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Out2gtcha

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

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Sorry to hear of your woes with FO's. They can be very fickle at times.

Your method with a light box maybe the way to go if space is at the utmost premium and bending the fibers is not working out. The only issue I could see would be that the light is very direct and not evenly spread out, so the center of the IP would receive the most amount of light where as the smaller side dials wouldn't.

In this case you could do exactly what Nessus said but with a slight tweak. You could cut small segments of fiber, mushroom one end, then slide the non mushroomed end into the IP from the back leaving the mushroomed end sticking out the back pointing toward the SMD and the fiber would collect more light. It would look a little bit like a glassy hedgehog when your done.

You could bend the fibers slightly before inserting them to really make sure they are facing the SMD (or MLEDs or what ever term takes your fancy).

Secure the fibers with PVA and once dry trim off the excess flush from the front face.

one suggestion is to avoid using white SMDs and go for warm white ones - it'd be much more realistic. If you need a red colour or what have you, then paint the light collecting end of the fiber in clear red and it'll do the same job as having a red SMD.

Can't wait to see how this all comes out when your done.

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Thanks guys!  The install of the light kit itself, other than the IP lighting will be easy, but the IP stuff is making it a bit tougher to keep coming back to the build, but I need to find a viable solution so I can get full enthusiasm for the build back again

 

 

1 hour ago, The Madhatter said:

Sorry to hear of your woes with FO's. They can be very fickle at times.

Your method with a light box maybe the way to go if space is at the utmost premium and bending the fibers is not working out. The only issue I could see would be that the light is very direct and not evenly spread out, so the center of the IP would receive the most amount of light where as the smaller side dials wouldn't.

 

Actually, all the lighting will be on the top single part of the IP only, and the MLED will be some distance back from the IP.  The MLED  will shine through a part with the instruments cut out, then a clear part to diffuse the light a bit, then the Eduard PE part. Im hoping because the MLED will shine on the whole of the IP, and non of the instruments are that far apart, that it wont be an issue.  

I also am planning on attempting to use one of the larger fiber runs to light up the radar screen, as I may have room for 1 large FO cable.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, The Madhatter said:

In this case you could do exactly what Nessus said but with a slight tweak. You could cut small segments of fiber, mushroom one end, then slide the non mushroomed end into the IP from the back leaving the mushroomed end sticking out the back pointing toward the SMD and the fiber would collect more light. It would look a little bit like a glassy hedgehog when your done.

You could bend the fibers slightly before inserting them to really make sure they are facing the SMD (or MLEDs or what ever term takes your fancy).

Secure the fibers with PVA and once dry trim off the excess flush from the front face.

one suggestion is to avoid using white SMDs and go for warm white ones - it'd be much more realistic. If you need a red colour or what have you, then paint the light collecting end of the fiber in clear red and it'll do the same job as having a red SMD.

Can't wait to see how this all comes out when your done.

 

Thanks Simon!

  I tried PVA to glue down the fiber at first, but with needing 15 fiber strands run behind each IP, the force that the FO cables created ripped loose nearly all the fiber from the clear section I glued it to.  :( I ended up having to glue them down with clear UV gel glue that is a bit stronger.

Even then with the UV glue in there is not physically enough room to bend all the fibers to implement the tube feed method.

 

I think your suggestion (If I am getting it right) would be another possible solution, as I may be able to glue some very short FO sections into a thin styrene sheet with the IP holes cut in it, then put the MLED behind all that, as the IP section is not really that wide, and I can face the outer ones in a bit to collect more light.

 

The mushrooming idea might be a good one, but will need to put the larger end up front, so it actually fills the IP holes to the size of each instrument. I can cut off the face flush and polish them so each instrument assumes its correct size when viewed from the front.

 

 I think Ill try implementing that short FO cable method next..........

Thanks for all the help and advice!    

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40 minutes ago, Out2gtcha said:

 

 

I think your suggestion (If I am getting it right) would be another possible solution, as I may be able to glue some very short FO sections into a thin styrene sheet with the IP holes cut in it, then put the MLED behind all that, as the IP section is not really that wide, and I can face the outer ones in a bit to collect more light.

 

 

Brian, maybe a little addition on this idea. If you put the MLED in a little box behind the IP you can foil the inside of the box. Maybe that will help to spread the light more evenly. I hope you know what I mean. If not I will make a little drawing.

 

Good luck

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2 minutes ago, Fvdm said:

Brian, maybe a little addition on this idea. If you put the MLED in a little box behind the IP you can foil the inside of the box. Maybe that will help to spread the light more evenly. I hope you know what I mean.

 

Yep, I know what you mean..............

 

:D

 

11 hours ago, Out2gtcha said:

 

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. 

