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Polar Lights 1:350 NCC-1701A Lighting

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  • Member since
    July, 2005
  • From: The Berkshires/Western Massachusetts
Polar Lights 1:350 NCC-1701A Lighting
Posted by pittsfieldpete on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:39 AM

Hello:

I just purchased Polar Lights' 2017 release of the Star Trek 1:350 NCC-1701A (refit) Enterprise kit as a companion to the PL 1:350 TOS Enterprise. For TOS 1701 I was able to acquire photo etch details & a great lighting kit easily because they were released by Polar Lights.

I contacted Polar Lights (Round 2) directly to ask them if they intend to release a PE set & lighting kit for the 1701A but they said no, they have no plans to do so. I did buy their Aztec decal sheet but nothing else is offered. 

Does anyone know if there's a good PE set available? How about a nice lighting kit? I'm aware it would take a bit more work to install lighting in the 1701A, but I'd really like to find a good lighting kit for the warp engines, impulse engine, deflector dish, running lights, windows, etc.

Please pass on any advice. Thanks to you all. 

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 11:24 AM

The Paragraphix PE set is pretty much standard for the Refit these days, but PNT and Green Strawberry also have similar offerings.

Lighting kits are available through Starship Modeler, Big Easy Modelling Solutions, Starling Tech, Tena Controls, and Madman Lighting.

Advice? The refit Connie is labor intensive to get her to the point where you can light her up, because she was not engineered to be lit. Take a look at the saucer walls for proof of that. A lot of milling, drilling, carving, and sanding are needed to open up the pylons for wiring, prepping for raytheon, opening the photon torpedo bay, and so forth. The plastic is a bit goofy in that it mills better than it cuts, so get a couple of different sized cylinder burrs for this initial work.

A lot of circuits in this - a variable bench power supply is a huge help. Test constantly, particularly if this sort of electronics work isn't something you're used to doing. Once things are sealed up, circuits or components that burn out are hard to replace, so test the rig, then test it again before you commit to sealing things.

If you buy individual components, take the time to plan the wiring harness out on paper before you build it. Once things start coming together, you realize how little room there actually is inside the model. An ounce of planning saves a lot of headaches - know where your wires run before you create a nest of loose wires because there are a lot of windows.

Goofy plastic - clean it thoroughly, then clean it again or the oils and heavy mold release will mess with you down the road. Light block carefully because it will pick up light and glow like crazy.

Building a jig to hold things steady is a huge help - big model with a shifting center of gravity, so it really helps to be able to lock it in place.

  • Member since
    March, 2004
  • From: Kincheloe Michigan
Posted by Mikeym_us on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5:49 PM

If that big kit was not meant to be lit up Round2 really goofed up then because you have alot of clear parts in that kit and the secondary hull has so much space in it that you can fit lights into it same goes for the saucer and the nacells. And the hangar bay/cargo bay area needs to be lit up just so you can see it.

KnightTemplar5150

The Paragraphix PE set is pretty much standard for the Refit these days, but PNT and Green Strawberry also have similar offerings.

Lighting kits are available through Starship Modeler, Big Easy Modelling Solutions, Starling Tech, Tena Controls, and Madman Lighting.

Advice? The refit Connie is labor intensive to get her to the point where you can light her up, because she was not engineered to be lit. Take a look at the saucer walls for proof of that. A lot of milling, drilling, carving, and sanding are needed to open up the pylons for wiring, prepping for raytheon, opening the photon torpedo bay, and so forth. The plastic is a bit goofy in that it mills better than it cuts, so get a couple of different sized cylinder burrs for this initial work.

A lot of circuits in this - a variable bench power supply is a huge help. Test constantly, particularly if this sort of electronics work isn't something you're used to doing. Once things are sealed up, circuits or components that burn out are hard to replace, so test the rig, then test it again before you commit to sealing things.

If you buy individual components, take the time to plan the wiring harness out on paper before you build it. Once things start coming together, you realize how little room there actually is inside the model. An ounce of planning saves a lot of headaches - know where your wires run before you create a nest of loose wires because there are a lot of windows.

Goofy plastic - clean it thoroughly, then clean it again or the oils and heavy mold release will mess with you down the road. Light block carefully because it will pick up light and glow like crazy.

Building a jig to hold things steady is a huge help - big model with a shifting center of gravity, so it really helps to be able to lock it in place.

