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Lightproofing A Big Illuminated Star Ship

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  • Member since
    July, 2005
  • From: The Berkshires/Western Massachusetts
Lightproofing A Big Illuminated Star Ship
Posted by pittsfieldpete on Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:46 AM

Hello! I'm looking for ideas about preparing the Polar Lights 1/350 TOS Enterprise for lighting, specifically about how to lightproof the model so light shows only where it's supposed to & doesn't "leak" through, or doesn't make the model appear to be glowing ("Captain! She canna take much moore runnin' at Warp 22! She's gooin' to bloo if we don't sloo the beastie doon!"). Sorry about that. Anyway, I've added simple lighting to smaller models in the past with good success, but it's relatively easy to lightproof a B-9 Robot or a 1/650 Klingon D-7. I'm looking for lightproofing advice for the big Starship because I've never built such a big kit of any type, with or without lighting. I have the new Polar Lights 1/350 Refit/"Dash A" Enterprise in the building queue, too. I'd assume that any lightproofing techniques would be similar for both models. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks to all!



  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Milaca, Minnesota
Posted by falconmod on Thursday, May 18, 2017 10:18 AM

I did one of those with the lighting kit and I sprayed everything inside that wasn't a area for glue black.   then tested it by temporarily assemblying it and seeing where it leaked light.  once it was all glued together  I shot black on the outside aswell.  Lots of taping off area's which was kinda time consuming


On the Bench: 1/72 Mirage 2000c, 1/72 Ki-67

Academy 1/144 B-47E, 1/48 Dragon Fw190A-5

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:27 AM

Yeah, the fairly small things I've lighted I've had good luck with black spray paint too. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen


  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:49 PM

Flat black paint is your friend.

You could also (if theres enough room) build a box around the light on 5 sides and back the light with tinfoil. This will make the lights Very bright.

Test first..... sometimes bright light can be bad... very bad!

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".




  • Member since
    February, 2007
Posted by mitsdude on Monday, May 22, 2017 11:58 PM

I've used black paint (several coats) followed by white to help reflect interior light. I've also used black Tulip paint. I believe its primary use is for raised lettering on clothing. Its not found with regular paint.


I've also built light boxes as littletimmie mentions.

Just depends on the project.

  • Member since
    May, 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:29 AM

You could also use aluminum foil to easily cover flat areas as well as irregular shapes. It is absolutely opaque and reflects light too. Use foil adhesive to make sure it stays down.  HTH

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • From: Yorkville, IL
Posted by wolfhammer1 on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 10:08 PM

I've never lighted a ship, so I've never tried this, but the thought occurred to me.  Spray the insides with a coat of flat black, then spray a coat of chrome silver.  The black under the silver should provide a kind of mirrored surface effect, concentrating the light while blocking it from showing through the plastic.  Has anyone tried this? 


  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, May 27, 2017 9:53 AM

Aluminum paint is very opaque.  Aluminum dope is sprayed as the first coat of color on doped fabric on real planes because it prevents most of the UV in sunlight from penetrating to the fabric.  Any paint with aluminum powder pigment is good at stopping light.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Bluegrass
Posted by robiwon on Sunday, May 28, 2017 5:58 PM

Get yourself some aluminum tape in the heating and AC section of your local home improvement store.


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