1/20 Neuspotter

This is the re-issued Neuspotter from Wave which, for as long as I could remember, every ma.k Fan was clamouring for this Legendary model. The original model was a mixed multimedia and from what I understood from the ‘Net, part of the mold for its lower half was lost. Wave did an amazing job of re-creating the lost parts and also retooled the metal ones as plastic (hooray!). Initially, I did not plan on getting one because, seriously, it is so weird. But once I read a little bout it, and with some parts donated from an MPC Star Wars AT-AT walker, I became interested.

And then, there was Eddie. Who the Hell is Eddie?

02.12.2019 01:
(But ran out of ideas after opening my Wallet… 😭). I purposely chose the dented box so that other customers get to have a better box and thus, the stocks move faster which leads to more models coming in. It’s a crazy idea and I do not get anything in return except the privilege of getting this model.

Aaaannnd, since I don’t have a permanent place for storing my stash, the boxes get dented after falling off or get kicked anyway.
07.12.2019 02:
So my Neuspotter got beaten up and left rusting…
I found an extra piece of plastic pipe in my spare parts bin. Using the cigarette lighter, I melted and bent the pipe to make it look as if someone had attacked it.

There is a lot of hollow space inside its head for custom electronics. You know what this means?
Yeah, I’m so overwhelmed with ideas now, this model suddenly cannot be completed by the end of this year… 🤷🏻‍♂️
08.12.2019 03:
Prepping some cables in case I really want to light the bottom. Once these pieces are glued, I don’t want to separate them again. Power will definitely be coming off the model although I was tempted to modify its anti-gravity unit at first.

Will this model incorporate mechanical elements? Well see in 2020…
13.12.2019 04:
“Sir, have you ever seen the insides of a Neuspotter’s anti-gravity plasma chamber?”
“This here is a clean one and all 36 coils are intact, Sir. Yep, it’s a perfect sample, but too bad it’s just a prototype.”
16.12.2019 05:
Neuspotter Anti-gravity System

This is the basic LED block set up. Whenever I need to create a new design, I would start with the basic circuit of the microcontroller and the LEDs. I have been thinking about designing my own custom PCB where all the prototyping and programming can be done in one PCB but with the stripboards, there is no need for that. The only advantage is that I can just place the PCB onto the programmer. Right now, I have to transfer the chip from the prototype to the programmer and vice versa. The wears down both contacts on the chip and also the adaptors.

Anyway, once the test program works., I can then expand the circuit fully to test the power consumption and monitor for any abnormal behavior. Because of the small memory inside the chip, I’m limited to what sequence or pattern I can program into the chip.

“Imagine this, Sir. There are 8 anti-gravity plates and all 32 LEDs would light up simultaneously…”
Going to sleep it off first as I’m too tired to imagine anything else.
20.12.2019 06:
Got some LED sequence designed last night. The LED’s flickering made it hard to do a video which showed anything but.

The concept to this sequence had to be thought out in terms of speed and brightness. And once I got the basic sequence done, I can then expand it with various effects to make the Anti-gravity plates looked as if it has an intermittent problem.

Yeah, unless I know how to play with my Huawei’s Video setting such as frame speed, some anti-flickering etc. (ie. none), most of the videos I took was not able to capture the actual LED effects. I guess you’d have to witness it with your own eyes.
10.01.2020 06A:
How AntiGravity works

Many of you would also be asking too, how it works but once you have read the unit’s assembly manual the answer is obvious:

The AntiGravity worked because it was written so on the manual.
The how is not a question but a challenge.

So finally, I can say mine works. Because I said so too.

The basic circuit first started out with the 4 outputs from the microcontroller. Once the programming/sequence is confirmed, I expanded the 4 outputs to drive all 32 LEDs using custom PCBs. Right now, I have modified the programming further to have two different LED sequence:
1. Faulty AntiGravity sequence, and
2. ‘Normal’ operations sequence.

You can switch to either one of the sequences by a shorting a link or wire during powering up. But I am going to add in a proper switch. This might spoil the detailing or even the paint job but hey, it is my Neuspotter.

And yeah, pink LED. I mean, why not?
20.12.2019 06B:
With the prototype PCB on the way, I have to make a decision. Originally, I wanted the Neuspotter to have a movable part, something like a cannon with auto-loading of ammo. But after thinking about it, it is better to abandon this idea or else I would never get this model done.

Anyway, what I have in my hand are the Warhammer Boards, which I designed them to be fitted into certain vehicles. Long story short, they became my goto generic boards instead for when I do custom lighting on models. It has all the support components for the 5 outputs of the microprocessor, a switch option and a simple reverse polarity protection. After looking at the board, I did have some doubt why I did not use SMD resistors which could even make the board smaller. But yea, it’s so that the future designs can use real resistors in case there’s some really greedy LEDs sucking up current.