 

On the workbench: Dragon 1/350 scale Ticonderoga class USS BunkerHill 1/720 scale Italeri USS Harry S. Truman 1/72 scale Encore Yak-6

The 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron the only Squadron to get an Air to Air kill and an Air to Ground kill in the same week with only a F-15   http://photobucket.com/albums/v332/Mikeym_us/

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:03 PM

Take  a look at the saucer, Mike - there is a wall behind each bank of windows that needs to be removed in order to light it. The engineering hull has plenty of windows, but no way to pass wiring in without modification and switching out the stand. The e-hull has no ready access to pass wiring up the neck and into the saucer without putting holes into the stongback and the lower half of the saucer. The pylons have to be modified to route all the wiring up to the engine nacelles. If you want to light up the torpedo tubes, you have to modify the wall which separates the compartment from the rest of the neck. Yes, R2 goofed, but that's the reality of things .This is why R2 has a lighting kit for the TOS, but not the Refit.

 

The refit Connie isn't the same build as the PL TOS 1:350 because they have addressed a lot of those types of issues with the third kit in their 1:350 series.. Can it be lit? Sure, but it wasn't engineered for it - those modifications are up to the builder to perform. And once you get the lights and wiring into the ship, you'll see how quickly all that space disappears once the arboretum and hangar are in place. 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2004
  • From: Kincheloe Michigan
Posted by Mikeym_us on Thursday, April 27, 2017 7:19 PM

Try using magnet wire that stuff will fit anywhere.

KnightTemplar5150

Take  a look at the saucer, Mike - there is a wall behind each bank of windows that needs to be removed in order to light it. The engineering hull has plenty of windows, but no way to pass wiring in without modification and switching out the stand. The e-hull has no ready access to pass wiring up the neck and into the saucer without putting holes into the stongback and the lower half of the saucer. The pylons have to be modified to route all the wiring up to the engine nacelles. If you want to light up the torpedo tubes, you have to modify the wall which separates the compartment from the rest of the neck. Yes, R2 goofed, but that's the reality of things .This is why R2 has a lighting kit for the TOS, but not the Refit.

 

The refit Connie isn't the same build as the PL TOS 1:350 because they have addressed a lot of those types of issues with the third kit in their 1:350 series.. Can it be lit? Sure, but it wasn't engineered for it - those modifications are up to the builder to perform. And once you get the lights and wiring into the ship, you'll see how quickly all that space disappears once the arboretum and hangar are in place. 

 

 

On the workbench: Dragon 1/350 scale Ticonderoga class USS BunkerHill 1/720 scale Italeri USS Harry S. Truman 1/72 scale Encore Yak-6

The 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron the only Squadron to get an Air to Air kill and an Air to Ground kill in the same week with only a F-15   http://photobucket.com/albums/v332/Mikeym_us/

  • Member since
    October, 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:16 PM

From he sound of it, you have quite a project comming up.  Assuming you do get through it, I have a question that's been bugging me.

How will you get the spotlight effects on the saucer, hull and necelles like they have on the movies?  To have them illuminate the name, numbers, and other markings wouildn't you need lenses and more powerful lights than most lighting kits contain?

 

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Thursday, May 04, 2017 11:18 PM

Most of the commercially available lighting kits use an LED which mounts under the bridge to illuminate the registry markings on the saucer. It requires modifying the height of the bridge and moving it approximately 1/8th of an inch forward of the kit location marks. The bare LED (no lens for focus) throws out plenty of light, so no major problems beyond aiming the bulb.

The smaller markings are often illuminated from within the model, an approach which has become known as the raytheon method. In areas like the nacelles, a bulb is placed against the bare plastic behind where the light is supposed to shine. If done correctly, the effect is impressive, but careful control over the thickness of the paint is critical. Too thick and it doesn't work as well; too thin and the lights become overwhelming and they tend to pick up the edges of decals and heavy paint ridges.

I ordered a raytheon lighting kit earlier today from Big Easy Modeling Solutions which contains all of the paint masks and light boxes for the effects. The boxes ensure that the light from the LEDs stays concentrated and bright, but also prevent the lights from bleed over from other parts of the light system. They appear to be 3D printed items, but I'll verify that next week when the kit is supposed to arrive in the mail.

Other builders have explored using dental mirrors and the mirrors mechanics use while inspecting engines to reflect light back onto the model. This is the same approach the SFX teams used for these spots in the motion pictures. It really looks the part, but it requires a lot of ingenuity to rig a permanent display this way. I chose the raytheon method because it just seems easier to do.

