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Author Topic: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project  (Read 127 times)

Offline greg

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1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« on: November 27, 2017, 10:31:46 pm »


As you may know, Imai was a Japanese model company located in Shizuoka, Japan. When they went bankrupt, they sold their models to companies such as Bandai and Aoshima, both of which still continue to repop their kits. This Bandai kit is a re-pop of the old IMAI Max-type VF-1J Super Valkyrie. Actually, it comes with parts to build this as a VF-1A, VF-1J, and a VF-1S, and can be built as a regular Valk or Super Valk. What I love about this kit is that you can build it in a regular Fighter mode or sweep the legs down for that pseudo-Gerwalk mode in which the legs are swept down but the arms remain retracted, which is my all-time favorite Valkyrie pose.

In the '80s, the two model companies that made the most Macross kits were Imai and Arii. The former had better overall proportion, while the latter had better detail as well as employed polycaps. This old Imai kit has good overall proportions, however the one complaint is the somewhat stubby nose that tapers downwards.

Here I have done a dry fit, held together with masking tape, to get a feel for how it comes together.




This kit has clear pieces for the navigation lights on the wingtips as well as forward wing lights, but the wing halves fit together tightly and do not create a hollow space inside. If I were to go all out on lighting up a Valk, I think it would be best to do so on a Hasegawa 1:48 scale one. For this project, I decided to leave the wings unlit and instead have it in combat action, during which the strobes and such would not be lighted. I already have flashing LEDs from HDA, but the site does not have any rapid-flashing LEDs. I bought some instead from Lighthouse and will place a fast-blinking yellow LED in the gunpod and have it displayed in an action pose.

Lighting the fastpack booster thrusters will be very easy. I drilled them out and they are perfect for 5mm LEDs.

I'll also light the regular "backpack" style thrusters that are used in Gerwalk and Battroid mode. There are three of these and I drilled them out with ease since they are pefect for 3mm LEDs.

I noticed from the box art that there are red lights situated in the front of each fastpack booster, as well as a small red light situated on the gunpod. Perhaps these are infrared targeting optics for the micro missiles and gunpod respectively, and I had the idea to have these lighted. A Japanese YouTube modeler named Bonobeet has done some great Macross Valk lighting, and he has lighted these himself in one of his builds. So in preparation for that, I drilled out a hole in the front of each fastpack nacelle and set these up to have a .75mm fiber optic in each. I used a cigarette lighter to melt the tip of each to create a lens. (Note to self: take pictures of this stuff!) I hope I will be able to send these fibers into the central "backpack" area to house a red LED there for them to light both.

For the gunpod's light, I first taped the gunpod together for a dry fit and stuck it in some Oyumaru. Oyumaru is marketed as a kid's toy in Japan. Put it in boiling hot water and it melts. Remove it from the hot water to shape it as you wish. Using it as a mold, no mold release agent is necessary. Oyumaru is completely reusable... just drop it back into hot water and reshape it. This stuff is cool. So after removing the gunpod from the mold I'd created, I filled that area with some UV-hardening clear resin I bought at the 100 yen store. This stuff comes in a small tube and is easy to use. You don't need to mix equal parts or anything. Just set it somewhere in the sunlight for a while and let it harden from UV radiation. After it hardened, I popped the piece out and cut it down to size. I cut out the part of the gunpod that this will be replacing. I still need to work on that a bit more, however. I am thinking of situating a tiny 0402 red LED in there. The wires for that as well as the flashing LED shall go from the gunpod barrel up into the fighter's underside.

Getting the foot thrusters lit would be rather difficult though, due to the limited space to work with. The kit comes with inserts for the feet that are completely not accurate, so I will do away with those. Instead I have clear-cast the foot thruster units from the 1:72 Valkyrie Battroid kit by Hasegawa. I hope I can light block these appropriately. I think a 3mm flickering blue LED in each leg should do the trick. The thrusters I clear cast are similar to a traffic light or a cinder block, with three small thrusters. If I am to use a single LED, what I might do is create a light tunnel out of Sukeru-kun, which is a translucent-drying clay.

Both Oyumaru and Sukeru-kun are available on HLJ, in case you're interested.

So that's what I have done so far. I need to take pictures of the progress on what I'm doing. Maybe tonight.

