Light Kit Installation Guides

Light Kit For Revell 06655

Darth Vaders Tie Fighter

A nice straight forward light kit to start the tutorial series, that transforms a basic model into something a bit more eye-catching.
Step 1

Unscrew the terminal connector from the light kit. Use a 2.5mm drill to drill out the hole for the power lead, two white & two red leds on the underside of the model. The white fit nicely either side of the cockpit, and the reds directly on the pre-marked red spots on the model section.

Then just push the leds in place. There shouldn't be any need to glue them into position, but its optional for you......
Step 2

Build the base of the cockpit. The Ultra Violet (or Warm White depending on which light kit you have purchased) fits in the front panel of the base - again a 2.5mm hole needs drilling here.

Carefully use needle nose pliers to slowly bend the top of the led into shape. The led is quite flexible, but do this slowly to take care not to snap the internal wires.
Step 3

Finish building the internal part of the cockpit and clip into into place on the bottom section. Next, the two red leds need 2.5mm fitting holes in the top section. If you look at the photo, they are easier to fit if drilled just below the two red dots that are pre-painted on the top section.

Step 4

Fit the two 3mm red leds in place, then continue to build the model as normal. For a tidy finish, use a piece of aluminium tubing to hide the power lead, and drill a hole in the base through which to run it.

Add the terminal connector and power source. The set is designed to use a 9v standard battery.

Revell 06658 Millennium Falcon

Light Kit Fitting Guide

There are many ways to install this light kit depending on the model builders personal preference. The layout shown above is the most popular and my favourite. You can include as many or as few of the modifications as you wish.

The leds in the main system are installed by drilling 3mm holes in the base of the model where required. The leds will then neatly push into place. You can either use the picture above as a guide or design your own layout. A 3mm hole can also be drilled for both main power leads if they are to be run to the battery outside the model eg in a display base.

A good tip is to use small dot stickers - the type you can buy from most newsagents - to position each led prior to drilling the hole. This makes it so much easier to see the light placement, and they also act as a key for the drill.
As you can see in the main picture, I've decided to add some simple cardboard shuttering over the bottom central section and the ramp area. You will see that I've taped the warm white ramp led in place on the card so that it illuminates the ramp - useful if you're building the model with the ramp in the lowered position.
For the forward facing lights, I've opted for two cool whites as the main beams, and two reds on the underside. Again these are all still 3mm holes - easiest to drill after the two grey panels have been glued into place. Line up the drill holes with the spaces inside the model, instead of going for the red dots on the panels as the leds won't align otherwise.

If you look back at the main photo, you'll see that the cool whites show up as a light blue on the photo itself.

The blue booster light strip is quite straight forward to fit and needs minimal modification. You will need to drill a small hole for the power lead to run out of the model.

The light strip itself has an adhesive backing and fits to the grey panel just inside the blue panel provided with the kit. The fixing tape is strong, but I always glue it at either end to ensure a permanent fit. The only real modification here, is to cut a small notch using snips to allow the power leads to the strip to fit in place - see the photo above.

Do not attempt to run the strip leds and main lighting circuit from a single battery. The strip uses considerably more power, and will shut down the other leds.

One of the main things that I get asked is how to install the cockpit light and fibre optics. Again the answer is that there are no hard and fast rules - you can go into as much or as little detail here as you wish. That's the beauty of model building!

My personal preference is to drill a 3mm hole through the base of the cockpit floor, pointing to the back of the seats, for the warm white to illuminate the rear part of the area. Background lighting here works better if its more subtle, as opposed to an upward or forward facing led that gives the area a "radioactive" glow :)

The fiber optics can be fitted on the control panels where required. I like to fit them on the central section which divides the two seats. To fit the fibers, you need to carefully drill 1mm holes where you would like to fit each strand. The fiber we use is the most supple, but bend the fiber slowly to reduce the risk of snapping it.

Run each strand through the fitting hole so that it is proud, and then place a small blob of glue on the unseen section of the panel through which it runs.

Let the glue dry thoroughly.

When the glue has dried, use snips or ideally flush cutters to cut off the excess fiber on the seen section protruding through the panel for a neat fit.

