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SecretReeve

Spitfire vs Messerschmitt with lighting

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hi guys,

 

so I figured I would join up and make a thread on this one so progress can be monitored by the person who's asked for this to be done.

 

I've been asked to make a model of a spitfire and a messerschmitt in a dog fight. sort of like a diorama. I haven't done this sort of work before so its going to be an interesting journey for me. Due to personal circumstances I'm starting modelling all over again which means I have to get all the equipment again from the very beginning so this build is going to take some time. Now what's lucky for me is I actually live within 5 minutes drive of the manston spitfire and hurricane museum which thank god I can go there for specific information

that will become apparent soon.

 

I've been asked to make the navigational lights on the planes a functional aesthetic to the model, as well as making the guns/cannons "glow" as if they are overheating and cooling down. so the first part of the thread is going to largely be based around that aspect.

 

electronics people! integrated circuits, custom code, leds and fibre optic strands, all coupled with modelling. what's not to love?! thankfully I'm not a complete stranger to adding custom electronics to models, if you look for secretreeve on YouTube you'll see my USS voyager, battlestar Galactica, iron man armour and the start of a Galactica fighter I never got to finish. Those where back in my

days of analogue circuits, now I've been able to develop code that I can load into an IC and control things alot more precisely, add "phases" so in star trek I can add a "start-up" sequence, impulse mode, warp mode and even a visualised "self destruct" by "overloading" all the lights as if its just gone boom.

 

This isn't so advanced, I've deconstructed the original code I had and made various modification so its usable for this instead. the original code was designed with being able to do that in mind so its very versatile and can be used for all kinds of kits.

 

okay so there's the build up, how about some specifics?

 

the actual circuit I'm designing has to be small enough to fit within the fuselage of the planes as well so I'll be mounting the leds onto the PCB and transferring the light to where it needs to be via 0.5 and 1mm thick fibre optic strands. this also makes getting the light to where it needs to be alot easier when your dealing with space issues (in-between 2 half of a wing for example?)

 

yeah, I gotta make the circuit myself, so considering its got a program to run I need an IC chip circuit.

 

hmm component list? OKAY!!!

 

through hole PCB board.

atmel ATTINY45 IC

8 pin dip socket

2n7000 mosfets

1/4w 100ohm resistors

1/4watt 150ohm resistors

1.8mm leds of various colours as needed (some are still to be confirmed)

micro USB socket for power inlet

0.5mm diameter fibre optic strand

1.0mm diameter fibre optic strand

 

I haven't actually settled on a layout for the circuit yet, there's many options but I need the actual plane kit in my hands so I can dry fit the circuit, stuff it in the plane and see which works best for space ha-ha. I'm placing a huge order for components and the spitfire mkV5b kit from tamiya on Friday so next week I'll have plenty to do.

 

so what's the need for this program? well, when plugged in and turned on, the various navigation lights have to start and be as accurate for the timing on them, this is definable within the program, any internal cockpit illumination needs to happen, and the guns/cannons have to glow.

 

so the sequence is this, cockpit panel lights up, navigation lights light up and do what they gotta do, the guns will fade up and down at varying periods to indicate overheating and cooling down. And that happening repeatedly at appealingly random intervals.

 

okay okay doesn't sound very impressive at the moment. but when all the components turn up and I get a prototype working it should make more sense and look more impressive than it sounds. but with the program I can set the brightness level of each led, be it a fader, flasher or statically on. Why do I wanna do that? well if it was on at full brightness it'd be the real life equivalent of the sun behind a fuel gauge. not very realistic. I'll be using my arduino R3 as an AVR ISP programmer for this and to do all the prototype testing as its a pretty robust platform to test this

kind of thing out on.

 

funny thing, I can do that stuff as realistic as possible, lets see how the paint work comes out shall we? hahaha.

 

so what's a circuit like this cost? well its about a tenner for components, so realistically, with research for accurate timing and labour and coding as well as assembly, probably a good £40 worth if I was to retail them as a kit which I'd probably do quite happily as used to build up the lights for my Galactica and voyager and sell them as installable kits. without a power supply that is. oooo now there's a point. POWER!

