Steve Kalinovich’s Klingon Bird of Prey

Here’s another old submission found in my files… from 2008!

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This is my AMT Klingon Bird of Prey, complete with a custom lighting controller I built from a PIC18F microcontroller. (I’m an electronics student who likes to combine work with his hobbies…)

I decided to go with a bit of a darker colour scheme than called for by the AMT instructions, and for the most part I improvised the detailing on the hull surface. I used the following spray paints:

  • Testors Medium Green (Base coat)
  • Testors Dark Red (for underwing panels)
  • Testors Navy Agressor Gray
  • Testors Euro Gray
  • Testors Metallic Green

Tamaya acrylics were hand brushed on for various detail work.

  • Aluminium
  • German Gray
  • Black
  • Transparent Red
  • Sky Gray

The most challenging part of the paintjob was the red panel pattern on the underside of the wings. I painted the entire wing with Dark Red, then carefully masked off each of the panels with scotch tape and a razor blade, cutting the tape to the exact shape of the panel. Then the entire wing was repainted with Medium Green, and the tape removed, leaving behind the red paneling with (mostly) sharp edges.  There was some touch up needed, but investing a lot of time setting up the masking yielded a much better result than I could have done with hand brushing alone.

The lighting controller handles 4 small red running lights seen on the top of the neck structure. (2 on top, 2 on bottom) 4 super-bright LED’s are used to simulate the flickering rear engine light. These pulse in a certain sequence which I tried to get to match the animation seen in the movies. It seems to be pretty close. The light from the LED’s is dispersed with a clear piece of plastic sprue, which spreads the light out more evenly and fools the eye into thinking it’s a solid orange/red light.

The base is just a plastic box which holds the batteries, power switch, and on/off switches for the white wing lights and blue photon light.

The wing lights were interesting to install, as I had to carefully drill out 4 small holes for the LED’s into the front of the wings, and then route wiring back to the main hull for power.

It took about 5 months to take this model from start to finish, and while there were a few unexpected problems that cropped up during building, it was a good learning experience. I’m looking forward to my next project!

Steve Kalinovich

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