I want the Valk's legs to remain somewhats poseable, so I want to use some wires with enough slack so that they will remain flexible.

Here are the lights I want to use:
two 5mm flickering blue LEDs, one in each fastpack booster
three 3mm flickering blue LEDs in the backpack
one quick flashing yellow LED for the gunpod's barrel
one red SMD for the gunpod's sensor
one red 3mm LED to light the sensors on each fastpack nacelle.
 
Eventually I will begin this lighting project and feature it on my YouTube channel.




Offline simi

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 04:07:39 pm »
Nice!  keep us updated on this build.  I'm a Star Trek geek, with Star Wars being a close second.  But honestly, as a junior-woodchuck in the '80s, I love the Macross (Robotech for us US folk) topic.  Good luck!

Cheers!

Simi
As a software architect, I'm pretty darn good.  As someone with knowledge of building things in the real world, well, I'm a software architect.

Offline greg

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 10:30:34 pm »
Thanks. I don't see a lot of builds on here that aren't mainstream American SF kit builds, but I figured some on here would appreciate this. Last night I took pictures, so now I can show you guys what I was talking about. However, I am having a very difficult time posting to this forum. I can see my post just fine in the preview, but when I post it, it cuts out in mid-sentence in the 2nd paragraph. I've posted my progress on the Scale Model Addict forum with no problem. I wonder why SFMA is having this problem?

Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2017, 07:17:30 am »
Thanks. I don't see a lot of builds on here that aren't mainstream American SF kit builds, but I figured some on here would appreciate this. Last night I took pictures, so now I can show you guys what I was talking about. However, I am having a very difficult time posting to this forum. I can see my post just fine in the preview, but when I post it, it cuts out in mid-sentence in the 2nd paragraph. I've posted my progress on the Scale Model Addict forum with no problem. I wonder why SFMA is having this problem?

Just a theory but I think the SFMA compiler doesn't like special characters - any special characters - and will ignore anything after an apostrophe, or quotation marks or hyphens. I used to type my posts in word and then copy and paste them here. I ended up with the same posting problems. Now I don't use contractions or apostrophes for longer posts. Those that are typed on the site don't seem to have an issue.

I loved Robotech when I was younger - my son really jumped into it with both feet when he first saw it!

This should be a very interesting build, Greg. Would love to see what you are going to do with it!

Keep going!

Steve
"To be honest with you, Picard, a significant number of my crew members have expressed a desire to return even knowing the odds. Some because they can't bear to live without their loved ones, some because they don't like the idea of slipping out in the middle of a fight."

Offline greg

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2017, 05:41:47 pm »
But the weird thing is that I could do a preview and could see the message in its entirety with all the images. After I posted it, it just cut out. Good thing for the back button because I was able to yoink it from the cache and reuse it on the other forum. I'll give it another try.

Yeah, Robotech was awesome when I was a kid. I was born in the '70s and grew up in the '80s. As a kid, I'd watch GI Joe and see them always shoot the guns out of the bad guys' hands, or when a jet fighter was shot down, there'd always be a parachute. As a kid, I felt this was insulting to my intelligence. At least the GI Joe comics had plenty of death.

But along came Robotech, which involved genocide, deaths of friends and loved ones, alcoholism, etc. Of course this didn't inspire me to become a genocidal alcoholic, but it inspired my imagination.

After watching the original shows, though, I just can't go back to Robotech. Macross is a one way street. Once you see the original, the butchered amalgamation that is Robotech is barely watchable.

I'll see if I can give this posting another go and look out for any special characters. I'm not even using any Japanese keyboard inputs. Also, I apologize for the image sizes, as I am yanking them from my Tumblr account. The other forum resizes them automatically, but not here.

Offline greg

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2017, 05:58:01 pm »
Whoah! I didn't know this, but you can set the image sizes in the IMG tags. I also discovered the character that was screwing everything up. It was a slanted quotation mark instead of the straight one.



Above you will see that the thruster parts are prepped for lighting. The three small engines on the backpack are perfectly-sized for 3mm LEDs, and the two big engines on the fastpack boosters are perfectly-sized for 5mm LEDs!



Here is what I am using to clear cast parts for this.

