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Hello everyone.  This is my first post here and new to model ship building.  This is supposed to be the start of a build log for a Brig Syren by Model Shipways (yes - another one for the armada) but seems like myself and everyone else in the model ship building community decided to order kits at the end of last year, which means mine is currently back-ordered.  So in the meantime, I thought I would hack away at a detail - a few deck lanterns.  

The idea was to make a lantern that would be carried by hand or hung on a fixture on the deck.  I have seen pictures of historical ships that have lanterns hanging from the ceilings but I assume they must have had other portable lanterns for working on-deck during the night.  Any of you naval experts know of if/how this was done?  If it wasn't done this way, then this was just a fun exercise in making really tiny brass stuff, which should be helpful when my ship actually arrives...


Here is how I made a prototype.  Hope it isn't too much for a post.


I assumed that a lantern was roughly about 14" tall, which in 1:64 works out to about 5.5mm tall.  I needed to make a body, top, base, glass, handle and lighting.  I suppose most of this could have been made out a single piece of brass and turned on a lathe, but that would have taken away the fun of trying to hold a fiddly little piece of brass in your fingers.

Here are the final pieces before assembly:



For the body, I started with 1/8" brass tube, and filed 3 slots for the "windows" of the lantern.  I left it attached to the base tube for as long as possible to make it easier to work on.  This took files, Dremel tools, and carving with a knife.  it was then lightly polished.



The top and base were turned from a single solid rod of brass using my highly accurate Dewalt vise lathe:



I needed to drill a hole in the top to allow for the handle later on, which is much easier to at this stage instead of waiting until it was nearly finish turned.  Fortunately, my Dewalt vise lathe also has a milling and pin-drill bit attachment, so I proceeded to slowly consume most of my pin drill bits making a tiny hole:



More by luck than skill, I was able to turn both the top and the base at the same time:



All the brass parts where then polished.


I then needed to make the "glass", which I decided to make using a heat-and-stretch method with plastic.  I found some thin, clear packaging plastic (I think it was from a package of 5-minute epoxy).  Then I used a drill bit slightly smaller than the ID of the brass lantern body.  Using my heat gun, I heated the plastic and then quickly stretched it over the top of the drill bit to form a cylinder.  This took some trial and error but I finally ended up with something close.  (Later on, I remembered that a lot of paint brushes at the art store come with little protective sleeves for the bristles, which might work just as well.)



Brass wire was bent into a handle shape, and a small blob of epoxy was added and painted to simulate a grip.  After looking at the macro pictures, it seems like this grip is too large, so I will probably file it down and repaint again later.



Lighting was done with "Pico" sized LED, which is really, amazingly tiny.  I found mine here:


For this lantern, I have the wires coming out of the bottom, assuming it would be set on top of some surface that would hide the wires.  I also think I could route the wires out of the top and hide them in the handle so that the lantern could also be hanging.


I assembled the pieces using clear glue.  The final piece is about 7mm long, which is 1.5mm longer than I hoped (scales to ~17"), so future try 2 or 3 or 4 may get it right.



Here it is with the LED on with the ambient lights on/off.  Power comes from 2 "AA" batterys.  I think in future iterations I might try to dim the light a little.  (The LED instructions recommend a small coat of paint on the LED to reduce the intensity).




That's all.  Happy building!



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Hi Brian,


Welcome to MSW.


That lantern looks great.  If you hadn't said anyting, we wouldn't have known about it being "too tall".  If you'll go to the database: here's a shortcut:  http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-modeling-articles-and-downloads.php   There's a couple of articles on making flickering lights.  :)   If the light is too bright then consider putting a resistor in series to drop the voltage a bit.  The  LED will run cooler and last longer.

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Thanks for the replies everyone.  It's a fun little project.


Thanks for the link to the database - I hadn't found that yet.  This site is a wealth of knowledge.  Still so much to learn...


@CaptainSteve and gjdale:

The Timbers_B_Shiverin' shipyard is located at the corner of "Cheap" and "Dirtry" streets, across from the junkyard and downstairs from the worst bar in town.  That explains the level of equipment and the disposition of the lead shipwright.  Feel free to stop by anytime, and I can personally add one of these lanterns (and a lousy beer if you like) to your cart.


Regarding the lighting, the vendor that I bought the lights from has quite a variety, so I went on a bit of an LED spending spree and bought a little of everything.  The "pico" LED I used is "yellow".  I also bought a "warm white" version for comparison.  They also offer flickering LEDs, but not in the pico size (they offer it in a larger 1.8mm size, so it wouldn't fit inside this size lantern).  I bought some of those in orange, thinking I can hide them in the hull.  They offer a yellow, which I think would work better to simulate a lantern (orange looks more like fire).  No resistors or other circuitry are required, just plug-and-play with a 3V source.


Here are the "Pico" warm-white, yellow and 1.8mm orange flicker side-by-side (unlit, lit, and no ambient light).  I have noticed that the intensity of light from the pico LEDs varies from part-to-part, so I will have to sample a few pieces to match the level I am looking for.






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@CaptainSteve and gjdale:

The Timbers_B_Shiverin' shipyard is located at the corner of "Cheap" and "Dirtry" streets, across from the junkyard and downstairs from the worst bar in town.  That explains the level of equipment and the disposition of the lead shipwright.  Feel free to stop by anytime, and I can personally add one of these lanterns (and a lousy beer if you like) to your cart.



Well that's good that it's only a bar upstairs and not a bowling alley.


Great looking LED's.   With the stuff they're coming out with now, I'll have do some serious thinking on my next build.  When I did my Constellation, the smallest LED's were 5mm.

Edited by mtaylor
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