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PREPPING PLASTIC MODELS FOR ASSEMBLY - Careful preparation of a model kit is as important as careful assembly.  The
first step in preparing to assembly any model is - READ THE INSTRUCTIONS and get familiar with all the parts, steps, and
details involved.  The
second step is to clean the model parts to remove any lingering traces of molding release agent.  Most
modern plastic model kits need little cleaning, but it's a good idea to clean them anyway. This ensures the best possible bond
between the plastic surfaces and any paint you need to apply.  Many kits will recommend soaking the parts-trees (sprues) in
warm water with a few drops of grease cutting dish washing detergent - pat dry with a paper towel and let sit until completely
dry.  This is fine, but doesn't account for all the handling the sprues will get while you're building the kit (skin oils are just as bad
for hobby paint as the release agent)  I prefer to use a Q-Tip to swab each part with a drop of rubbing alcohol just before cutting
it from the sprue.  The alcohol evaporates very fast and the part is usually dry by the time I'm ready to put it in place.
Also - rule # 1 for building plastic model kits - Never remove a part from the sprue until you're ready to paint or install the part.  
Cutting parts free in bunches is a good way to loose parts or end up misidentifying them when it comes time to assemble them.
BY REQUEST - This article was created at the request of YouTube viewer cathymaid.
    
cathymaid has made a comment on PHASER-I 23rd CENTURY PARTS. . . ..
   " I would like to see the electronics or even a schematic would be good so I can make my own."

WIRING A 23rd CENTURY PISTOL KIT PHASER-I FOR LIGHT & SOUND:
Sorry cathymaid, I don't have any assembly photos of a 23rd Century Pistol Phaser-I at this time   I do have photos  from a
build-up of a Roddenberry Phaser-I. These should answer your questions.  Just remember, the space in a 23d Cent P-1 is a
little less than in a Rodd kit.  The placement of the sound board in your Phaser-I will depend on the size of the board you use.  

For those of you who have not seen it yet, view my YouTube video on building a Phaser-I from 23rd Century kit parts (
CLICK
HERE TO VIEW)
STEP 1. Cut the P-1 top part from the sprue & sand edges as needed.  Carve away the wedge at the front (center) of the
part.   Carve away the raised disk near the center.  Sand both areas smooth.
 IF you plan to install a metal thumb-wheel,
carefully cut out the recessed area where the thumb-wheel sits.  Test fit your metal part, carefully enlarging the opening in the
top of the phaser body until the wheel fits properly (exact fit will depend on the wheel you use & how you decide to hold it in
place).
STEP 2.  Cut the P-I bottom body part from the sprue.  Sand as in Step 1.  Carve away the wedge and raised disk, as in Step
1.  The disk must be removed completely and left  level with the surrounding area. Create a battery compartment cover by
cutting the bottom half of the phaser body into two sections. Cut across the part about 1.25" from the front edge.   Drill a hole
for a retaining screw at the center, rear,  (appx. 0.25" from the
inside wall of the bottom part).
STEP 3. Set up the beam emitter.  Cut the beam emitter face plate from the sprue.  Sand smooth as needed.  Drill out the hole
where the emitter is to be mounted.  Cut away the lower half of the circle and sand the part so it is flat across along the lower
edge.  Attach the face plate to the lower half of the P-1 body as per the kit instructions.  After the part has set completely, drill
through the plastic behind the faceplate so you have an opening for your brass emitter tube to go through the faceplate and
lower body part.   Cut a small piece of brass tube (appx. 0.5" long x 0.2" diam.) for the beam emitter.  Test fit this into the hole
in the faceplate - be sure it goes through to the inside of the body cleanly.  File or sand the hole as needed to get a snug but
smooth fit for the brass emitter tube.  

The P-I body is now ready to add your electronics.  The photos below show how electronics were added to a Roddenberry P-I.  
You'll have to make adjustments to deal with the differences in how the interiors are cast, but these photos should give you a
good idea of what to do.  To get text information for each photo, mouse over it.    
NOTE:  The soundboard used here is from an
old Ruby's Phaser-II -.it's cheap with good quality sound, but sound  
only.  There are no connections on the board for an LED.
The LED in my P-I is wired directly to the trigger & battery pack.
 IF you use a sound board that does have wiring for an LED,
remember the voltage  through that connection will be less than via a direct hookup - so I recommend clipping the LED leads
from the sound board & following the illustrations below to get maximum output from your 'phaser beam' LED.. Also, when
making your battery holder - three (3) A76 button cells are usually enough to drive this setup.. You can add a fourth if you want
to but it isn't necessary.
Drill a hole for your trigger stud. Build a mount for the
trigger switch / button.
FINISHED trigger-stud & switch assembly.
Overall wiring layout.  Speaker is hot-glued to underside of
sound board so it faces the top of the phaser body. Sound
board fits as far forward in top of body as possible.
Completed Wiring Layout. (BELOW) - Battery & trigger are wired to the LED, the power input wires from the sound board are
attached to the corresponding LED leads (positive to positive, negative to negative). The LED and sound board are
hot-glued into the body AFTER test firing the system to be sure that everything is working.
Note the position & fit of the brass beam
emitter tube - the *LED is glued into the back
end of the tube & both are hot-glued into
place inside the P-I lower front body part.

