This page is part of my Model Remodel series of articles.
DISCLAIMER: If you choose to attempt any of these modifications, you assume all risks thereof. I just wanted to share my experiences here. Neither Fanhome, nor myself, are responsible for any damages that may occur.
Creating the UV Resin Windows – Deck Two
After tackling the upper saucer Deck Panels, we can now focus on the Bridge/Deck Two assembly we built back in Stage 1.
Getting started, I removed the Bridge (Part 01D), Bridge Base (01C), Deck Two Front Windows (01E), and Deck Front Window Reflector (01F). This opened up the flat windows on top of Deck Two (01A) and gave me room to lay the UV Resin Tape into place:
As before, I carefully poured the UV resin into each window opening from the back side. I filled each window to just below the thickness of the Deck Two panel itself:
After removing any bubbles and curing the windows with my UV light, I removed the tape. These windows turned out great!
Again following the lighting pattern of the four-foot shooting model, I painted the backs of these windows accordingly:
Preparing the Deck Two Front Windows for Painting
UPDATE: I have since created shareable digital versions of my 4-foot studio model Dark Window window lighting pattern in a single PATTERN GUIDE!
Interestingly enough, all of the front windows of Deck Two were dark on the four-foot model. Therefore, to black them all out at once, I used a Razor Saw to cut the front section off of the Deck Two Front Windows, as shown:
Since I still wanted to use the rear section of these Deck Two Front Windows as a diffuser below the new resin windows, I needed to remove all of the existing ‘tabs’. This was accomplished by first cutting them off with sprue cutters:
Then, I sanded the panel smooth:
As the Deck Front Window Reflector (which holds the LEDs) sits underneath and behind these window parts, I wanted to make sure no light would leak out from the front edge of it. As I will be using paint to do this, I masked off the rounded front edge of the reflector.
These Deck Two parts were then set aside so I could move on to the Bridge assembly. This way I could do all of the painting at one time:
Updating the Lit Windows Pattern on the Bridge Base
The stock model has every single window lit around the perimeter of our Bridge Base, but I have always felt this was a bit too bright. Upon looking at screenshots of the four-foot model, I found most of these windows should actually be dark. The easy way to fix this would be to just paint over the windows that should be dark, however I sanded these windows to be nice and flush to the hull and did not want to mess that up.
Instead, I decided to go a different route and find a way to separate the lit and unlit windows. As the Bridge Front Window (01I) and Bridge Rear Window (01J) parts are lit from the same pieces of plastic, I knew my idea would be a bit tricky:
I created this diagram where I marked the lit and dark windows and figured out which section of each reflector needed to be ‘dark’. These would become the pieces or ‘tabs’ I needed to remove:
Using my Razor Saw again, I carefully cut up my Bridge Rear Window per my diagram. The cut edges were then sanded:
Cutting the Bridge Front Window was a bit more involved. I used the Razor Saw to first cut notches into the part as per my diagram:
As the saw cannot cut the bases of each ‘tab’ I needed to remove, I used my hobby knife to cut deep grooves between the notches:
Then, I used needle-nose pliers to ‘snap’ off each tab (away from the groove I cut). The rubber band was used to protect the plastic:
The same process was used to remove all of the tabs I wanted to be dark. The cut edges were then sanded to remove any burrs:
Painting the Dark Windows and Diffusion
As with the saucer windows, there are parts that need to be dark and others that need diffusion. First, I airbrushed the front section of the Deck Two Front Windows, front edge of the Deck Front Window Reflector, and the tabs of the Bridge windows I cut off earlier with Vallejo Model Air Black 71.057 acrylic paint:
To make sure the outer window surfaces were free of any overspray, I used some Isopropyl Alcohol to wipe off any excess paint:
Next, I hand-painted the edges of the Bridge Window parts with the same black paint. I also used my Turquoise Brush Sharpie to color the Observation Lounge windows of the Bridge Rear Window section light blue:
Finally, I airbrushed the flattened rear section of the Deck Two Front Windows with a thin layer of Vallejo Model Air White 71.001:
Preparing the Bridge for a Beacon Light
One thing noticeably missing from our Enterprise D model is the flashing beacon light on top of the saucer. I have seen other builders add this beacon to their models, and many of them put it behind the bridge dome. This location is correct based on the six-foot studio model, but I am basing my modifications on the newer four-foot model which has the beacon closer to the center of the saucer.