On the right is Oyumaru, which is marketed as a child's toy here in Japan. I bought it at a toy store. Take out a stick, put it in boiling water, wait for it to get soft, and then use it to create molds. On the left is UV-curing craft resin, which I bought at the 100 yen shop Daiso. It's unnecessary to mix two equal parts or anything. You just squeeze the liquid resin out of the tube and set your part out in the sun to let it cure from ultraviolet radiation. Neat!



I wish to light up what I believe is the infrared sensor on the top of the gunpod. So I taped the gunpod halves together for a dry fit and squished the top of it into the warm Oyumaru to create a mold. I then poured the clear resin into the mold, cured it, and cut it down to shape.



I used a Tamiya saw bit to cut out the plastic-molded to cut out the sensor. Above you will see the replacement clear resin part I made. The parting line showed up in the mold, so I sanded it down. This also will help diffuse the light, of course.



Here I have temporarily situated a 0402 pre-wired red SMD from HDA Modelworx inside the gunpod.



Here I have carefully placed the clear resin piece I made on the top. I will have to work with this piece to get the fit right. You can see some light leak coming from the gunpod's barrel. I will have to work on that. This is where a rapid-flashing yellow 3mm LED will be placed. HDA only has slowly-flashing LEDs, so I bought this from Lighthouse LEDs.

Offline greg

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2017, 06:06:30 pm »
So slanted quotation marks and apostrophes are messing up this post. This forum's software is apparently sensitive to that.



I also realized that there is a sensor in each fastpack booster. This detail is shown on the box art, but not molded into the part. So what I did was take some .75mm fiber optic and used a cigarette lighter's flame to mushroom the tip into a nice lens. I just used my best judgment to determine where to place these and fortunately they are pretty symmetrical. I drilled a hole into each nacelle with a .8mm drill bit with my pinvise, and then used a larger-sized drill bit on top of that to drill onto that hole to make a shallow indentation around these holes.



Here is a test fit with the fiber optic in. You can see where I used a bit of epoxy putty to correct a mistake I made. Notice the fiber optic trailing out of the hole that is where this part fits onto the backpack part.



Here I have tested it with a red LED.



Here I have situated three 3mm flickering blue LEDs from HDA Modelworx into the backpack.



Here are the flickering 5mm blue LEDs in the fastpack booster engine cans. Looking nice!



OK, so the blue part you see in the upper left of this picture is supposed to go into the foot thrusters. You can see where I carefully drilled out the holes before I realized that this whole part is crap. It is not at all accurate, so I have decided to ditch this. So I went back to using Oyumaru and UV-curing clear resin to recast the foot thruster piece from the 1:72 Valkyrie Battroid model from Hasegawa (bottom right).  You can see one cast piece that didn't turn out right. The two that turned out well are the ones you see stuck onto the stick. I have applied Mr. Masking Solution into the thruster modules I wish to remain clear. The rest will be painted steel or something.



Here you can see the holes I've drilled where the wires will need to be fed through. There is a hole in the central hub which allows articulation and another hole you can see behind there, which is the top of the foot. The wires will lead up through the top of the legs and into the bottom of the fighter where they will be soldered with the other wires. I am hoping that I could somehow attach the replacement thruster modules into this central hub.

OK, so finally I got everything to post correctly here. Yeesh.

In case anyone was wondering, you can buy Oyumaru on HLJ.com. It's also known as "Blue Stuff" in the States, I think. As for the UV-curing clear resin, I've no idea where you can find this. I am friends with Brian at Beaver/HLJ (you may have seen him in the HLJ videos on YouTube in which he covers the hobby shows). He is the one who told me about this stuff. It really makes it easy not having to weigh equal parts of two-part resin and such.

Offline scottminium

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 06:13:01 pm »
got to get me one of those LED testers!
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Offline greg

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2017, 05:51:58 pm »
got to get me one of those LED testers!
Definitely recommended! It is an easy way to test out multiple LEDs. A single LED can be easily tested by slipping a CR2032 battery between the prongs, but the tester is nicer to have. I don't know what to do with the bottom two rows of holes though.

Offline greg

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2017, 07:28:03 pm »
Last night I uploaded a progress video on YT. Here is the video.

 




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