Shrink Tubing (HST). The model was then set in place and the fiber optic cable was run to the back of the diorama where the light source was set in place. I used commercial grade duck tape to secure the cable to the base of the display and covered over the cable with aquarium sand. I mounted the switch of the Model Illuminator 1000M to wooden dowels that I cut three inches tall. I inserted the dowels into pre-drilled holes and shored them up with more Elmer’s glue. The compact and simple design of the Illuminator 1000M made for easy hiding and easy access.
Thank you Ken for an awesome contribution… great detail and written guide !