I decided to place my beacon light in the rounded area forward of the bridge dome. I twisted the tip of my hobby knife to start a tiny pilot hole, then finished the hole with a 1 mm bit in a Pin Vise Drill:
This hole needed to be drilled down through both the Bridge and the Bridge Base:
I could have just popped an LED up through this hole, but I wanted to have it look like an tiny bulb as on the real model. Since the paint was drying anyway, I decided to attempt this effect by first cutting a short length of 1mm plastic end glow fiber optic cable and sanding the ends:
Next, I mixed some UV Resin with a drop of white paint until the resin was ‘milky’. Dipping the end of the fiber optic into the resin while holding it vertically allows the resin to create a small ball on the end:
After curing this resin ball with UV light, I had a nice little ‘bulb’ on the end of my fiber optic. I set this piece aside for now:
Once the paint dried, I could start reassembling my entire Bridge/Deck Two assembly. First, I placed the painted front section of the Deck Two Front Windows into place:
The white painted rear section of the Deck Two Front Windows went in next to act as a diffuser.
NOTE: You can see the Bridge assembly installed in these pictures, but it was only temporary. The actual installation will come up next:
Then, the Deck Front Window Reflector was reinstalled. The original screws can be reused:
Continuing on, I placed all of the various Bridge Window pieces back into the Bridge Base:
I used super glue to hold some of these smaller pieces in place:
The Bridge Lights LEDs can then be reinstalled:
Next, I retrieved my Beacon Light fiber optic piece and inserted it down through the hole I drilled earlier:
The fiber optic itself passes between the wires of the Bridge Front Windows LED. I used a drop of super glue to hold it in place:
The Bridge Base assembly was then re-attached to the Deck Two Base:
Lighting the Beacon
To illuminate my Beacon Light, I purchased a 25-pack of pre-wired warm white 0402 micro LEDs:
I felt the light of these LEDs was a little too ‘purple’, so I colored the entire LED head with my Yellow Brush Sharpie:
These micro LEDs are designed for three (3) volts DC at 5mA. However, I am using 5 VDC main power so I needed to solder a ¼ Watt 470 Ohm resistor inline to bring the current down to the correct value:
The resistor was then sealed inside heat-shrink tubing:
Using a tiny drop of UV Resin, I placed the LED facing down towards the end of the fiber optic. A few quick blasts of UV light and it locked itself in place.
To protect this connection (and the fiber) I sealed a small piece of heat shrink tubing over this joint. You can see the black tubing placed over the wires of the LED here, waiting to be slid down over the joint:
That’s it! I wanted a quick test of my Beacon Light mod, so I hooked it up to 5 VDC. When turned on it is a nice warm golden color…
… and a dull white when turned off. The light bulbs on the studio models were grossly out of scale, so I feel this little ball is very authentic!
UPDATE: After seeing my Bridge section lit with the stock LEDs, I was not happy with how bright the windows were and how much light spilled out onto Deck Two. Therefore, I removed the forward LED completely and created a new rear LED assembly. The LED Strips light the front windows fine from below. Then, I connected a 3K Warm White 2x3x4mm Square LED (from eBay) with a 1K Ohm Resistor to a 2-pin JST PH pre-wired male plug:
This LED was installed in the rear section to give the Observation Lounge (and the Bridge Dome) a warm yellow glow. The 1K Resistor dimmed the LED so it was not too bright:
REASSEMBLY – Upper Saucer – Getting it back in one piece