Thanks to The Mandalorian series, I finally decided to get Boba Fett’s Slave-1. Actually, I wanted the bigger 1/72 version from Finemolds but it’s not cheap. Being a little too late into the scene, I had to settle for Bandai’s smaller 1/144 instead since my original AMT/ERTL is scattered all over the house (or houses).
Like any other Star Wars spaceships in that Trilogy, the lighting was very straight forward. And unlike the Shuttle Tydirium, there were no blinking or sequencial lights.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 001 In most places that I know of, this particular model was sold out. But thanks to Huzaiba Baharuddin, I got it.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 002 One thing I need to remind myself is that I cannot cut plastic in a downward motion as if I was cutting a cake. I have to ‘rock’ the blade while firmly pushing it downwards. This broken blade reminds me of that, and luckily, did not become shrapnel. Anyway, you’re looking at the bottom of the main console. I am slowly slicing some of the plastic away so that it is easier for the 0.4mm drill bit to drill through and not into the thick supporting plastics.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 003 The Slave-1’s upper console is now ready for the 0.25mm FO (which I will insert later after painting)
04.01.2021 Slave-1 004 This is the Lower Deck’s upper ceiling detail. I used 0.8mm drill bit to cut out the oval hole, following the detail of the model. Because the hole is small, I will be using the 0603 SMD LEDs.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 005 OK, things are going to get a little weird from here. I am creating a small circuit for the pair of LEDs inside the ceiling. Yes, I am crazy but since I was too lazy to search for some proper resistors, this is how I punish myself. Luckily, I did not melt the plastic. Much. I first tin the solder pads of the two 0603 LEDs. Then I insert then into their slots. Once this is done, I tinned a short length of cut lead from a normal LED and quickly solder it to the LEDs. Then I bent to shape a short length of wire-wrapping wire and tinned it. The is the basis or backbone of the circuit and will be used to join the two 0805 150 ohm resistors.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 006 OK, this took longer than I wanted to and as a result, the plastic is slightly melted. It is very important to use solder flux and tinning. This way, I can solder the two point in less than a second. So now, with everything soldered, its on to the next step, which is very frustrating.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 007 I had to carefully pry the circuit out of the melted plastic and turn it over. Now, using a reverse tweezer and a sharp cutter, I have to cut away the wires shorting the resistors. Remember the tinned ‘U-shaped’ Wire-wrapping wire I prepared earlier, this is the one. This took me about nearly 3 hours since the first circuit failed and I had to redo again with new materials. Yeah, never watch horror YouTube videos while soldering. Especially during quiet scenes where there could be a scream coming, either from the ghost or the victim.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 008 Before you do this, make sure the wires are tinned and have excess solder. Using the reverse tweezer to both hold the circuit in place and to absorb excess heat, I placed the wire on top of the point I want to solder and quickly tapped that point with the soldering iron.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 009 Now the circuit is ready to testing. Here, I am just testing and so, this is not final but shows how I will be treading the wires through the C1-12 part.
04.10.2021 Slave-1 010 Success! Although it is bright, once I prime it with Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black it should cut the glare down a bit. Again, with my Huawei, the camera registers the bluish tint on the green cutting mat when it was supposed to be white.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 011 At this point, nothing is glued yet and the ceiling does look a little loose since I have shortened the plastic lip of part C1-12. The lip, to me, does not help to hold up the ceiling but indirectly, blocks the path for more wiring.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 012 Coming back to the part C1-12, this is a very special part. Not only does it hold everything up, it was able to let me hide and thread through the wires all the way to the rear. One thing I do not like about most Bandai models is that their internal skeletons does not let you tread wires through so you have to drill through a lot of plastic to achieve your goal. The four grooves allowed me to better guide the drill bit to deepen the trench. I do this by placing the drill bit on the groves and move it like a saw, using the sides to cut out and widen the walls of the trench.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 013 Once the grooves are ready, I just make four holes for the wires to come out. Then I gave them a little wipe with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement to smooth out the plastic and also to dissolve any loose plastic fluff.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 014 This is the 0805 LED for the upper console. All I have to do is to solder some wires to it, drill out the hole for the wires on the C1-15 part and that’s it. This is because earlier on, I have already shaved the plastic from the part C1-7 and also, I have drill out holes on part C1-12. Oh, did I tell you that this is a special 0805 White LED which blinks at 1.5Hz? Yes it does!
