(Another Archived article from Dan Gun, modelling maestro)
So without further ado, over to Dan.
I have fit a lot of LEDs into many models over my time, but the Imperial Knight kit was practically designed for it! A great hollow body for storing batteries and other gubbins and many points where light could be suitably placed. Ideas that came to mind are in the barrel of the inferno cannon, the vents on its back, lights shining down from under the torso canopy, but most obviously those wonderful eyes that can peer out from behind the mask! So here is how.
Firstly a bit of ‘brain surgery’ is required on the head to allow room for the dome of the LED. This involves hollowing out the 2 halves of the head. To start I drilled a 2mm hole from front to back.
You then need to break out as much as you can to allow for the LEDs to sit inside. Be careful with this stage as you do not want to damage the outside of the head by accidentally going all the way through. Tools you can use are a dremmel, knife, cutters etc which ever you are most comfortable with but be careful as it is quite fiddly.
I also cut out the majority of the piece that allows for the positioning of the knights head but still allowed enough plastic to be inside the top to allow a good fix with glue,
As you can see with the above image the 2 legs of the LED go straight out the back of the knight’s head and into the body. You can get LEDs with resistors built into them but for this example is not the case.
Next is the front of the face. Using a 2mm drill bit aim directly to the centre of the eyes and drill them out. 2mm is spot on the correct size for this but again be accurate as you don’t want to loose the rims of the eyes. Once drilled, hollow out the back of the face for the dome of the LED to sit in. this will make the LEDs sit snugly into the sockets and practically replace the plastic that was there originally.
Once all the parts are cut and hollowed out sufficiently (I advise repeatedly offering the pieces up together to make sure they fit well) I packed the head with some greenstuff to hold the legs of the LEDs in place to stop them from potentially touching at any point before gluing the head together.
Now we need to get the LEDs legs into the chassis of the knight. To do that you need to drill a small hole through the front section of the chassis. At this point I do advise having NOT built the torso just yet as that will make soldering fiddly.
Decide on the position you want your knights head to be facing before drilling the hole as there will not be a whole lot of movement left after this stage. Build the canopy front and fix the head on in the position of your choosing all the time making sure the LED legs are not touching and are still easily identifiable as + and -. Once glued you can build your LED circuit on the other side and give it a test run. You should get something like this!
A little bit of Greenstuff may be required to fill in the gaps around the front of the face to stop any light leaking out the sides but if you’ve been really careful with your hollowing out then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
I got a bit excited by this point with my own Knight and decided I wasn’t going to stop there and moved on to the Inferno Cannon!
Firstly I drilled out the gun barrel for the light to shine out of. It’s a bit pain staking but worth it. Inside here I fitted the 2 LEDs and ran the wires out through the back of the gun. I staggered the LEDs to get maximum coverage through as many of the holes as I could and fixed in position with a lump of Greenstuff similar to the head. In hind sight maybe a third LED would have been good. (next time gadget…next time)
I was quite happy to have wires and gubbins coming out and wrapping up to the shoulder on the outside of the arm once the wires had exited the gun, if you're not keen on that idea then I have heard of a pen that can draw a conductive path which, with a bit of techy know-how could solve that problem for you as there is no way of concealing wires at that point. Drill another hole into the arm socket and through into the side of the body for the wires to access and connect to your LED circuit.
This is a bit fiddly as you need to feed the wires in and attach the arm all at the same time but not impossible. Once done you should have something like this!
With all the electric gubbinz done I also decided I didn’t like the chainsword, it couldn’t reach troops on the ground for a start so I built my own take on the close combat weapon. Sadly no I haven’t fitted it with a motor and made it go WHIIIRRR! But hmm…again maybe the next one…..
(for the purposes of this guide i have assumed you know how to build and LED circuit and that this is about how to fit the components rather than how to design a circuit)