To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

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Tesral
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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby Tesral » Tue May 09, 2017 9:19 pm

I would say that finishing a hard project does give a more lasting sense of satisfaction. Seeing it on the shelf is a memory of not just the model, but the work you put into it.
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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby kobayashimaru » Tue May 09, 2017 11:44 pm

an interesting question
thanks for asking MSgtUSAF.ret
the answers are awesome to read.

I think it boils down to 3 things;
i) RoI marginal return on risk and complexity, as well as cost-v-benefit.
- why risk all that model work sagging or melting itself from battery leak etc, or spontaneous combustion
ii) familiarity or ease with micro-electronics or electronics
- a lot of model makers are from backgrounds that may never have had much to do with electronics.
iii) experience with lighting etc.
- past experiences trying to light a model or have extra features may not have gone well, causing a feedback-deterrence loop

I think that's why, until recently,
we haven't seen lighting and 'special effects" in model-making craft as much.
though, now with memristors, microchipsets on-demand, solder-less snap-kits etc,
we're seeing that become more cost effective and accessible.
I'll be the first to admit my limitations in coding and systems,
but some of the stuff the next wave intuitively thinks of, i
think we'll see collabs forming and lighting or extra features become part of model-making.

why, where once for borg cubes,
I would print a clear decal onto an OHT for 'gel backlight" -
now, I can almost* for the same cost,
put a fresnel mMED or panel in, which will play animations on it or project in back-lit ways,
onto the cube! :D
There is nothing like seeing the model just do its "hum" borg cycle, :borg:
or respond to battle damage.

it is powered by inductors or WiFi memristor-transceiver (memXORiff's)
which in turn, you can put the inductor mat under the table,
so to folks who don't know it, the models glow when they're near the tabletop.
it's practically magic, well, when it's done by a pro. my stuff is bodgy hehe.

-----
there's also a 'stigma', in some elements of the model-making craft;
it is unwritten, but it is felt that "lights and sound" makes the model more of a kids toy,
or somehow more prone to damage and wear and tear.
A model is a model, when it is " we know it when we see it" -
I use this term loosely, but it is in a way, "the simplest chindogu" and making that likeness to the thing-itself, that is what some think that model making is.
this approach, which I am not entirely in alignment with, it explains why folks who've never tried model making can't quite get the appeal of it. to them, they don't see what goes into it.
they just see a ship-of-theseus paradox, and the chindogu-ness of miniatures;
"why have a tangible miniature, when you can make a 1:1 with lights and sound in 3D?" etc
but that is a huge part of the hobby - that you built something and made the resemblance.

So, it's a little like the Zen gardens meets Chindogu:
hence, lighting and such is complexity where the aim of the game is simplicity.

I think subjective personal preference also plays into it - a well completed model whether it has that
extra bells and whistles or is "just" a static model,
it all looks good. Some folks just like the look of that static finish better :D

thanks for reading,
and I look forward to hearing more reflections on this,
as it is for me, increasingly a real "what the?" and
fermi-drake paradox for model making etc. :D

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby MSgtUSAFRet » Thu May 11, 2017 12:58 pm

Tesral wrote:I would say that finishing a hard project does give a more lasting sense of satisfaction. Seeing it on the shelf is a memory of not just the model, but the work you put into it.


I like that thought, Tesral; “…a memory of not just the model, but the work you put into it.” :D Fortunately, when I got back into building a couple of years back, I owned a good phone with a pretty good camera in it and took a lot of pictures. Every once in a while, I thumb back through the album and “re-live” the experience; remembering the techniques I did and the tips and tricks I learned. So, yeah…good thought!

kobayashimaru wrote:i) RoI marginal return on risk and complexity, as well as cost-v-benefit.
- why risk all that model work sagging or melting itself from battery leak etc, or spontaneous combustion


Interesting observation. Not sure how others do it, but I have yet to place a battery within a model for the very reasons you point out. (Plus, I haven’t figured out how to make it change from wall power source to battery on demand!) ;)

kobayashimaru wrote:ii) familiarity or ease with micro-electronics or electronics
- a lot of model makers are from backgrounds that may never have had much to do with electronics.


Granted, but, speaking from my own experience, while learning about electronics was a bit like drinking from a firehose, some of it made it’s way in – to follow the analogy. And, in learning about the basics, I was able to further the illusion of life in the 3-D representation of a fantasy item.

kobayashimaru wrote:iii) experience with lighting etc.
- past experiences trying to light a model or have extra features may not have gone well, causing a feedback-deterrence loop


I can certainly understand the deterrence issue. To date, I have popped only one LED but the other issue is puzzling out how to wire and light the model is, in itself, an exploration of another layer of building said illusion – which I, at least for the moment, find fascinating!