I will be using one of these boards for the Neuspotter.
24.12.2019 07:
Just for fun, this is the Neuspotter’s CPU or Brain. And this is the first scratch-build attempt, which sucked. So I created another one, which has some lights and also, a Playstation backlit (printed on a Laser Copier onto an acetate sheet). This is also the time where I wished I had a proper styrene cutter like the Chopper II. Using a normal blade or scalpel, you will end up with angled edges and/or imperfect shapes.
24.12.2019 07A:
“Decades ago, there was a rumour that 4,000 units of PlayStation were being snatched up to be used as a guidance for missiles. When the Dictator’s Palace was finally raided, they were nowhere to be found.

Today, these units are still unaccounted for and until now, it was never discovered. There were unconfirmed witnesses saying that during the raid, several World War II documents had pictures of PlayStation units being reconfigured for several secret projects. However, authorities attributed to hallucinations as the Palace had traces of unknown gas.”

Maybe it was just a myth… Maybe there was a Time Machine…
25.12.2019 08:
“I’m sorry, Sir.
He’s still downloading the Final Fantasy game onto the memory cards and we’re still looking for the Controllers…”

25.12.2019 09:
It’s a Neuspotter, not a flambĂ© maker!

“Sorry, Sir. The Engineers thought it was fun to bolt on a flamethrower and program it to hunt some deer. Besides, everyone at Base hated those Christmas rations.”
28.12.2019 10:
I’m really starting to hate soldering SMD resistor arrays. So, the easiest way to get them soldered is to get a solder mask made, coat it with solder paste and then run it under an IR oven. Yeah, that is a lot of fun if you have enough space and cash for this reflow process.

Took me hours to solder eight of these bastards because I have to keep making sure all pads are connected. Oh, don’t worry about why the circuit board looked like that. I was trying to weather it and realised lacquer paints don’t stick well to FR4 fiberglass boards as there is no ‘bite’. But I’m not losing sleep over it for not using primer or acrylics, etc. I mean, it looked crap enough already…
30.12.2019 11:
The Dangers of Leaking Plasma

“Always check and double check the Anti-gravity containment unit. Inefficient coils not only creates plasma soot built-up but also tremendous pressure from charged particles. Monitor the build up and release the pressure regularly using the electro valve.”
01.01.2020 12:
“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn him. The memory cards are so rusted that I’m surprised the programs are still running. Better warn those Engineers to always close the hatch or they’re going to do more than scrub those AntiGravity plates for a month.”

“We can’t have these Neuspotters going crazy especially this one with weapons mounted.”
24.12.2019 12A:
I cut the cover and placed it halfway down to show that it has been opened so many times, that the latching lock is spoilt.
01.01.2020 13:
“You know, I’m really up to here with you maintenance guys. While we’re trying to sort out the AntiGravity units, it won’t kill you to just replace the rusting flamethrower every once in a while.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised it’d blow up as soon as the Neuspotter uses it…”
05.01.2010 14:
You know, given the state the Neuspotter’s in, maybe Eddie should be holding a baseball bat instead…
10.01.2020 14A:
Them coils are a shiny…

Sorry for the lack of updates, Folks as Day Job suddenly got very, very demanding.

But yeah, this is the outside view of the Neuspotter’s AntiGravity unit. I was attempting to create a contrast scheme. The frames has been sprayed with Black + Steel while the ‘coils’ were masked and given a flat black + tire black mix. I am not happy about that because the coils still looked too shiny and not flat enough. So, where time allows, I will have to mask and spray a layer of thin flat clear or something.
13.01.2020 15:
Inside this 6mm neck, there would be about
29 wires going through it from one end to the other but they’re there to link all eight boards together. Only 5 would be the real ones and they would be coming out of and into the microcontroller board.

Once the LEDs arrive and soldered, it would be a real challenge to stuff all eight PCBs and wiring into the whole thing. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have glued the two halves together.

But then again, do I even listen to myself? 😜
16.02.2020 16:
Yep, that is one of the 1/20 Neuspotter panel which I lost and was deeply pissed. Sorry to those who had messaged me and I vented steam on them for this. Although I wasted hours, at least I found the part again.
11.03.2020 17:
The 35 to 53 days thang

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Every time I start a project, I have to thing about a lot of things; Will this part fit? Will it be blocked by the model once it is inside? How bright can it be? How from can it be? And so on.