There's more advice on using fiber optics in the hints n tips section of the site if needed.

That's pretty much the basics covered. Remember, it's your build, so don't be afraid to try out new ideas with it. The whole idea is to have fun, and there's not always the need to get lost in a technical world of precision - the simple ideas are often the best!

Use the terminal connectors to move lighting around, fit power leads and even add more leds if you wish.

If you get stuck with anything, you can also drop me an email and I'll advise as best I can.

The Bandai 1/144 Falcon

This one is a great model - and when it comes to model lighting, is one for those who relish a bit more of a challenge. My main aim with most of the light kits is to make it as easy as possible for people to achieve professional results with both the minimum cost and skill level, and so I've put together two light kits for this model. The first is a basic set which is much easier to fit, but still provides considerably more lighting than the bandai set itself. The second is the more interesting but challenging. Read through the step by step guide to see which one you're most comfortable with.

Let us begin...

Start by assembling the two halves of the model as per the instructions. As with the other Falcons, it's the base of the model in which most of the lighting is installed. With the two halves of the model more or less completed, now is also the time to consider a base coat for any colour washing for the weathering if required.

Your best friends for the modifications needed will be a 1mm drill, 3mm drill, 5mm drill, flush cutters and some good tin snips.

Consider how the model will be supported (eg using the stand supplied or a modified stand of your own), and drill a 3mm hole through which to run the main power lead - the light kits can be taken apart at the terminal connector to allow this to be run through the model.

Once done, the led supports supplied in the kit need to be widened to 5mm - carefully, preferably by securing them in a vice and not drilling through your hands (getting blood stains out of the colour washing can prove tricky) - and fit these in place on the rear engine mounts.

At this point, it's time to change from a 5mm drill bit to a 3mm. Using the 3mm, drill the fitting holes in the upper and lower centre sections of each panel for the warm white and ultra violet lights. Its best to have these leds facing horizontally as opposed to shining straight down through the clear section to avoid the radioactive glare - see the photo for details.

Now for the fiber optics....

4) Start with the red strands. Position them in the side and front sections as required.

5) Next it's the flashing white strands. If you've opted for the semi-circular pattern that I favour, you will need to mix the fibers. By that I mean that you don't want have of the fibers on one side of the ship flashing all together, so start from the left and alternate one fiber from the one led unit, then a fiber from the other white led unit etc. This way as the flash rates go slightly out of sync, you get a twinkle effect instead of a block of lights flashing together.

6) Pull all of the fibers through so that there's plenty excess fiber on the external part of the base section.

Time for the faint hearted to shut their eyes....

I'm guessing that by now you're wondering exactly how all of the wiring and fiber optics are going to fit into such a small space. Well that is what the tin snips are for. On the upper panel, there are eight plastic struts - the ones which protrude the most - that need to be clipped in half to allow the wiring to fit. Do not attempt to remove them completely, as it will damage the outer section of the model. Trimming in half is plenty. The model will still clip together using the outer securing points.

Now at this point, check that everything on the light kit is working perfectly.

7) Pull all of the fiber optics through the shell to get a good fit. Place a small blob of pva on the inside of the panel where each fiber runs through to secure them. Also ensure the other lights are secured with pva just to make sure.

Now, leave it for the day to let everything dry. Patience is a virtue :)

When everything has thoroughly dried, fit the booster grill section as per the instructions.

It's now time to fit the upper and lower panels together. Before you do this, fit the 3mm warm white led in place in the central section, and pva to secure. The 3mm warm white and colour changing fiber unit need to be fed through the large hole already in the top panel that leads to the cockpit section.

For the cockpit area, you can go into as little or as much detail as you wish with the lighting. The warm white can be suitably positioned to provide a general or background light which in most cases is enough to showcase a bit of detailed paintwork, whilst the fiber optics can be used here too if required. Again, 1mm fitting holes for each fiber as needed.


8) When you're happy with each of the panels, fit them together and trim each of the fibers to a neat finish using the flush cutters. That's it - job done!

Revell Millennium Falcon 1/144 Variation: Scene REF 1

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