 

the circuit is designed to run on a 5v power supply, so if you was so inclined, and I wouldn't recommend it but would recommend a stabilised 5v supply, use your phone charger to power the model. I'll delve into that at a later point.

 

"okay okay so enough text show us some pictures or something!!!"

 

here's the schematic I doodled up using MS paint.

49008351127_a5843d244f_b.jpgspitfire circuit by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

here's an image I'm going to TRY so hard, to base this diorama on

 

49007612383_0a8a24ca20_k.jpg20191007_191104 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

okay so the model kits, as lets face it that's why where are all here, I'll be using tamiya 1/48 scale model kits. this means a spitfire Mkv b.

I know tamiya also do a messerschmitt in the same scale so that's nice and handy. but im going to focus firstly on the spitfire as that one

gets to stay in one glorious piece where as the messerschmitt is going to be taking a little.....damage shall we say. I will probably end up

using model master paints so may need some guidance there when the time comes. I've used their paints before and always been impressed with the

quality of them. plus those little glass bottles are so cute, who could resist?!

 

I'm hoping to get video footage of work as it progresses and upload to YouTube so what I'll do is edit this first post with progress updates so its all in one big post. that way any comments, questions, helpful hints and constructive criticism is all underneath the actual build log.

 

its going to take time. a long time to complete this. and as I said waaaaaaaaaay up there somewhere, the first part will focus heavily on the electrical side of this.

 

okay so alot of this stuff is done by programming chips, now as i said before im using an arduino uno as an isp/AVR so i had to make a shield for it. well heres that shield.

 

49016699937_364939e0aa_c.jpg2019-11-05_02-38-29 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

now ive been tinkering so heres a video of the spitfire program, the navigation lights are on but having discussed the accuracy issues with the client i'll be adding a dedicated switch to turn them off so he can choose what to do. also the cannon glow has been changed to muzzle flash (the orange ones in the middle of the board) still not sure if the i.d lights should be on or not but hey, they are flashing for now, i can change the program if needs be.

 

 

next up we have the fire effect for the messerschmitts shot off wing, testing the circuit;

 

 

and a tour of the completed circuit for the fire effect;

 

 

note, the circuit board has been left in that size so i can add further circuits 5v and gnd leads to it so it'll act as a kind of distributor as theres the spitfire circuit, messerschmitt circuit and the lcd display to be powered still. however, soldering the main leads to the micro usb socket was GREAT fun.

 

okay heres the spitfires circuit in construction.

 

49026506486_8f3fe8dbe2_c.jpg20191106_002542 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026717407_31264ebfdc_c.jpg20191106_002553 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49025995243_6c26e28e8f_c.jpg20191106_003100 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49025995153_6542edd538_c.jpg20191106_011512 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49025995153_6542edd538_c.jpg20191106_011512 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49025994968_5c3c3d06e0_c.jpg20191106_015535 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026506416_e89cf331af_c.jpg20191106_022229 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49025994743_5e977d65d2_c.jpg20191106_022222 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026507806_609c6378cb_c.jpg20191106_104824 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026717997_f5774efb2b_c.jpg20191106_105234 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026716827_cd072f4ea5_c.jpg20191106_104814 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026507661_82e37e5067_c.jpg20191106_111939 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026507561_c4f56272a5_c.jpg20191106_111952 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

49026717727_1e1e61ec70_c.jpg20191106_130945 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

 

nice shot of both boards side by side. so theres no fibre optics at the moment as they'll be installed later on and then connected, need a few more bits first. also the code isnt finalised, i can pull the chip, modify the code and reprogram and install the chip.

 

next up here we have and test fibers installed into the wings, had to drill through the wing end, still some work to be done so work in progress, colour, flash rate and all that is just for testing perpouses!

 

 

and just as a note, im glad i was wearing steel toe cap shoes today, this happened.

 

49025995433_b3b2d3d9b7_c.jpg20191106_230907 by chris marsh, on Flickr

 

latest test footage, the fibre optics for the guns are glued into place, they just need trimming down after the planes been painted, the wing tips need to be finished up with the drilling out and test optics are installed so far, i.d lights are on test optics as well, all optics running off the actual MCB for the project.