This in turn means I have to wait for a ‘good’ month for some extra cash leftover to order some components for prototyping. So, that’s like 60 days gone. In the meantime, I’ll use that delay to design the prototype circuit, and refine the programing. Once the parts arrives, I’ll give myself some time to put everything together. There will be revisions after revisions until I feel the whole shebang is good enough to roll out. Then I’ll send the circuit off for a small test batch and more components. But by the time everything is competed, half a year would have easily passed.

And yeah, maybe this Neuspotter model is going to tank. The LED’s which I ordered in December has claimed to arrive in January (bit never did) so I have stupidly re-ordered again from the SAME supplier and now, it’s more than 30 days already. Maybe its the Virus but I am starting to see dust on the model. Even the dispute system with the Seller did not produce any result.

I am so tempted to just drive down to Pasar Road, get the LED’s (but they’re limited to only yellows) and continue. Heck, I still haven’t decided on its paint scheme apart from doing it all black and weather the hell out of it.
30.12.2019 17A:
“The AntiGravity Plasma plates are getting along nicely, Sir!”

“Yeah, well don’t you go firing them again until the rest of the grav modules arrive. Just look at the burnt soot all over the plates. But good job on the wiring, Private!”
Since I found a spare, I am using my Cylon Lighting System to show the Drone is operational. This was originally for the Moebius Advanced Cylon model. The system was launched around 2013 and quickly sold out within the year.

Wait a minute. This is the AI Core of the Hummel. What is this doing in the Neuspotter page?
“Look at that, Sir! The Anti-Grav Plates! They are so worn out that the plasma has blackened the ceramic safety insulation!”

“We’ll have to send for replacements, all eight of them. No, make it an order of 25.There would be enough spare plates for another two anti-grav units within the week. Plus shipping, these 25 x 7 plates are quite affordable and the manufacturers allows it in black.”

“Why black, Sir?”

“Because when the ceramics blacken again, the Super won’t notice it and we can all go off early… trust me, 10 hours of plate scrubbing and reconditioning is not exactly fun, boy.”

“And yeah, don’t send that guy out on a 2-hour’s drive just to get the components. Order it online and it’ll
come in 45 days”
23.04.2020 18:
Something is not right here…

Anyway, its late and I need to sleep. For those who are not sure what I am talking about (and I am not sure neither). For every board where I inserted the multimeter probe one, I should be getting Four lit LEDs instead of two.

Granted that the yellow takes 2.2volts and 20mA while the warm white and white would be gobbling up 3.5volts but still at 20mA, there should be 4 LEDs. I’ll figure this out later and I have already tested that there are no shorts.

I have yet to put in actual 5 volts, so this might be the reason but I’m worried. Worse is, I’ll have to swap the whites with more Yellows…
23.04.2020 19:
5 hours of Troubleshooting

5 frakking hours, people. At first, it was the shorts on the SMD resistor, which is hard for me to see since I have, um, ‘weathered’ the board. So the shorts were hiding in the gunk.

Then when the board checks out, it was the load problem since I mixed yellow (2.2v) with whites (3.5v). But they’re all connected in parallel and on paper, it would not be a problem. I’m tired and I am not going to do further dunce anymore troubleshooting would delaminated the board.

Then again, as I am doing a faulty Neuspotter, no one would know the difference, until now. (Wait, what…?)

Anyway, the LEDs are almost done except for one more warm white which is for its CPU. But since I gotta start work tomorrow, I’ll have to stop this for the moment.
25.04.2020 20:
I wanna drink until I’m drunk…

…but if I’m drunk, I can’t concentrate what sorcery is at work here. And I can tell you, it is definitely not a shorting issue anymore.

The wires are reconditioned and soldered, the circuit tested and after leaving it for one day, bam! It worked. So I’m thinking this is a power issue because about 5 minutes in, some LEDs looked like they are about to die.

Anyhoo, let’s move on to the next stage, which is to wire up the Neuspotter.
27.04.2020 21:
It’s al coming together now

I used Aves putty to mount the slide switch to the model instead of hot-melts. As this is a moving part, I do not want the glue to soften during the time when I needed it most.

The switch is to provide two different lighting modes. But because the LEDs are moving too fast and too bright, it is not easy to notice that there are two sets of LEDs running in opposite directions.
17.04.2020 22:
Wiring up the Neuspotter

Well, this is how the lighting goes. I have to fit the 8 circuit boards into the Antigravity thingy. The challenge here is to ensure all 17 plus wires can fit into the narrow 6mm neck in the middle.

Which is stupidly impossible because not only do I need to stuff all the cabling in there but also, to make sure that they all go in at the same time. I have tried short of putting some lubricants, and it gets stuck after a few milimeters. Yeah, I should have put all the wiring in BEFORE I glue it shut and painted it.