Take care to secure all wiring with a small
drop of hot-glue to avoid accidentally pulling
a wire loose or breaking a connection. This
is particularly necessary for the wires that
connect the battery and trigger to the LED
and sound board.

* I recommend a high-intensity red or blue
3mm LED for optimal 'phaser beam' output.
See
Links To Good Stuff for LED sources.
There are no raised alignment studs molded
into the plastic 23rd Century P-I body as seen
in the Rodd part (above & left).  Use small
flat pieces of styrene plastic to create your
own alignment / retainer studs before you
install the trigger switch assembly.   
The switch assembly seen here is made from
a piece of 030 sheet styrene (to hold the
switch), & 2 pieces of 1/8" square plastic rod
(Plastruct).  The metal trigger stud is from a
Rodd kit.  A trigger stud can be fashioned
from a piece of steel or aluminum rod (appx
3/8" wide x 1/4" - 5/8" tall).  A plate just a
bit larger than the hole the trigger stud
passes through must be attached to the
inside (top) of the stud to keep it from falling
through the hole.
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IMPROVING MODELS WITH AFTER-MARKET PARTS:
One thing that has changed drastically in the years since I first began building scale models (yes, dinosaurs still roamed the
Earth back then, lol), is the availability of an amazingly wide variety of 'after-market' kits and individual parts for enhancing
specific model kits. If you are not familiar with the term 'after-market', it simply refers to any kit or kit part that is produced after
a model kit is released and sold separately for use with one or more specific models.

There are all sorts of after-market items available, for all sorts of models.  Since I build mostly military and sci-fi models, I'll
stick to talking about after-market items for military kits. After-market items for enhancing military models fall into three basic
types / categories:
  1. Cast resin replacement / improvement parts.  These are (obviously) cast resin hulls, turrets, wheels, and detail items
    (like gun mantles, storage boxes, etc.) that are meant to provide improved accuracy and / or greater detail than their
    corresponding plastic parts that came with a specific kit. Resin 'kits' can also add great detail to the interior (or exterior)
    of a military model by providing detailed parts not included in a plastic kit (e.g. complete engine compartments for tanks
    or trucks, turret interior details, etc.).
  2. Photo-etched Brass: Thin photo-etched brass parts are useful for improving the scale and detail of small detail parts on
    vehicles (lash-down hooks, fender brackets, etc), especially where the molded plastic parts may be too thick to scale
    properly with the rest of the vehicle. They can also add realism to plastic models by providing a level of fine detail that
    might not be easily molded into plastic parts (exhaust fan wire mesh covers for tanks like the Panther or Tiger).
  3. Machined Aluminum Parts:  Most recently, a wide variety of machined aluminum parts have come onto the market.
    These are mostly various cannon barrels intended to replace the plastic guns from tank kits. These do improve the look
    and realism of tank models by eliminating any and all seams or joint lines along the length of the gun barrel. Properly
    painted, they also provide a very realistic looking muzzle for the tank guns. There are also a few replacement barrels
    on the market for machine-guns (I've seen M1 .50cal barrels and vented barrels for Browning .30cal MGs)  
To be honest, I'm pretty new to the practice of incorporating after-market parts into my plastic military model kits. However, so
far, I think that the added realism and detail they provide can be worth the added cost - it all depends on just how realistic you
want your model to look.  Also to be considered is the fact that some after-market items enable you to build variants of  
vehicles for which there are no plastic kits available (see photos below).
A quick example of the integration of after-market parts into a plastic kit can be seen in the photos of my M4A2 Sherman tank
(1:35 scale), below:
M4A2 SHERMAN:
My model of this early Sherman variant is an example of using after-market parts to create a model that wasn't available as a
plastic kit & improving detailing.  There are plastic kits for building an M4A1 Sherman. However, I've never seen a plastic kit
for the "Composite Hull" M4A2 variant of the Sherman tank.  To build a composite hull M4A2 (above), I combined a Tamiya
M4 Sherman kit's lower hull, suspension, & tracks, with a cast resin upper hull and a cast resin 3-piece transmission cover
(both by VLS). I used the VLS upper hull because it provided the unique cast & welded hull shape that I wanted. I used the
resin transmission cover for slightly better detail than the Tamiya kit's plastic part.. The turret is the original plastic turret from
the M4 Sherman kit, improved by replacing the plastic 75mm gun with a machined aluminum gun.  
AFTER MARKET RESIN PARTS:
To create my M4A2 Composite-hull Sherman, I began with a Tamiya M4 Sherman kit (1:35).  I discarded the kit's plastic upper
hull and replaced it with a cast resin composite hull made by Verlinden (VLS).  I also cut away the front end of the kit's lower
hull and installed a new cast resin transmission cover (also VLS) for better detail and to be more consistent with the new
upper hull.
Note the distinct diagonal weld line on the upper hull (in front of the appliqué armor panel). This marks the joint where the rolled
front section of the upper hull is joined to the welded plate rear section of the hull resulting a combination (composite) of rolled
and welded hull types. This Sherman variant was produced only in limited numbers.
AFTER MARKET METAL PARTS:
This M4A2 Sherman was finished off by replacing the Tamiya kit's plastic 75mm gun with a machined
aluminum gun barrel.  
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