04.01.2021 Slave-1 015 This is the underside oh the earlier part which is C1-15
04.01.2021 Slave-1 016 Final test. The lower deck ceiling lights are good and so is the upper deck’s console.
04.01.2021 Slave-1 017 Because I am not going to flip the cockpit about, I do not have to worry about its possibilities. I did have an idea of making the cockpit rotate but that is too much work and also interferes with all the wiring.
05.01.2021 Slave-1 018 The most prominent feature of the Slave-1 is in its powerful bright engines. And for me, I am excited to test another LED technology soon as I have place an order for them, hopefully they will arrive next month. But I have to stop myself from giving it any fanciful lighting effects (um, maybe one?) since the Engines of all Star Wars spaceships are constantly lit. The next segment, I will discuss a little more on my plans.
05.01.2021 Slave-1 019 Building the model is very different this time. Before my AMT/ERTL Slave-1 succumbed to the termites, it was a simple glue on job. Now with Bandai, this is a whole new ball of wax. For the model to keep its shape, the snap-fit kit depended on a lot of anchor points on its internal structures or skeleton. This is great since the model would not ‘flex’ when being handled but for me, it creates a lot of problems where wiring and installing LEDs are concerned. After test-fitting some of the parts and to my best ability, I think it is safe for me to remove some plastic and drill out the holes (yellow) for the LEDs. The next problem here is to make sure the colours from the two different LEDs match. In theory, I would be using white LEDs and then some diffusing material with clear yellow on them. And after that, where am I going to trail the wires off the model since I would prefer to position it in flight? Well, I should have thought about this as the first challenge instead of rushing in and starting with the cockpit. LOL.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 020 OK, this is how the Slave-1’s Engines looked like and I am not that happy since the colours of both LEDs do not match. Do not worry about the bottom engines being a little off as I am experimenting with the heights of the LED lens. Here’s the story…
06.01Slave-1 020A I slowly drilled out the pair of 5mm holes first. It’s very difficult since this plastic part is quite prone to scratches and is somewhat brittle. Anyway, I ended up with a pair of holes which is not centred. Then I realised, no matter how I drilled, they kinda steer to the middle, slightly bottom. OK, in this shot, I used a 5mm metal part from a drill collet to force the hole wider. Then with a drop of Tamiya Thin Cement, I let the plastic melt a little and used the collet again to widen the hole to 5mm. I have to use this method because I kinda misplaced my 5mm drill bit. Heh..2021
06.01.2021 Slave-1 021 The uncut plastic walls are ideal where I can slot in the 5mm LEDs with the flat side (Or negative side) facing flush to it.The red dotted lines are the parts of plastic which I had to remove. One thing I realised that the LEDs I was about to test, has some slight differences. I was hoping the 5mm hole would allow me to friction fit the pair of LEDs. It worked for the ones with clear lens but somehow, this diffused lens version has a slightly smaller diameter.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 022 Using a clear lens 5mm warm white LED on the clear part (right), this is how it looked. The height of the LED is limited (upper left) due to the height of the clear part. So, this means the clear lens LEDs are not effective here.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 023 I cut out a 6mm tall collar to make the clear part sit higher. For this, I used Evergreen #234 7/16″ (or 11.1mm) tube. The actual height could be 6.5mm as after some hard shaking, I can hear the collar moving about inside. The final effect is that the clear part is now sitting as close as possible to the opening (bottom left). It’s not canon but then, this looks good. However, tonight is experiment night and so, nothing is definite.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 024 Using 5mm white LEDs with clean lens. The modified engine is on the left while the original is on the right. If you look from this angle, the difference is obvious.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 025 But if you look at it head on, the modified (left) version looked better. Yeah, they are both quite bright and can potentially blind you for a while.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 026 I wanted to see how a pair of 5mm LEDs with diffused lens would look and here they are. The lights are not so glaring.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 027 Here they are again, as seen directly. Unlike the previous result with clear lens, there effect is quite muted. If only I had some 5mm wide angle LEDs right now. This is theory would give a better light dispersion and in fact, I could put the clear part back to its original position and perhaps, light up the internal walls…
06.01.2021 Slave-1 028 OK, now it’s on to the upper engine. Yeah, both LED’s white or light temperature are not matching. Remember that earlier I was talking about using White LEDs? Well, I am about to throw that out of the window.