 

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50 minutes ago, Out2gtcha said:

The mushrooming idea might be a good one, but will need to put the larger end up front, so it actually fills the IP holes to the size of each instrument. I can cut off the face flush and polish them so each instrument assumes its correct size when viewed from the front.

 

 

the only draw back to that is the end will have a convex shape to it and won't be flat, but that won't be an issue if that's the effect you want.

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Just now, The Madhatter said:

 

the only draw back to that is the end will have a convex shape to it and won't be flat, but that won't be an issue if that's the effect you want.

 

 

My plan is to mushroom the fiber out to the size of the hole after it's in, then cut off the end flush with the outer IP part, then polish, so as to hopefully limit any convex/lens type effects.

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Brian, you might want to consider a product like the one I have provided a link to. Thin, flat, looks like it might be just the thing for backlighting the instrument panels in such confined spaces...

 

https://m.alibaba.com/product/60822401016/High-Brightness-Flexible-El-Backlight-Paper.html?s=p

 

 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, GDW said:

Brian, you might want to consider a product like the one I have provided a link to. Thin, flat, looks like it might be just the thing for backlighting the instrument panels in such confined spaces...

 

https://m.alibaba.com/product/60822401016/High-Brightness-Flexible-El-Backlight-Paper.html?s=p

 

 

Wow cool!  Didnt know that type of thing existed in non-commercial applications.  It definitely looks cool, and I think would be almost perfect, except that

1. -  Im not sure how I would integrate the electronic part into the currently single whole electronic light setup I have, as I dont think the power requirements are the same, and i would have to chop up at least two of my MLEDs to even find out. 

2. - Nearly every square inch inside the F-104 is taken up...............battery, battery holder, jet can, display mount for the clear rod, the electronics board, and space for all the other wiring pretty much have monopolized the entire internal area of the Star-fighter. 

 

Although this paper does give me another thought on this.................

 

Before I try the stubby FO cables into the back of the IP, I'm going to try to get some semi-translucent paper such as frosted looking tracing paper or the like, and put it behind the clear acetate sheet with the instruments on it I got from Peter of AirScale, thus defusing the light a bit so there is no clear view into see the MLED itself.

 

Ill do some experimenting this week on both methods and see which might work best.

 

Cheers! 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Brian, have you tried heating the FO cables, you can get some quite good bends and they still project light. I also mushroom the ends to disperse the light at the IP end and then fill any gaps with gloss varnish to create a smooth surface. Currently experimenting with EL tape but you need a separate power source as it runs off an inverter. Great build by the way!

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17 minutes ago, RichieB said:

Hi Brian, have you tried heating the FO cables, you can get some quite good bends and they still project light. I also mushroom the ends to disperse the light at the IP end and then fill any gaps with gloss varnish to create a smooth surface. Currently experimenting with EL tape but you need a separate power source as it runs off an inverter. Great build by the way!

 

 

Thanks Richie! Yeah, I was reading up on the power supply needed for the EL paper, and you are correct. Im trying for an ultra clean look to the model and display (no wires connecting the model to the base or support rod) and having nearly 0 room left for anything not already planned, I would have no choice but to put the EL paper supply outside on the display base, which I want to avoid. 

 

I did try bending the FO cable with some heat, but it was more of an issue having 15 of them running in a single space about 3/8" X 1/2", as well as not having enough clearance around the cockpit tub to run the fiber back to a single point to mount the MLED to it.....then times that by two. 

 

So for the two IPs with 15 or so instruments apiece (not including the two side console lights and single radar screen for each pit, which brings the total fiber count up to 36! ), fiber optic cable is out, as I simply dont have the room I thought I did. I will however likely use fiber optic cable for the 4 side console lights, as well as attempting to run 1 thick FO cable to each of the radar screens. I do think I have enough room for 4 small .50mm FO cables, and 2 1.5mm FO cables, one each front and back for the radar screens. 

 

 

I really DO like the idea of the EL paper, and now that Im aware of it, I will definitely keep it in mind for future projects!  Please do keep us up to date on what you find with it, as I find it fascinating, and potentially very useful in the future. 

 

Cheers and thanks again for the help and suggestions all! 

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Just catching up on your build Brian and super impressed. Your figures look very at home in the cockpit and all beautifully painted. Gonna look really cool when all lit u!!

 

Regards.Andy 

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Hi,
There are So many good ideas , tips and tricks on this topic that I  would suggest to illustrate them with
draws, sketches and pics.
Many Years ago (1985) I used the then smallest bulb lamps from a digital Casio watch to illuminate the IP of my
ESCI FJ-3, 1/48, all the electric  was into the fuselage behind the cockpit with cables + -  running from the battery to
the rear of a scratch build IP made of transparent VIVAC sheet with Instruments faces glued in proper places, on-off switch,
the rear fuselage was opened at the "engine section" to change batteries.
Good times ...  thanks for remembering them to me
F16

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Thanks all! Thanks for the comments, encouragement and ideas too.

