A Cool Way to Display Launch Vehicles

Ed. note: The folks at Mad Menges Productions have come up with a really nifty way to display your launch vehicle models as if they're under the splash of spotlights. The plans provided are for a 1/144 scale Mercury Redstone, but you can use them as the inspiration to create a lighted base for any launch vehicle you desire. All it takes is a little creativity and y'all have that already or you wouldn't be space modelers. Mad Menges sells the photoetched searchlight parts for a very reasonable fee (about $5 plus $1.20 postage as of August 2014). You can contact them through their email address printed at the top of each plan sheet.

The Plans

Printing in 100% will provide the correct result. The size of sheets are 210 x 297 mm.

Building the base

It is made of white 1 mm polystyrene (ps), which is real easy to slice with a professional cutter. If you dont want to put some color on the base later on, you can use black polystyrene.

Put some stripes of double-sided tape on the backside of the print, position a 110 x 190 mm piece over it and turn it around. Then cut along the lines. Approx. 6 slices are enough, to break off the ps. You need two 90 x 90 mm pieces for the top and the bottom. If you decide to put a display case over the rocket and the base, the bottom has to be 92 x 92 mm (if you will use 1 mm transparent acrylic or polycarbonate). Before taking off the paper from the ps parts just mark center of the crosses for drilling later on. The top piece needs the marks for the 0402 SMD, the 5 mm LED and the center-mark for the 1.5 mm steel rod. The bottom piece has to be marked in the corners for the small "10 mm".

The round omission is for the jet vanes of the MR. Use a tile or a piece of glass and right-angled blocks to glue parts together. Some weights will give the base together with the rocket a better stand. The 0402 LED should be fixed with super glue on small 0.3 mm (thickness) ps pieces. Drill the holes (up to 0.5 mm) in the small spots and sand the brass. Use liquid mask to cover the 0402s and thread the 0.10 mm enameled wire through the holes. Then bend these parts to a right angle. Fix the 0.5 mm ps-strips with super glue on the bottom and bend the other sides of the spots. Fill the gaps with primer.

The washers (7 mm dia, 0.5 mm thick) are used for better handling and looking. A 4 mm wood drill will give best results with ps. The inner angles for the LED have to be made light-tight with black enamel.

The small ps blocks for the "10 mm" need a 1 mm distance to the lower edge of the base. The 5.5 mm DC socket is fixed with glue.

I use "Kemo M142" LED power sources from the German ELV-group. The output is about 15 mA and this will protect the 20 mA LED much better than the 20 mA power sources. Please don't use wall plug transformers, because they produce (+)-peaks and many more destructive ()-peaks which could kill these great micro light sources or even slow down their brightness in less than a few years.

Its better to do the solder work before fixing the LED boxes and the lamps in their positions. Test the light system and again fill the gaps and the small 0.9 mm holes for the LED legs with primer.

Masking of the 5 mm LED is necessary before coloring. The short 6 mm tubes on top of the 5 mm LED do reduce spreading of light. At last remove the maskings of the 0402s and the LED.

Right now put your rocket kit on the base and start enjoying these special right sized light effects with phantastic-realistic shadows!

The Specifications

0402 SMD LED cold-white Luckylight LL-S160W-W2-1C
typ. 80 mcd
6000 K
20 mA
5 mm LED cold-white -
typ. 18.000 mcd
approx. 8500K
20 mA

The photos