 

 

I quite like the effect we get from the optics, they are subtle and not overpowering either.

 

latest testing videos, morse code added to i.d lights

 

 

and wing tips drilled out running full current version of firmware.

 

 

Edited by SecretReeve

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Can I suggest that guns don't get hot enough to glow and then cool down, but there would be flashes at the muzzle when actually firing.

 

I suspect that in this period the nav lights, and possibly the ID ones too, don't flash.

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1 minute ago, Graham Boak said:

Can I suggest that guns don't get hot enough to glow and then cool down, but there would be flashes at the muzzle when actually firing.

 

I suspect that in this period the nav lights, and possibly the ID ones too, don't flash.

The guns glowing from heat are a request from the individual who has asked for the diorama to be done so that ones out of my hands unfortunately as i do completely agree, with the speed they are flying and the colder air of the altitude they'd stay cool. as for the nav and I.D lights im not 100% sure, need one of the resident experts to inform us on that

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< content removed as it seemed to annoy some people > 

Edited by FinnAndersen

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7 minutes ago, FinnAndersen said:

Is this a joke?

what do you mean? instead of leaving comments like this please expand on that and try to be helpful.

Edited by SecretReeve

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It's unlike almost every other request for help I've seen. Too detailed. Too far from mainstream modelling.

 

My question was legitimate and I take your answer as a no.

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The only request for help is the post below my primary in regard to the timing of the navigation lights if they flashed.

 

And what do you mean too far from mainstream modelling?

Edited by SecretReeve

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Turning on one's position lights during WWII air combat would have served no useful purpose. Even today concealing ones position and direction of flight remains an important task in case firing missiles beyond horizon turns into close quarter dogfight hence camouflage, painted false canopies etc. Switching on navigational lights momentary had been used occasionally to convey one's position to friendly aircraft flying nearby, but I suspect such practices had been limited to night fighting.

 

Booklet Pilot's notes - Spitfire mk.Va, Vb, Vc & Seafire mk.Ib, IIc and III aircraft (A. P. 1565E) mentions only possibility of steady illumination or morse signaling (positions MORSE, OFF and STEADY). Cheers

Jure

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2 minutes ago, Jure Miljevic said:

Turning on one's position lights during WWII air combat would have served no useful purpose. Even today concealing ones position and direction of flight remains an important task in case firing missiles beyond horizon turns into close quarter dogfight hence camouflage, painted false canopies etc. Switching on navigational lights momentary had been used occasionally to convey one's position to friendly aircraft flying nearby, but I suspect such practices had been limited to night fighting.

 

Booklet Pilot's notes - Spitfire mk.Va, Vb, Vc & Seafire mk.Ib, IIc and III aircraft (A. P. 1565E) mentions only possibility of steady illumination or morse signaling (positions MORSE, OFF and STEADY). Cheers

Jure

Fascinating and highly topical which I love. So they wouldn't have flashed other than Morse code. Well I can adjust my code so they are steadily on instead of flashing away.  

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1 minute ago, Rob G said:

2A Google search gives lots of options

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=aircraft+nav+lights+ww2&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-m

 

Also, what Graham said. The other issue is that the Vb's gun barrels are enclosed - inside the wing for the machine guns, and with an aerodynamic cover for the cannon, except for the very tip, so none of them are visible.

 

Pilots never hosed off rounds like they do in the movies, ammunition was limited and you saved it as much as possible - if you hadn't hit with a 2 or 3 second burst, you weren't going to hit anything (and most pilots didn't). For a best case example, the .303 Brownings had 350 rounds per gun, and a rate of fire of around 500 rounds per minute. That allows you to empty your ammunition in about 45 seconds of firing, and there was no reload. Consequently, you saved it, and your guns didn't glow.

 

That said, good luck with your project, and I hope that your client enjoys the result.

Oh I know, 99% of rounds that were actually fired would miss. The joys of early air combat. But as I said the client has requested this be added into the model. Probably just to give it a little more to look at I suppose. I figure their model, their money, I just.do the leg work.

