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F-104D Starfighter - 57-1315 - AFFTC Edwards AFB, 1960

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Don’t know how I missed this Brian, but by golly that looks good. Your crew figures are painted magnificently. Good luck with the lighting.....afterburners!? :D

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8 hours ago, Fvdm said:

I hope all the lighting works like it should be. 




................................and it does!!   :lol:








It looks like a giant mess ATM, but all those individual wires will be corralled, and glued down inside the airframe, so will be mush less chaotic once done.








You can see here the cockpit and IP lights. Each of the side console lights will be put into a fiber optic strand and run to point at each side console panel so the light isnt so bright or harsh. The IP micro-LED will be put into a tube containing many fiber optic strands, each run to an individual instrument once I have that part finalized. I will leave the cockpit tub out until I have the IPs and cockpit lighting fully sorted, as it will be much easier to set up and handle out of the airframe.  











Here is a small vid of the lighting in action with the model room lights off, so its easier to actually see the action. The lower fuselage beacon is in the small rectangular piece with a hole in it beside the fuselage, as it would have been hard or impossible to see on the bottom during the test:





I have some work things to do tonight, but will be back on the 104 this weekend.



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3 hours ago, Lothar said:

Yepeeeee :goodjob: the finish line is in sight - that'll look awsome when finished!! Hard to wait!!!





Thank you my friend! Means a lot..................I'm hoping to break all the stuff back down once again now that this test is complete, so I can now start up on the instrument panels. This is going to be all new territory for me, and running fiber optics is new to me at home, even though its what I deal with at work. 


Thanks to Simon (AKA The Madhatter) and his technique used on his ultra cool Star Destroyer, I think I might actually be able to pull all this off, and get it all stuffed inside this relatively tiny fuselage space.  

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Thanks boys! The model is coming along fine, but the addition of the lighting kit has slowed things down to a crawl. 





Well, it was a decent weekend, and actually had quite a few hours devoted to the 104, but it was nearly all wasted effort.


5 hours ago, Gazzas said:

Glad to see the lights work.  Itching to see some foil?


I am!  But atm, the how to light up both IPs in the cockpit has me really frustrated and loosing a bit of MoJo on the build. 


So, now that I have the replacement board that works, Ive started in on said IPs and how to light them up.   


Attempt #1:


This first try involved me attempting to light the pit instruments up via fiber optics through some styrene sheet. I cut appropriate sized holes for the instruments and then used UV cure glue to push them through the styrene:




I then cut off the parts protruding through the front flush, and sanded them flat and smooth. The worked fine, but I quickly figured out this was too direct, and the light did not shine into the holes the correct way, and made the larger instruments look way smaller than they were. 


Attempt #1 scrapped, and all fiber pulled


Attempt #2:


(no pics of this attempt unfortunately as it was not long lived) On the second try, I used a piece of clear styrene from my F7F build and cut a slab of it off, and attempted to glue some fiber up from the bottom, hoping it would shine through the clear styrene, but  because the fiber is only "end glow" fiber, it only shot up through to the top of the clear part, and did not illuminate the front like I wanted.


 Attempt #2 scrapped, and clear part reclaimed for another try


Attempt #3:


My third attempt was better than the first 2, but this time, I used that same clear part I used in attempt #2, but this time I cut out a duplicate of the IP/instrument face that goes on teh front, and attached it to the back of that clear part, after I had sanded away all the glue marks then polished it up, both front and back.
I then took the same fiber from attempt #1, and glued them into the back of the IP, hoping the clear part would project the light a bit, and make the smaller fiber optic cables look bigger, for some of the larger instruments:








From the side you can see the clear part better:








The theory worked well actually, as even holding the unpolished ends up to my (comparatively) dim bench light, it lit up the instruments well:








However, this attempt ended in failure too, as none of the "projecting" effect materialized like I thought it might, and the larger instruments still came through with a tiny light source.......

Now you might be asking yourself, "Why doesn't he just use some larger fiber optic cable for the larger instruments?" (which I do actually have)............


This then leads me to one more point of failure for attempt #1 and attempt #3:

After I got the IP done, and all fiber glued in, including some thinner fiber where thicker ones should have been used for the larger instruments, I found another failure point, as even with  the smaller fiber in for the bigger instruments, all that fiber optic cable became way WAY too stiff to be bend around and down into where it needed to go, as I have very little room to work with under each IP hood. It was all just way too stiff, and in order to fit, would have had to been bent in a fashion that would have effected the light travel through the fiber.


 Attempt #3 scrapped, and all fiber and clear parts put aside. 


Attempt #4:


I have now started on my 4th attempt at seeing how best to light the IPs. I finally relented that I just did not have enough room to get all the fiber that would be necessary to light the IPs into the spaces below the IP hoods. 

So back to the drawing board!


I next found another problem with the using fiber optic cable after the fact of relenting that way of doing it; the forward IP hood had the gun sight well, and it dips down RIGHT behind the pilots IP, and would completely block any and all fiber going to the middle of the pilots IP. 

So, my 4th attempt will involved making a "light box" under each IP hood, and mounting the MLED at the back, projecting forward through a piece of styrene cut with all proper sized holes for the instruments, then a clear part like the one above in attempt #3, then the original OOB IP sanded flat, with the Eduard PE on top of that. I'm hoping the process will look Ok, as you really wont be able to see directly into the IP instruments to see the MLED at the back. 


After looking at pics of F-104Ds, including the restored Norwegian F-104D, a lot of the Ds had their guns and gun sights removed completely (Im assuming for weight saving purposes on aircraft not intended to train new pilots to fire the gun) anyway, so this was the direction I was going to head in. Im not 100% sure 57-1315 had its gun sight removed, but it would make sense, as it was used in flight testing, and camera/chase plane work, that I would not think they would want or need the gun its sight and all its likely substantial weight. 


First thing to do grind off the triangular gun site well from under the pilots IP hood.   Then I cut out a piece of thin styrene, and  glue it to the bottom/underside of the pilots IP hood and painted the under and upper side of both IP hoods with a thick coat of black Mr. Surfacer primer (you can just barely make out the styrene sheet I used:






The observers IP hood got teh same treatment. The upper side of the pilots hood where the gun sight well came out nice, and prior to putting the black primer on it, I used a mix of my filler of choice,  medium CA and micro-balloons, and then sanded the area smooth.  It almost turned out too smooth for what is supposed to be; a fabric piece.

Later after this dries, I will take some tissue paper soaked in a mix of water and PVA and place it on the top to simulate fabric without the gun sight. 








I will also likely line the underside of both IP hoods, as well as the inside of the bottom styrene sheet Ill use to box the IPs in with some polished foil, so there is less chance of any ambient light escaping and glowing up through the hoods, or down on the pilots/observers feet. 


Ill have to wait until the primer is thoroughly dry to try to really push forward with attempt #4. 

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