One other thing, among the many things you said, kobayashimaru, beyond the “chindogu” (the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem, but are in fact useless. Yes, I had to look it up!) and the “ship-of-theseus paradox” (the thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. Yep, one more once!) and the “fermi-drake paradox” (the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. McCoy alluded to this equation in TOS episode “Balance of Terror”!) is the concept that

kobayashimaru wrote:…"lights and sound" makes the model more of a kid’s toy, or somehow is more prone to damage and wear and tear.


TBH, I have not heard that concept or thought process before. Granted, I have not been long in this genre and have only begun my immersion in the art, but, not to offend or alienate anyone, but when those working in the film and TV industry, like Drexler, Kerr, Gary Gordon and Will Lee (Smithsonian TOS Enterprise model restorers), Greg Jein and others, who tend to build models with lighting; such as all the models/miniatures used on ST:TNG. So I don’t quickly see how adding lights to a model, other than for some reason you point out above, would make a build a kid’s toy.

To counter that view, I think of my models as illusions, 3-D representations of the miniatures, and in more recent times, CGI models, that I see on the screen big or small. In my first two builds, TOS Enterprises from AMT :D I didn’t light them. Would I crack them open and light them now?! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Like Tesral pointed out, I put too much work in to them to “break” them! :shock:

But there was a point in my build of my TOS Romulan BoP, when I placed my first LED circuit in a nacelle and the thing glowed and came alive, that I knew, I KNEW, I would try to light my ships from now on! Was it because I am/ was smarted or more professional than other builders?! Certainly not! I would never presume to be better than any of the Master builders here or any where.

But I realized another level of enhancing the illusion of life in my model could be realized! For me, lighting stepped beyond the wonderful reality of building an actual, physical work of art I had made with my own hands, to the illusion, the appearance of life within the model itself.

Waxing metaphysical is also a weakness of mine. I beg forgiveness.

Again, my strongest argument in encouraging others to try lighting, to just try it, if not for the first time, then again, is that if I, a business major with tendencies of musicality, who has trouble with math and calculations, no electronics background or training, with not so much as one Engineering class, can learn and do lighting ANYONE CAN! (DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement, implied or otherwise, of any electronics parts outlet or source.) I mean, com’on, it’s me after all!

Besides, its way too fun!! :D :D :D :D :D :lol:

Thanks for reading! I am thoroughly enjoying the conversation!

LLAP!

Steve

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby NCC1966 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:45 pm

MSgtUSAFRet wrote:I was surfing around the website (some call it "Trolling" but let's not get into my looks right now) and I noticed many, not all, of the builds featured on this website are not lighted. I began to ask myself "why not?"

Why is it that most here do no light their ships, builds with some sort of internal lighting?!

Is it preference; their choice to build without the extra hassle?

Is it economics? Adding lighting doesn't make financial sense because it isn't a commission; no one else will see it?

Is it because of the slow down in the pace of the build to add the extra stuff inside? Faster is better?

This is a serious question and I would love to hear your thoughts as to why you either light a ship or your don't.

Thanks and I look forward to your responses!

Keep on modeling!!

Steve

I wouldn't say "trolling"... more like "lurking"?

Anyway, talking from the perspective of someone that already lighted ONE ship (me) I would say that it's a HARD task! Among the electronics project, tests and implementation the modeler can experience several moments of frustration, that, of course will be doubly rewarded at the end by a beautifully lighted ship. Until get this point though...

:cry:

Regarding to the cost it will depend if the person is starting from scratch with a custom solution or going for an off of the shelf lighting kit. Depending on the way to go the cost will be inversely proportional to the challenge.

In my case I choose to use a programmable Arduino board hooked with wires and LEDs and made my own custom project (even not having ANY electronics background). The whole lighting solution cost me around $10 bucks including the board, wires, LEDs, and PS but it cost me also a LOT of research, a few trial and error, some headaches and almost a giving up. Then I finally understood why some modelers prefer to pay over $100 for a lighting kit on eBay because it will save you from all the electronics project/test hassle.

;)

Now... should all models to be lighted? I think not. For me big models ask for lights. Besides they are more comfortable (and yet hard) to work with wiring and LEDs. By the other hand I consider practically impossible to do the same with small models (I don't have the dexterity, eyes and guts anymore for this). I carried inside me the will of light a ship for around 10 years and now that I finally did it successfully to my 1/537 Reliant I am not sure that I want to do it again (although I would like very much to see my 1/1400 Enterprise "E" lighted either!).

:roll:

On a final note we should consider that there are modelers that wouldn't light a ship at all no matter what. And that's not because cost or labor. It's just because they satisfy themselves only with the traditional out-of-the-box thing. For some go beyond the simple point of build a kit would turn the hobby into suffering.

:)
Thanks,

Yan.

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby TonyG2 » Fri May 12, 2017 10:04 am

is the amount of satisfaction one experiences after completing a smaller model greater than or less than when one completes a larger build? More or less when it is lighted or not? Or are they the same?


