I finished it! This kit, including lights, required the biggest time investment of anything I have built yet. Several times throughout the process of building I wondered whether the finished product would be worth it, and the results have indeed been impressive.
When I first entertained the idea of lighting the kit, I had no idea what to expect. The instructions seemed easy enough for a beginner, but I had no idea what I was getting into. Seven months, several broken micro drill bits, LED connections that did not work initially, and a few cramped drilling fingers later, I checked off one of my bucket list items and successfully lit a model kit.
A few thoughts on the finished kit:
-This was a great kit to try out lighting. The scale was large enough that even the smallest holes did not cause too much frustration. The instructions from Mad Man Lighting were really excellent and helped this beginner a ton! One tip if you buy the lighting kit: buy some extra red hookup wire. I ran out pretty quickly.
-The out-of-the-box kit from Revell did not come with a display stand. I found this odd, considering there is no landing gear or any other way to display it. As a result, I bought the large display base made by Polar Lights. Once I found the balance point on the underside, it was easy to drill a hole and install the ball joint base attachment. I also tried to turn the all black base into an attempt at a starfield. It did not move much past the attempt phase. Maybe someday I will come back to it.
-For finishing touches, I added a light wash with some weathering marks on various small parts of the ship. I typically do not weather my Imperial/Republic ships too excessively in order to reinforce the idea that everything is mass-produced and could be churned out in a short time.
Overall, this is a fun and straightforward model kit. It’s simplicity allows for a lot of experimenting with lighting, and I am glad I took that plunge. Despite my success with this kit, I don’t plan on doing more lighting for a while. It was a lot of work that I don’t have a lot of time for in this stage of life. I can, however, foresee some potentially great kits to light in the future. But that is for another post, some other day…
Today I finally threaded the last fiber on the Republic Cruiser! There is still a lot of work to do, but it feels good to not have to drill anymore tiny holes or thread fiber through them. I also recently checked some of my LED connections and got the first glimpse of the lighted engines. Actually seeing some of the fruit of my work was encouraging and gave me hope that the final project will look really great. I can see the end of the project drawing near. Maybe I will at least finish within a year of starting it…
I was fortunate enough to squeeze in minutes of work here and there the last couple weekends and made some great progress on the top of the Republic Cruiser. I was back in my comfort zone of primarily paint work.
The instructions called for a lot more variation from the base color for some of the details. I just felt that it looks better with a more monochromatic look. I mostly used variations of light and dark ghost gray.
All of the lighting is done for the top and bottom halves, with the engines the only parts left. I am finally seeing the end on this kit, and I really hope that the final product looks as good as the hours invested in it.
What happened to the summer?! I had such great plans to finish my Star Destroyer kit, and here I am still chugging along with school about to start again.
Here is a brief look at what I did accomplish this summer:
Before doing any lighting I assembled and painted the ship’s belly. The red stripes were masked and the rest of the painting was a simple base coat with darker highlighted areas.
When it came time to start drilling holes for the fiber optics, I was pretty enthusiastic. A few holes in and a couple broken bits later, and I was ready to throw everything across the room. In the process so far, I have considered several times whether this lighting endeavor was going to be worth it. There is a lot of tedium and time investment involved, but I have committed and want to see it completed. So I truck along.
In the picture above I tried to show the initial placement of the fiber optics. Here, I have installed the larger diameter fibers. I followed these with a whole bunch of small fibers along all the sides of the ship. Finally, I attached LEDs to the fiber bundles and the side panel lighting is complete.
As of right now, I am working on the bridge and tower lighting, and I am getting more comfortable with the whole process. It is still tedious and time-consuming, but I have more hope that the end result will be worth it and that there actually will be an end result…sometime…
Normally I would be much more ambitious than trying to finish only one model over the summer, but my building speed is considerably hindered these days. Between a five-month old baby and some other house projects, I have my hands quite full this year. In addition, I am trying something new on the next kit: fiber optic lighting!
This summer I will be working on the Republic-era Star Destroyer made by Revell. This is the only Revell Star Wars kit I know of that is not snap fit, and so far I am happy with the quality. I know that Revell makes quality non-Star Wars kits, but many of the snap kits are cheap looking, so I was not sure what to expect.
I bought a lighting kit from Madman Lighting with great directions and photos to help with assembly. I am still a little nervous about lighting, but I will be posting along the way for anyone else who wants to undertake such a project. Whether I finish by the end of summer or not, I will definitely stay busy!