06.01.2021 Slave-1 029 I wanted to use this LED filament since it has the (almost) correct length. Of course, I could instead use 4 2x5x7 LEDs but this would give me 4 hotspots. Then again, anything is possible. This version of the LED filament is quite fragile compared to the longer 130mm which were more like freshly made spaghetti. There are quite a lot of small LEDs housed inside a (glass?) row and the voltages can come from any voltages. For this project, the filament here is rated 3 volts and uses 100mA. The also come in other colours from White to Red to Blue to Green. But I suspect it was manufactured in white and then dipped into clear coloured protective sheaths. They can be very bright and so, you will see them assembled as Edison Lamps. But please do not break the bulbs to get at them. It is too expensive and of course, dangerous. For al you know, the LED elements in there would be rated for AC voltages.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 030 The 38mm LED filament is very fragile and you need to treat it as if it was made of glass very thin glass. So, I gripped one end of the filament with a pair of long nose pliers and then slowly bent the metal lead. Then I tinned both ends and did the same with the resistor. This is so that I can do a fast solder to prevent burning the LED or melting the protective yellow goo. As I am using 5 volts, I soldered a 20 Ohms current limiting resistor since the filament I bought was rated at 3volts, 100mA.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 031 OK, I am now ready to test it out!
08.01.2021 Slave-1 032 Talk about disappointment. The colour temperature of the filament does not match the 5mm LEDs and vice versa. So, yeah, back to the drawing board. Somehow, I think, I would need to use those 2x5x7 LEDs plus a diffuser for the upper engine after all.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 033 For the ceiling light, I used a 2mm LED. It is called the 2mm because of the diameter of its lens. I drilled out two small 0.8mm holes at the back panel of the part C1-4. Then once that is done, using the same C1-4 part, I carefully aligned it with part B18 and drilled a matching pair holes so that the LED’s leads will pass through both parts. One final step is to drill out the 2mm hole. You will need to align the drill from the bottom wiht a u-shaped detail which you can use to anchor the drill.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 034 I chose this LED because it has the brightness I needed and more importantly, apart from using its lens as alignment, the size exactly fits when part C1-3 closes it up. But I still have to make the LED fit and therefore, I had to bend it like what is show on the image. At this point, please do not glue parts C1-3 and C1-4 together!
08.01.2021 Slave-1 035 There is a problem with the 2mm LED as its lens was too long. So when I test insert the LED, you will be distracted by the bright lens. I cut away most of the lens, leaving a little bit of the resin for the LED to align itself with the drilled out hole. Then I sanded the exposed resin with some 800 grit sandpaper gradually leading to a higher grit of above 2000 grit to get the shiny surface. YOu can see the defect as I used a cutter to cut off the hardned resin. This caused the lens shear off with a fractured surface. Yeah, shouwl have used one of those PE saws instead. I had to polish the cut surface so that the light does not gather and diffuse at that area. It is all well and good but I would have to compensate with more power to the LED so that the light can reach to the control console below.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 036 OK, here is the frontal view of the Slave-1’s cockpit before the 2mm LED’s lens was cut. And as you can see, the light is very distracting as if Boba Fett just turned on the cockpit’s courtesy light.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 037 From another angle, you can see that the unmodified LED has created a very noticeable harsh hotspot (circle of light) which in this case, I do not want it.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 038 With the lens modified, the light is a little different. But in terms of power consumption, it only requires 2mA since the lens has been polished.
08.01.2021 Slave-1 039 I gave it a coat of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black. The matt finish of the primer actually absorbed some of the light and now, the cockpit does look much better. I am drawing between 2 to 5mA for this LED. Despite most of these LEDs having a maximum of 20mA rating, for Scale Modeling, you do not necessarily max out the current. It is by default, very bright and what with the clear lens, if you look at it head-on, you will be blinded for more than just a few seconds. Depending on how I will screw up the figure’s painting, I might need to dim the LED. Anyway, now that there are no shiny reflecting surfaces and so, the chairs and walls now does look as if it has some character.