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12 hours ago, Paul Needs said:

Would the lights even have been on during combat?

No, and would not be on during the day at all even when not in combat

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I wonder if the customer might like one of these flying in the background?

 

49011945742_f07cb73a6f_c.jpg

it would look pretty cool.

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Forget the lights (joke) - what about the props spinning? Micro motors for mobile phones (minus their weights) are a handy size.

When it comes to the 'damage': if you are doing a section - press thick aluminium onto the area, aluminium from food trays, to copy the shape. Cut away the plastic then add in the aluminium piece which you can then crumple down or rip holes in

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Glowing guns.. Even when the Hispano cannon had fired all rounds in one burst there would not be a glow emnating from the barrels. Even an electric Gatling gun has to fire an insane amount of rounds to get a glow. Also, the gun shroud would cover the whole barrel save for the muzzle ends. So the area that could possibly glow, not even visible in daylight, would be tiny as well.
Although muzzle flashes could be simulated in the gun tips, in relation to the proposed composition it would be strange for the Spit to keep firing while pulling up and its opponent is already breaking up in flames.

So my question; does your customer simply want glowing guns - period. ? Because in that case anything would go, as an approximation of realism wouldn't be a point.
Transparent resin copies of the guns would allow them to glow, but when the lights are off the Spit would still be having these transparent guns. Maybe just a thin layer of paint would take care of that, but still be able to show a glow when the lights are on. You'd have to experiment with the amount of paint coverage. Also, the tips would logically look darkest when the lights are off, but brightest since they'd be glowing the most.

Edited by Luka
removed unnecessary remark

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I get the impression that the "customer" wants a "cartoon" of a dog fight rather than a realistic portrayal of one. The customer is not Roland Emmerich by any chance?

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Can we can the negative comments on this thread pls, if thats wants wanted help the guy or leave it.

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Okay, apologies for the levity.

Perhaps more important than the lighting is some movement. +1 to the spinning props idea. I have used mobile phone motors and they work fine. Make sure the voltage doesn't make them spin insanely fast or they will melt. Maybe one pilot parachuting might give you some movement - a bit of wind catching the parachute?

How about back projecting a dog fight scene on to the rear wall of the diorama. One fighter could be turning towards this and firing his guns. I think the flashing of firing is better than any "glow".

How about a commentary. There plenty of movies and videos from which you could extract and mix a soundtrack.

I hope you link us to a Utube video when you have finished it.

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thanks for that Ed,

 

I've ordered in a couple of motors for the propellers, we'll see how they work out as they may be a little large but thats the joys of online buying, you cant handle the product before you buy them. they are going to be mounted in a suspended state inside the fuselage and the pin hole for the properllers increased to avoid the melting aspect, the code will also be modified to slow them down a little. they should arrive in the next few days. i'll add a 12/13 second long test video and prototype circuit to my primary post later on.

 

the code has been modified to immitate muzzle flash instead of a glowing after discussing accuracy with the client. they have also asked for the ability to manually switch on and off the navigational lights which have also been coded to solid state on and will be linked to a switch for turning them on and off and seated into the base plaque.

 

the entire model will be fully open sided so no "walls" to project onto, i do like the idea of a parachuting pilot, this'll be too much work ontop of what ive already got going on.

Edited by SecretReeve

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Hi 

    loads to read and i might have missed it, if so apologies 

 

  but how about a smoke generator ? 

 

   an e cig ?

or one from a model railway loco ? 

 

    cheers

       jerry 

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hi there jerry, i'll be using cotton wool to simulate the smoke coming from the wing.

 

updates added to primary.

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I do hope you create a Work in Progress thread for this. Will be interesting to follow.

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1 minute ago, Madmaks said:

I do hope you create a Work in Progress thread for this. Will be interesting to follow.

keep an eye on the primary post, updates will be added to the bottom of that. i got some new videos and photos to add tomorrow when i can be bothered (being honest) but they will be added. as a teaser, ive rigged some fibre strands to a couple of test leds so i can see how to run the strands in the spitfire and how it looks. photos will follow in main post soon.

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