I think I can minimise the cables to about 9 and use the extras to reinforce the shape…
27.04.2020 23:
The bottleneck

Unlike the normal wire-wrapping wire which has a consistent diameter, the wires I used do not. Depending on where I can get them, their diameters can be from 0.5mm to 0.7mm. This is because there are 7 very thin wires inside each sheath which allows for some creative twisting.

The picture on the left is what I am talking about, which is the neck. I have drilled 9 holes (instead of 5) into it. Looking carefully, you will notice the wires have two different diameters.

On the right, the bottleneck is roughly 6mm. Yeah, I will remove the mock up print out of the circuit board when I am ready to start the job.

Once the Covid-19 Lockdown is relaxed, I might need to go to the shop and discuss about getting a big roll of 0.5mm 7-core wires in both black and red. To the rest of the World, I think, it’s called Kynex. To most of the shops here, I call it, ‘(while holding up the sample wire) Do you have this?
27.04.2020 24:
The Wiring Job

Just to let you know, there are about 17 wires going snaking around the 8 circuit boards. Out of that, the first 8 were to link the 8 boards boards together, giving a nice all round lighting. The remaining second 8 (and a ground) are actually for signaling from the microcontroller.

Originally, the design called for 5 but with the power problem, I used the additional 4 to get a good signal directly from the main controller board.

For the next 40 minutes or so, I desoldered the 8 wires, shortened it and then reconnected them. They will be placed inside the anti-gravity unit.
27.04.2020 25:
“The Plates!”

“Sir! Sir! We have a problem, Sir!”

“What is it, Lad? Out with it!”

“The Anti-Gravity plates have arrived and… and…”

“They look different, Sir!”

“Well, as long as it works, shove it inside the damn machine already! We have a War to Win!”

Yeah, this is the time where I am worried and excited at the same time. I have made the calculations and all and even tested it with the paper mock-up, plus asking the manufacturers to thin the boards at 0.8mm. And so, for the next few hours, (it is very time consuming), I de-soldered all the 9 cables signal cables, thread them through the Neuspotter’s head, then into the Anti-Gravity housing and finally, soldered back to each of the 8 circuit boards.

Yeah, it is labour intensive and nerve wracking because, I am still worried about shorting.
27.04.2020 26:
It’s going to be a tight fit in there…

Now comes the moment of truth. I have changed the 9 wires to the 0.5mm version so that it is easier to pass through the holes. The theory is that with one hand, I will be pulling the cables while with the other hand, I would be pushing the circuit boards into the Anti-Gravity tube.

But surprisingly, I did not have to worry about the wires at all. Using a wooden chopstick, I gently edged the circuit boards into its place. Although they are soldered, it is still not advisable to poke the boards in. So, will some slight bending, it went in!

Remember I talked about the shortening of the 8 wires? They are to keep the circuit boards in cylindrical shape. As for the end near to the rim, I actually used wire wrapping wire and soldered all the 8 boards into a loop. This allows me to ‘bend’ the boards back into shape after it has settled inside the anti-gravity walls.
27.04.2020 27:
Well, …shit

Yeah, the PCB Boards were still too thick and the last one covered the half of another.

Still, no point crying about it because I just realised where my mistake came from. I forgot that the board’s thickness was 0.8mm while the paper mockup thickness is well, almost zero.

Still, it’s time to light it up!
27.04.2020 28:
Neuspotter in a nutshell

In total, there are actually 9 circuit boards;
– 1 main controller board, and
– 8 LED boards

And there are 30 LEDs in there.
27.04.2020 29:
It’s there but it’s not there

Well, yeah, the LEDs are running but it kinda irritates me when one of the LEDs are not in place. It will never be in place. So, for the next few days, I am going to tidy up the remaining of the wires, since I have decided more or less to hang the Neuspotter on a stand or armature.

No, there is no story to tell about this unit. Yet.
20.04.2020 30:
The Eye of the Machine

You know, I am so tempted to just leave its front dangling and detail it up but with the main circuit board in there, a guy with a torchlight can shine inside it and then shatter the illusion.

I like how the body work shows up with those cast metal like surfaces. This is when I sprayed the Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 very thick. I think.
28.04.2020 31:
The Insides of the Machine

And there you have it. Everything stuffed into this small shell. I am not proud because more than halfway through, I got bored with the concept and went off tangent.

To make matters worse, the upper cover which I lost and found back, is now lost again. The warm-white LED for the ‘Playstation CPU’ is too bright and so is its pink eye. In the end, losing patience, I just used hot-melt glue to gunk everything together and leave it at that.