Project by Mark Lovett
“I have to say that I am very pleased with the outcome of this project. The wonderful materials purchased at the Fiber Optic Store gave this ship life. The 1000M Illuminator is a top notch source of light for any project.”
This particular model kit produced by AMT/Ertl is a snap assembly model kit. It’s large hull assembly made it ideal for installing lighting with a few modifications. I researched this project quite extensively and used suggestions provided by Marc King in the January 1999 issue of FineScale Modeler magazine.
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To begin with the navigational deflector array, the bussard collectors, warp nacelles and impulse engines are all cast in solids. I was able to re-cast successfully the bussard collectors in clear resin using the Precious Impressions Crystal Memories Keepsake Kit available at your local craft store among other places. For the other items I cut the grille patterns from them and replaced it with black nylon screen and pieces of clear styrene sheet cut to fit. I then painted the backs of the new
parts using Tamiya clear red and clear blue.
Working on the top of the main hull I removed the eight round discs in the warp core area and also the recessed areas of the two impulse reactors. From the inside I glued clear styrene to cover the new openings and then painted them with the clear blue and red paint.
After trimming all the pieces of the model and masking the re worked areas I sprayed the inside with two coats of flat gray primer to prevent light bleeding through the assembly. Next I lined the inside with aluminum foil to reflect the light throughout the inside of the ship.
The next step was to install the strands of fiber optic for lighting. For the windows I chose to use .75 diameter filaments. Six pieces were installed in the upper nose assembly and seventy-two pieces in the lower section. I also added holes in four locations to accommodate 1.0 diameter filaments to act as spot lights. The effect turned out well.
To power this model I again made a power supply/display stand using the pin and socket type connector and the brass tube from a ceiling lamp. This project is using a 9v wall plug in.
The source of light I chose to use for this project was three 1000M Illuminators. Two of the illuminators were placed in the forward bottom half of the main hull and the third was modified by placing it inside of a solid plastic tube and then glued in place to offer more support for the larger diameter fibers. I am extremely pleased with the ease in using these illuminators.
Next I began installing the navigation lights. For this I used 3mm LED’s (light emitting diodes). Three white, four red and four green LED’s where used. 3mm’s is actually to big to be in scale so I very careful folded the light leads back on themselves, inserted the light into a dremel and on low speed held a small file against it until I had removed enough material for it to fit in a hole drilled with a #60 drill bit. Once all the lights were to the proper size I built my light circuit. I went to my local electronic supply store and bought a kit for alternating flashing LED’s. It was quite simple to put together and gives a very realistic look to the finished model. I put the white LED’s opposite the red and green.
After testing the circuits I glued the lights into place and closed up the model. As I stated earlier this is a snap together but after stuffing it full of wire and fiber optics gluing it together is the only way to go. There are several bad gaps that must be filled along both sides of the ship. After the putty cured and I sanded away the rough spots I tested the lights again. Verifying that everything was still working I cleaned it up and prepared for the paint stage. After painting the entire assembly I applied the decals and touched up any areas that might have been missed before. I have not weathered it yet but plan to do so in the near future after which I will apply a coat of dullkoat which will help to blend some of the sharp paint lines.
The final photos of this project do not do it justice. In person, the Fiber Optic Lighting is very impressive!
Thanks Again Mark…. Another awesome project!
Prior to this, Mark submitted another project to The Fiber Optic Store.com.
Click Here to go to Mark’s other contribution: U.S.S. Voyager with Fiber Optic Lighting
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