On the Bench 176: Dave Hackett’s Bandai Enterprise

While this kit is not perfect, it’s way clear that massive thought and attention to detail have been put into it. I’d like it to be bigger, but I’ll go with it anyway because it looks so well done. In my opinion, this looks like the best Enterprise A out there. It looks good from both a design standpoint, and being pre-azteced. But those 6 bulbs have to go. I doubt they will be bright enough anyway. White led’s and what else….. The nacelles project a light onto the lower hull and that is also in my plans as well as the blinking nav lights. I LOVE lighting things, that brings out the life in a kit more than anything else.

I would say hull modifications like I am doing are going to be easier than expected. The arboretum lights are my big thing right now, and if you didn’t know it, you’d swear the kit came like this. I’m going to mix up some custom acrylic paint to touch up the inside edges of the windows where the plastic is black, but I pulled all this off with not one scratch to the paint.

The paint is tough enough it seems to handle quite a bit. I am putting masking tape over the hull where I am holding it so I don’t push my luck. If I’m reading my directions correctly, the ambient light from the stock bulbs may be enough to light these windows. All that would be needed is a piece of clear blue acrylic behind the windows. I have to say, I was expecting it to be WAY harder than this. Nice to be surprised in a good way once in a while.

Masking tape is totally harmless to this kit. I have put it on and off several times and nothing has happened. A perfect paint match is Liquitex unbleached titanium and a touch of black. It’s spot on perfect. Here’s a better picture of the finished result. To me this will be a huge difference in the appearance of the kit.

Here’s pictures of the arboretum windows. Now that I have my blue clear windows in, it looks pretty much like I wanted it to.

After a night of fiddling with the arboretum lights I have what I think is a good solution to lighting them. (pics forthcoming) The ambient light in the hull is enough to illuminate them, but not brightly enough for my liking, plus there is some minor sanding to do on the side clear light reflector, but not much, and it in no way diminishes the light from the surrounding windows. It’s just a clearance issue with the modification I made. The windows glow cobalt blue like they should, and look pretty neat. This light transfer system they have is really neat.

By the way, I have a mold curing of the torpedo launcher I am going to cast in clear epoxy. That really needs to be lighted!

Ok here is what I have so far. The hull lights are in, and the clearance is tight, but it all fits in there. The only place in the hull where there is any room at all is right where you need it to be to light this sucker up. The parts used are 2 white 3200mcd leds, and 2 100k resistors, and couple of 14 lengths of 14 styrene tubing. As I stated before, the clear blue windows are just clear styrene and blue Tamiya paint, no big deal there.

The lengths of tubing are glued inside the hull with the led and resistor all hooked up and working. The characteristics of an led is that it has a very narrow viewing angle, so what I did is aim it at an angle, so the light path was an elliptical shape, and covered all the windows. Because it’s only 1 or so between the led and the end of the last window, there’s no degradation in light transmission. In other words, it’s lit evenly side to side.

The side light reflector needs minor trimming on the lower half to keep it from glowing right into the window. With the resistors soldered on the + side of the led, you can use the 4.5 volt stock setup and have no worries about mixing voltage. Easy as pie. The pictures are pretty self explanatory.

Don’t let anything intimidate you with this. If you can solder, yo can do this for sure. Even if you can’t solder, you can do this. You need 2 white 3200 mcd leds (5mm size) from eled.com and order 10 at a time because you get a price break. You need 2 100k resistors from Radio Shack. Part #271-1311. Package of 5 100 ohm resistors. You need 22 – 24 gauge wire, you can get at Radio Shack as well. And you need styrene tubing that is the exact size inside diameter as the led outside diameter, so it fit’s snug inside.

Look at my picture of the inside of the hull. You can see how I have the wires bent, and the resistor is clearly visible as well. There is 2 leads on the led. Long and short. The long is the + lead, the short is the – lead. You have to solder the resistor to the long (+) lead. Also the leds are polarity sensitive. You have to have the power + to + and – to – or it won’t light up. But that’s no big deal. Order the leds and then while your waiting for them to show up, you can get to work on the hull. That’s the first order of business anyway.

On to page 2

On the Bench 176: Dave Hackett's Bandai Enterprise part 2
A History of the AMT Enterprise Model by Jay Chladek part 4