My focus in nearly all subjects is small scale. So for Trek its 1/2500 (although I do have a number of 1/1000). For aircraft its primarily 1/144 (whether that is a WWI biplane or right up to an Antonov Condor), in ships my main interest is in 1/1200 and 1/1250 scale whether military or civilian. Some 1/144 however (I have a 1/144 Seawolf class submarine and a Fletcher Class destroyer that I need to get back to - both are pretty huge) and in AFVs it used to be 1/72 but now is also 1/144.

The reason for the small scale (as opposed to small models) is having a wide variety of types (in each subject group) that can be displayed together.

But as for satisfaction, well I just finished a 1/1200 kit of HMS Duke of York. Its only 17cm long, so about the same length as a ball point pen, but I have as much satisfaction from building it as I would for a much larger model. Indeed I think I get more out of a small sized model than a larger one. For example, detailing the cockpit of a 1/144 jet using sheet styrene and off cuts etc in contrast to the fully detailed cockpit that might be supplied in a 1/32 equivalent.

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby nova1972x » Fri May 12, 2017 11:35 am

MSgtUSAFRet wrote:Why is it that most here do no light their ships, builds with some sort of internal lighting?


Here are the reasons I haven't built a model with lighting:

1. I am a novice builder, at best.
2. the scale I build is 1:2500 and 1:1000. As far as I am concerned, someone who can manage to put lighting in a 1:2500 Enterprise-A is a master builder! I don't consider those sizes worth my time lighting.
3. I live in an apartment, so I am limited on room and space. If it doesn't fit on the three shelves on my book case, I don't have room.
4. I have a pretty large collection of AA/DS ships that are already lit. Unfortunately, I can't display them right now (see #3). I'm saving for a house, so perhaps one of these days when I have a man cave, I can.
5. I'm limited on time. I work full time, and until this May, I have also been in grad school, working on an MA, and my dad is in poor health, so I have to stop by at least a couple days a week and help out (IE work around house,shopping, etc).
6. I am more of an instant gratification type of guy. I don't spend much more than a few hours on a build, to be honest.I am in awe of builders who have the patience to literally spend months on a build.
7. My first build since I was a teen (I'm in my 40s, now) was my AMT 1:537 Enterprise A that I rebuilt here: viewtopic.php?t=3557 (see what I mean about point #1? LOL!) Anyway, a couple months ago, while re-arranging my book case, I bumped that model, which was on the top of my book case, and down it fell into pieces. I was just sick when that happened. I think I can epoxy it together, but it is going to take a lot of effort on my part. I had thought about lighting it when was rebuilding building that 1:537, but I am glad I didn't now.


That all said, I do have a second 1:537 scale Enterprise-A that has not been built yet, and is packed away. When I do get my man cave one of these days, I fully intend to build it and light it up with LEDs!

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby TonyG2 » Fri May 12, 2017 12:21 pm

2. the scale I build is 1:2500 and 1:1000. As far as I am concerned, someone who can manage to put lighting in a 1:2500 Enterprise-A is a master builder! I don't consider those sizes worth my time lighting.


I can't recall if Johnny Lightning ever released a "cloaked Enterprise A" ie a transparent plastic version. They did do the NX-01 and Klingon D7 in transparent plastic.

I imagine you can do with those what I am planning to do with a transparent F-Toys Defiant which is to

1. drill a hole into the underside of the model which will serve both as a stand mount and to insert a single white LED
2. Build a stand with a hollow step to take the wiring into a base.

3. Paint and decal the model (use the decals from the AMT Cadet kit) and paint the engines using red and blue transparent acrylic paint.

4. Use a very (very) fine drill bit to make tiny holes into the paint so that light shines through to represent windows, running lights etc.

I have managed to get hold of a few of the clear Defiants that I understand are knock offs. Certainly the quality of the painted models is not good but as they are so cheap I can afford to make errors on the clear ones. It will be a matte of trial and error to see how much top coat paint I will need to prevent light bleeding through. I may need a multilayer approach - silver basecoat to reflect back the light diffusing through the model, a black second coat to trap the light and then the upper grey main scheme.

If I ever get this done I will post it. Silence can be interpreted as an abysmal failure...

I expect the latter :D

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby Tesral » Sat May 13, 2017 12:19 am

It's a question without a wrong answer.
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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby MSgtUSAFRet » Sat May 13, 2017 2:26 am

Tesral wrote:It's a question without a wrong answer.


Yeah, it was meant to be thought provoking and a discussion topic anyway. But I have learned from everyone who shared. :)

Thanks

Steve

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Re: To Light or Not To Light - That is the question

Postby Tesral » Sat May 13, 2017 5:28 am

MSgtUSAFRet wrote:
Tesral wrote:It's a question without a wrong answer.


Yeah, it was meant to be thought provoking and a discussion topic anyway. But I have learned from everyone who shared. :)

Thanks

Steve


It is always interesting to see why people do as they do.
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