Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The $5 Computer

I use the internet for 95% of my research when working on scale models and I will often walk back and forth between my office and my workshop to examine photos. This was starting to annoy me and one solution I did come up with was printing out the images but it wasn't the same.

After looking through my computer spare parts box I realized that all I was missing to build a PC was a monitor and a case. Since I am on vacation I have the extra time to work on building a computer case out of wood and took a walk to the local flea market where I picked up a very nice flat 17" CRT monitor with a low profile for only $5. After installing Windows 2000 on it (it's a Celeron 500MHz) and a wireless mouse I now have easy access to all of my reference material.

Electroluminescent Strip Lamp

I was looking for a way to illuminate the interior of the hangars for the U.S.S. Midway and my initial plan was to use white LED's. I went out and bought the necessary circuits and tested it out only to be disappointed with the outcome. I did not realize that the white LED's would create a spot light effect as well as being too big and obvious as it stuck out of the ceiling of the hangar.

I did some research and stumbled upon a post on the Fine Scale Modeler forum where it was discussed how to light up a
Star Wars Millennium Falcon engine using a electroluminescent strip lamp. after seeing some screen shots I was really intrigued since this product can be bent and cut into the shape you want.

Searching for a site that sells the product I found Miller Engineering web site where the product was available in blue or white. For the Millennium Falcon blue is the perfect color but for me white is what I need. Unfortunetly the price is a bit high and the format of the product (light dimensions) was not ideal. A quick search on eBay found exactly what I needed (10"x3" light strip which is the same dimension as the hangar deck) at about half the price (including shipping).

Below is a screen shot of what the product resembles:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Paving the Hangar

After a lot of hesitation and research I decided to paint the hangar deck Tamiya NATO black (XF-69). Why the hesitation, well as with any aircraft carrier the state of the deck will change overtime from a flat black when refresh/updated to a light gray color during extensive use (just like a highway). Since I am not an expert in weathering I decided to go with the cleaner look of black deck. Flat black was my initial idea until I realized that the island bottom half is also flat black. I wanted to have a slight contrast between the main flight deck and the island so I opted for the NATO black instead.

I first started by painting the walls Tamiya flat white (XF-2) which was the easy part. To airbrush the NATO black I first had to mask the walls because on the real ship the black goes up the wall several feet. it was not easy to mask the walls due to the size (11mm high) but the extra attention to detail was worth the trouble. I then added decals to simulate the red/yellow checkered lines around the interior hangar doors which can been seen from the exterior hangar door.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reference Material

For anyone interested in building an accurate U.S.S. Midway scale model and needs detailed reference material there is a very good site which I have based most of my research on: called Midway Sailor (

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hangar Walls

With the hangar deck glued to the hull I started the laborious task of cutting and gluing together the various walls which make out the hangar deck. This took a few evenings to complete but it definitely looks a lot better then my initial plan of using straight walls (like a box). Using the red outlines which I had made by tracing the scaled plans of the hangar deck I was able to create a fairly realistic depiction of the actual hangar deck.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The Midway has two elevators in the hangar deck, creating boxes out of styrene sheets will give the impression of seeing into the depths of the hull. I did some testings and they can be easily seen by any of the three hangar doors so detailing these features is important.

(hangar deck view from underneath)

(elevator located in the stern section of the hangar)