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How to defuse lighting in a model kit Options
Markwarren
#1 Posted : 25 November 2020 21:38:42

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In this chapter, I will be explaining how to defuse lighting in a model kit. If you have a model that requires lighting up from the inside, for example the Titanic, the star ship Enterprise or any similar model, then hopefully this will interest you.
I will use the USS Enterprise I recently completed as a reference, but any similar kit needing lighting will use the same technique.
The two main sources of lighting I use are LED lights and strip lighting. Depending on the size of your model will dictate what you will use, for example, if the model is small, then LED lighting will be the option you may prefer. If you have a large-scale model, the likes of a ship with many port holes to light up, you may want to use strip lighting.
Strip lighting is made up of many LED lights pre-wired to a strip that can be cut to size via the “cut here” marks on the strip. Most cut marks tend to be every 4 or 5 LED’s. They also come with an adhesive side that is very easy to apply to the model, holding the lighting firmly in place. They can also be bent around corners, although creating a fold is not recommended.
The single LED lights can also be used, but you will require many of these in a large model. It would be a better option if space is limited inside. You may also want to have a combination of strip lighting and individual LED’s wired up in different parts of the model.

Most LED strip lighting will require an input voltage of between 9 and 12 volts. All the model kits I have made have all been geared up to use a 9-volt power supply. So, my single LED’s were also made to take the same voltage using the required resistor as explained in my previous post about “How to apply Fiber Optic Lighting”.

Once you have made the decision on which lighting you will use, we will now look at defusing the light. For this example, I will show some pictures of the Enterprise build I did to show how this is done.
If you have plastic windows or port holes that will need to be glued in, you can rub the inside of the clear parts with sandpaper to frost the windows. This will stop the intense glow of the lighting inside. Now you may also want to black out some of the windows. This can be done by painting a good coat of black paint over and around the window. You may also want to cover those areas with a tape of some kind.
You will see when constructing the Enterprise model, I used a fine tissue paper that was placed over the open lit windows. This is a great way to defuse the lighting giving an even light source all around.

One last note, you can defuse an individual LED light. LED’s tend to have an intense light at the end, a bit like a torch rather than around its sides. Using a file and some sandpaper you can file the end of the LED off to make a square end, being careful not to sand too much. Then sandpaper the edges to frost the whole LED bulb, this will then create an even light all round once lit.

If anyone has any questions on this topic then feel free to ask.

Mark
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