* addendum present

     I've been working on the design of the warp nacelles - how they should be lit, where the LEDs should go, and how the clear plastic parts should be painted.  I think I've figured it out.



      The picture above is pretty primitive, but it conveys what I'm after.  On the right you can see the transparent plastic parts - there is one strip for the warp coil, and two oblong shapes that are for the bussard collectors.   The first issue is the lights, and where they'll all go.  Then there is the painting of the plastic and the painting of the hull, masking, assembly and wiring.

     There are three different lights used - one red LED in the front for the bussard collectors, the three blue LEDs for the warp coil, and the fibre lines.   I intend to mount everything I can on the bottom, the only exception being the upper port / starboard indicator.

     The one red LED in front is going to be pretty tricky, because I want to mount it so that it shines across the clear plastic and the hull at a specific angle.  LEDs are very bright in front, and this one is likely to blow through the hull plastic and light up the whole front end, not just the clear windows.  Therefore, I'm going to put some reflective mylar right in front of it to block the strongest light, and paint the rest of it reflective aluminum.  The other issue here is light leakage between the red and blue LEDs.  So, I think what I'm going to do here is build a thin plastic mount, kind of a barrier between the two sections (labeled in the picture above as the 'front LED shield').  I'll drill a small hole in it and put the LED through that, then glue it in place.  The barrier itself I will paint black.

     The blue LEDs will point upwards so that it will be the ambient light that illuminates the coil (that way you don't get three distinct dots inside).  I plan on putting some mylar up there, too.

     The fibres will be run just like the ones in the primary hull, but will be very short.  I'll attach the small 2-volt LED right there in the nacelle with heat shrink tubing, such that there will be nothing but wires coming out of the nacelle.

     The painting is going to be pretty complicated.  Because of the lit clear parts, I want there to be reflective light, and am in fact using that as the primary light source.  I also don't want any light leakage.  I intend to paint the whole insides black (just to add a layer of paint), then paint it aluminum and buff it.  I'll then paint the inside of the clear plastic parts, then mount them. 

     I'll then mount the front LED shield, then the LED and glue it in place to the correct angle.  I think I'll need to use a sprue (or the plastic I make the shield out of) to make a mount point for the blue LEDs.

     This being done, there will then be three pairs of wires coming out to go through the nacelle pylons.  One pair for the front red, one pair for the blue, and one pair for the small red / green (port starboard indicators, fibre driver LED).

     Paint used for this part of the ship -

  • flat black

  • Aluminum plate (buffing)

  • red metallic

  • true blue pearl

     Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the colours they recommend for painting the model (watermelon pink and light ultramarine blue).  These colors seem closest.

* See 11/23/01 - I've chosen to implement this differently