 

I know I've been slacking here as of late, but work has been killer, and with all the question marks surrounding how to proceed with the most difficult part of the build (how to best light up the IPs and cockpit with as little room as I have) its been dragging the significant MoJo I had for this build down....................BUT that mojo is back!

 

I finally conceded that I would have to make a few small sacrifices in the overall look of the IPs lit up to make everything work.  Heres what I ended up doing:

 

- Used 3 individual MLEDs for each cockpit; one that controls the lower part of the IP and lights up the radar scope and the 5 or 6 small instruments on the right side of the lower part, one that lights up all 15 or so of the upper instruments, and the 3rd MLED is used for lighting up the two side consoles.

- I  built a tiny light box for the upper IP with the 15 instruments or so in it

- The lower part of each IP I used some fiber optic cable into some brass tubing, sealed with UV gel glue, then covered in MS black primer

- The side console spot lights are smaller fiber optic runs powered by a single MLED glued outside of the cockpit.

 

My first initial runs were a success, although I didnt have an clear instrument sheets in this test yet, and with it being dark, the glare took some sharpness away from the photo, but a success none the less!

 

20190916_005807-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

My fear was that if I used any of the MLEDs directly, the light would be way WAY too bright for cockpit lights, so my hope was that by using some fiber runs, I could tone the overall brightness down, and I think it worked.

I started off by doing the observers pit first, since it had the most room constraints. I had to move the observers lower IP back a bit to make room for the eventual camera, but I think it will still look ok.

 

You can see the fiber optic cables running to the lower part covered in MS black primer to cut out any light bleed:

 

20190921_161218-XL.jpg

 

20190921_161223-XL.jpg

 

20190921_161233-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

And powered up with the fiber optics.......................just as Id hoped, the fiber toned down the brightness to a much more realistic level for a military aircraft cockpit:

 

20190921_161319-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Not perfect by any means, but still good, and will look good once all the junk goes in the pit, it may even be hard to see it all.

I then built up the observers upper IP light box, putting a bit of clear fiber optics behind each instrument, and polishing the ends facing the MLED on the inside of the box. The box was then lined with polished foil to reflect the light back into the fiber tubes, and sealed up with UV gel glue and painted with MS black primer to again seal any light bleeding.

Once again, far far from perfect, but I think it still looks pretty cool (even better in person than in pics IMHO):

 

20190921_162113-XL.jpg

 

20190921_162152-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

Next,

It was onto the side console flexible spot lights. I made these from some fiber optic cable with a tiny piece of aluminum tubing on the end, and painted again with MS black primer:

 

20190921_163508-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

I used some brass tubing and glued it on the bottom of the pit, to light both side consoles:

 

20190921_161356-XL.jpg

 

20190921_172609-XL.jpg

 

 

20190921_161427-XL.jpg

 

20190921_161618-XL.jpg

 

 

 

Temporarily installed in the rear pit with our observer/camera man to see how things looked......just as Id hoped, the brightness was indeed toned down also to a much more realistic look. I think this will also show up well once all the junk is together in the pit too................might be easier to see the lights in those conditions. Either way, it was what I was going for in a more subtle subdued light for the consoles:

 

20190921_170651-XL.jpg

 

20190921_170700-XL.jpg

 

20190921_170709-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

I also got a good start on doing the front cockpit setup too. A start on what the lower IP looks like before covering in black primer. The UV activated gel worked a real treat, and held everything together just as I wanted and filled gaps nicely without distorting the light coming into the instruments. Although with the front, I found it was better to coat the fiber optic cable with a chrome paint first, then black primer to seal the light in:

 

20190921_183613-XL.jpg

 

20190921_183617-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

This is pretty much what the IPs look like before the addition of the AirScale Mylar clear instrument sheet, and the Eduard PE:

 

20190921_183625-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

So my experimentation has finally paid off, and while not perfect by any means, its about what I was hoping for, as sometimes concessions have to be made to make things work in the ultimately tight quarters presented in the F-104Ds crapped cockpits.

Im on a roll here with the pit, and I usually like to keep the roll going when Im on one, so Im hoping tonight I can finish up the lower and upper parts of the pilots IP, then I can "see the light at the end of the tunnel" so-to-speak on finishing up the pit. Once I finish that I can move onto getting the rest of the airframe lit up, which I dont believe will be nearly as hard as trying to figure out the IPs in the cockpits.

 

Cheers! 

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