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arcaneruler

LED lighting in models

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I'm new to this forum. I would like to apologise in advance for my dumb noob question. I have recently become interested in adding LED lights to plastic model kits. I was just wondering if you needed a special model meant for this, or if basically any kit can be modified to do this.

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Not a noob question at all; most folks are not really interested in lighting, or are a bit intimidated by it.  Like any other modeling process, it's really just time and patience.  With work, *almost* any model have added lighting.  I've seen it most frequently in ships and scifi subjects, and occasionally automotive.  It's rare to see it on aircraft (though I've seen it used for afterburner effects).  There are a few companies that offer lighting kits for popular models, or generic kits if you want to DIY.  Also seems like a lot of kit mfgs are coming out with add-on lighting kits, such as the Polar Light kits for the 1/350 Trek Enterprise and Klingon cruiser.  Tamiya had some very neat airplane kits that had components (though not lights) to motorize the prop along with a sound board to create a realistic engine sound at start-up.

Obviously, you'll need a model that has somewhere to put the electronic components.  This could rule out a lot of resin kits as they're solid.  I suppose you *could* take the time to try and hollow out room for it, but seems a bit much.  For me, I focus on things like the USS Enterprise (Trek), or the RMS Titanic.  I do like the added 'punch' a good lighting job can give.  Lately I've been giving some thought to a USS Enterprise CV-6 (WWII aircraft carrier) with a detailed and lit hangar deck.

Depending on the kit, lighting can be a challenge.  You have to make sure the assemblies are leak-proof, there are proper structures to support it, and even things that may not be readily apparent like scale effect.  For example, using modern bright-white LEDs in a Titanic model wouldn't look quite right, as the tone of the light in the early 1900's would have been more yellow - so use of a yellowish LED or filters could make a difference.  

I believe a recent Fine Scale Modeler had an article on doing lighting as well.

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I did an old Hasegawa 1/700 USS ESSEX kit. No hangar bay or open doors, so had to do all that first. this was before led stuff, so it is a 3 volt grain of rice bulbs, wires hidden in the base and under the flight deck in a channel.

I liked the result.

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EJ

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