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Thursday, May 04, 2017 11:28 PM
Before I forget - SMDs (surface mounted diodes) are pretty popular for spotlight effects. They are tiny little suckers that throw off a LOT of light. They don't have a lens or bulb like a traditional LED. These are perfect for the spots which run up the sides of the pylons, up on the neck, and the spotlights in the front end of the nacelles.They are bright enough to stay sharp and focused under a layer of crystal kleer if you feel like modeling the lenses over the ports. I pick mine up from HDA Modelworx already wired up with leads and a resistor for 12v operation. These would NOT be fun to solder unless you have access to a resistance soldering station because they are so bleeding tiny. Having them arrive assembled for install is really the only way to go. Well worth the modest investment.
  • Member since
    March, 2004
  • From: Kincheloe Michigan
Posted by Mikeym_us on Sunday, May 07, 2017 8:08 PM

I've gotten my SMD's from EBay for under $6 for a pack of 20 straight from China already wired for 12V And a pack of 10 for under $3 from the same seller. These light up with 9v without blowing outpretty bright. I just got a variable bench power supply so I'm going to try to see how bright they get at 12V.

KnightTemplar5150
Before I forget - SMDs (surface mounted diodes) are pretty popular for spotlight effects. They are tiny little suckers that throw off a LOT of light. They don't have a lens or bulb like a traditional LED. These are perfect for the spots which run up the sides of the pylons, up on the neck, and the spotlights in the front end of the nacelles.They are bright enough to stay sharp and focused under a layer of crystal kleer if you feel like modeling the lenses over the ports. I pick mine up from HDA Modelworx already wired up with leads and a resistor for 12v operation. These would NOT be fun to solder unless you have access to a resistance soldering station because they are so bleeding tiny. Having them arrive assembled for install is really the only way to go. Well worth the modest investment.
 

On the workbench: Dragon 1/350 scale Ticonderoga class USS BunkerHill 1/720 scale Italeri USS Harry S. Truman 1/72 scale Encore Yak-6

The 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron the only Squadron to get an Air to Air kill and an Air to Ground kill in the same week with only a F-15   http://photobucket.com/albums/v332/Mikeym_us/

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, May 08, 2017 7:33 AM

Hope ya'll don't mind me following along here. I'd never heard of the raytheon technique or SMDs. I'd always wondered how modelers get that awesome spotlight effect, I had no idea! 

You've given me some interesting ideas whenever I get around to building mine. 

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." -G.K. Chesterton

 

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Monday, May 08, 2017 10:58 AM

Gamera - the URL address below will redirect you to a build done by Ian Lawrence, the fellow who is credited with popularizing the raytheon lighting method, if not actually inventing it. He addresses a lot of the issues a builder faces with this monster kit that you don't see very often, including creating dry transfer markings to preserve the pearlescent finish, vac forming light boxes, and correcting the geometry of the warp engine nacelles to match the photos of the studio model taken at the Christie's auction. If you are looking for new ideas for your build, these pages are filled with alternative techniques and approaches which you might enjoy - 

http://www.ianlawrencemodels.com/wipplentcom.html

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 11:41 AM

Ohhhhhhhhhh, thanks!!! 

Going to bookmark that site and have a good read when I get some more time on my hands. Only thing is I'm been afraid to start such a large kit in fear of burning out part way though. With all this work I'm worried I'll be in even worse shape! Embarrassed

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." -G.K. Chesterton

 

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Lakewood, CO
Posted by kenjitak on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:27 AM

I have to admit, I have the 1/350 refit kit, lighting kit, masks and decals for the"Aztecing" and have read up and followed a number of builds. Every once in awhile I'll take the box down and look through all the parts and after-market bits and by them am totally intimidated and barely have the energy to lift it back up on the shelf. However, each time I do that I have a little more experience and the intimidation effect is less, so I expect I'll take it on sooner rather than later.

Ken

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 2:46 AM

Don't let the size of the model intimidate you, guys. Sure, she's labor intensive and certainly not a shake and bake kind of build, but it will be deeply rewarding.

I have always been a firm believer in the "Eight P Philosophy" of 'proper prior planning and preparation prevent p**s poor performance' and this is one of those builds that will test you on how well you plan and prep. Take the time to dry fit everything - tape it together if necessary, but careful study will point out where the kit falls short. Once you identify a problem, you can plan a solution before ever applying a drop of glue or paint.

On another note, I received the Cutting Edge Electronics raytheon kit from Big Easy Modeling Solutions for my build. As I had suspected, the light boxes for this effect are 3D printed pieces. A set of masks is included for light blocking and painting. Dry fits look good and the parts are well proportioned. Looks promising, so I'll tinker with it this weekend.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:26 AM

Good advice KT, thanks!

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." -G.K. Chesterton

 

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