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Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed

DIGITAL PREVIEW
Not a Photo

Smooth Fine Detail Plastic
Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed
Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed

DIGITAL PREVIEW
Not a Photo

Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed
Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed

DIGITAL PREVIEW
Not a Photo

Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed
Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed

DIGITAL PREVIEW
Not a Photo

Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed
Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43 3d printed

DIGITAL PREVIEW
Not a Photo

Docking Bay: Ground Lights, episode IV, 1:43

$24.63
3D printed in matte translucent plastic that showcases fine and intricate details.
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Product Description
These are ground lights, as seen beneath the Falcon in episode IV's desert city docking bay scene. (the episode V ice hangar versions are slightly different) They're scaled to 1:43, for use with De Agostini's model of the Falcon.

Lighting.

The models are made in two halves for ease of lighting. The lower half can be primed with light-blocking paint, then finished with a coat of yellow paint. The upper half should be treated with clear varnish to protect it.

The lower halves are also hollow, to accommodate an LED. You may want to paint the interior of the lower half with some thick black paint, such as T-shirt
fabric paint, to avoid light leakage into the lower half of the beacon, since that looks really unconvincing.

Experiment with the correct location for the light to be positioned vertically inside the beacon for your satisfaction. In real life the bare incandescent bulbs were roughly a third of the way up the glass section, I think. Accordingly you might want to fit a small warm white LED into the lamp, but a bit lower down so that the whole "glass" section is properly illuminated.

Will a 3mm LED fit?

So is it possible to put a 3mm LED into the beacon, as shown in the rendering above? Well, kind of.

There are two issues. First, I couldn't make the hole that runs down through the vertical stem any bigger in diameter without affecting printability. And the hole is not large enough to accommodate the two uninsulated wires that protrude from an LED. So you'd either have to solder on thinner wires, or else coat the LED's leads with insulating paint or varnish and squish them together to fit.

Second, a 3mm LED will protrude a bit high. Also, they're all designed to act as spotlights rather than radiating light in all directions. So I'd recommend sawing off the tip of the LED, creating a matt flat surface. (cut the clear plastic, not the internal metal components!) That will lower the end of the LED and will also mean the light coming off it will be more evenly distributed.

An SMD LED with presoldered leads might be a better choice. Also note that the 3D print will be translucent, not transparent like in this rendering!

The models

Note that the round disc at the base is part of the original beacon design. However, the support plates aren't visible in the movie, covered sand.

The hole running through the pole is pretty small, and will probably need to be thoroughly cleaned of support wax. This means running it under very hot water and gently poking a thin wire into the hole until you can scrape out the softened wax.

Sprues

The six lower sections are linked by sprues (connecting sticks) since Shapeways now places a per-part surcharge on "Frosted Detail" plastic products. The sprues are therefore there to save you money. I didn't add them to the top sections to reduce the risk of the translucent parts getting damaged while removing the sprue.

Fun fact


The ground lights are actually US military runway lights - “Bartow” type D-1 beacons built by the Line Material Company of Pennsylvania. These were widely deployed in Britain during World War II to illuminate the runways of US airbases. Thirty years later some of these beacons were bought as surplus scrap by Roger Christian and the set decorating team, and became a minor footlight, er, footnote, in movie history.


Please read the following if you're interested in these items.

These accurizing parts are not mass-market commercial products. I made them for my own use, and have put them here in case they're of interest to someone else. Possibly you, since you’re reading this.

These are components for the serious model maker who wants to build a more accurate miniature. They require finishing. If you don't want to trim, file, sand, and glue, then these aren't the parts you're looking for!

The parts are tiny, and easily broken. They push the limits of today's 3D printers. The detail in the digital previews is all there, but it won't always be visible at the miniscule sizes that this scale requires!
Details
What's in the box:
Ground Lights 1:43
Dimensions:
7.22 x 1.97 x 1.12 cm
Switch to inches
2.84 x 0.78 x 0.44 inches
Switch to cm
Success Rate:
First To try.
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Rating:
Mature audiences only.
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