03 August 2009

Shine a Light

Battletech miniature GuillotineThis post is Steve's fault, his comments got me thinking about one of my own custom mini projects that I haven't mentioned on this blog yet. Actually, it was my first really major rebuild of a miniature ever, and is still the favorite among many of my Battletech friends.

Battletech miniature Guillotine
If you didn't see Steve's comments, he has a history of adding lights and electronics to Warhammer 40K models. It's some impressive work. (Go look at the links now, I'll wait).

Now where was I ... Oh yes, the Guillotine mini I put together for my son ... and lights.

Battletech miniature Guillotine
One thing about the Guillotine mini; it's got that big spotlight on the top. One day at a model train show I discovered "Grain of wheat" light bulbs used scale trains and dioramas. They only need 1.5 volts, and can be run off of a hearing-aid battery.
So I got this idea in my head that I would mount the light in the mini as a Christmas present for my son.

Battletech miniature GuillotineHere's the short version of the project: Cut the legs of the mini away from the base. Cut of right leg. Drill top-down through spotlight and right-hip-up so the drill holes meet somewhere in the middle. Do about the same thing with the right legs (but goof and blow out the side). Bore out the inside of the spotlight. Drill a pin hole in the left foot/left for mounting later. Cut and re-pin right arm at different angle. Cut hole in standard hex base.

Battletech miniature GuillotineRun wires for the "grain-of-wheat" bulb down through the torso, the right leg, and base. Pin everything together. Fill in (or resculpt) the damage done to the mini with green stuff (can you spot my goof?). Make a wire jig for mounting the left leg and glue it in the base. Fill in the base with green stuff, leaving a bump (pushed up from the bottom) so there will be room for the battery. Add a metal clip and widgetry to make the battery connection on the bottom. Add a little green stuff to the bottom of the base to anchor the clip and give room for the widgetry. Mount the mini. glue everything down. cur a small piece of clear plastic and insert it as the "glass" in the spotlight. Paint. Paint. Paint. Flock. Done.

Unfortunately the battery is dead at the moment and you can't actually see the light operating in these photos - not that it shows up real well in bright light anyway - but it's still cool to see peoples faces when I turn it on and set it on the gaming table.

It was about 50 hours of work, but I was learning everything back then. I bet I could do a better job in half the time now.
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