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Yesterday evening I decided to take the plunge and start work on my Kaladrax model.  Last year I participated in Powered Play Gaming's Kickstarter for their light kits and I knew I wanted to use one of them on Kaladrax.  I spent Friday night and most of Saturday putting the two together.

 

My first step was to remove mold lines so I won't have to worry about them later.  Then came the careful process of planning out how I would install the light kit on Kaladrax for best effect.  I knew I wanted to make use of both the base and Kaladrax's belly to keep the kit components.  So, the first major effort was in separating the two halves that make up the belly, as it was glued at the factory.  With some strategic bending and the help of a long necked flathead screwdriver I was able to separate them.

 

I knew I wanted to light up the eyes and mouth, and eventually settled on using two different colored LED lights, one for the eyes, the other for the mouth.  As the light strings from Powered Play Gaming's alpha kits come as a pair of lights, this meant using two different strings and only one light of each string.  What to do with the other light of each pair?  Leave them in the belly to provide an additional light source, this one to suggest some powerful animating force originating there.

 

So, how to get the lights up to Kaladrax's head and minimize exposure of the wires?  By carefully cutting up the neck into several short sections, then a combination of drilling and digging out a series of holes big enough for the LED lights and the wires to pass through from the belly to the back of the head.  Then, drilling into the head, both in the mouth and in both eye sockets for the lights to show through.  The mouth was easier than the eyes.  For the eyes I ended up cutting two short lengths of fiber optic cable from Powered Play Gaming's fiber optic kit (the 3mm cable size) and then inserting one into each eye socket, making sure that the inner ends ended up fairly close to each other so that a single LED light could be the source for both cables.  Test mock-ups showed great promise in this strategy as it made the lit eyes more focused and defined with just the round end of the cable carrying the light through.

 

I knew I didn't want to keep all the light kit components in the belly, as I wanted the switch and the battery pack accessible without having to open the belly to use them.  So, this required some careful drilling (and digging) into the base to provide a hole for the wires to pass through from the inside of the base to the belly.  I carefully chose the spot for this hole to minimize the length of wire exposed  between the base and Kaladrax.  I also got the idea of mounting the switch to the base so that it could be accessed from the outside instead of having to lift up the base to get at the inside.  I chose one of the flat stone surfaces on the backside of the base as the location for the switch, you can see it in the pictures and on the YouTube video.

 

Now, in order to get the neck back together and strong enough to hold up,  I decided to drill a series of holes along the top side of the neck and ran a brass rod through them for support.

 

Finally I was ready to put it all together for a dry fit before gluing anything permanently and make sure it was working as planned.  So far so good.  Now time to glue the neck parts back together (with the brass rod and LED wires securely in place) and then use some epoxy putty to fill gaps and cover the seams between the neck sections (since I used a hobby saw to make the cuts, they were not a perfect match when I put them back together).

 

So here is where I am now, before any painting, with the light kit installed and Kaladrax glued into several assemblies to make it easier to paint.

 

Here are some unlighted pictures of my assembled Kaladrax, followed by a couple with the lights on:

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Here is a link to the video I uploaded to my YouTube channel showing the lighting effects:

http://youtu.be/bDFRQGz0tp4

 

If I can figure out how to embed the video, I'll see if I can do it.

 

Next step: Painting!

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Yesterday evening I decided to take the plunge and start work on my Kaladrax model.  Last year I participated in Powered Play Gaming's Kickstarter for their light kits and I knew I wanted to use one o

Time for an update to show what I have been slowly working on over the past week or so.  I decided Kaladrax would fit better in the Game Tiles dungeon lair if his base reflected more the treasure hoar

I have finished basecoating Kaladrax and his base, using Pokorny Paints from Dwarven Forge, the same paints I used to paint the Dwarven Forge Game Tiles I received last year.  So far so good, Kaladrax

That's one of the better lighting conversions I've seen... and a better approach to putting the wiring through the neck than I had, which was heating, straightening and drilling straight through with a very long bit, before returning to its original shape.

 

Did you pin the neck pieces as you reassembled them?

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I like how c'thulhu is just sort of sacked out in the background there.

 

How's it go?  "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming"?  :lol:

 

Also, "Laz0r Kaladrax" looks awesome, and now he has a pew-pew breath weapon!  Are you going to paint him with darker tones to offset the light effects, or stick with a lighter "bone" effect?

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Did you pin the neck pieces as you reassembled them?

 

Yes, a single brass rod through holes I drilled along the vertebrae.  It makes the neck very strong.  It also extends into the back of the head. I half considered using what I had done to adjust the position of the of the neck/head from the default, but figured that would require more sculpting work than I felt like doing.  Perhaps another time on a different model.

 

I also noticed the extra ribs you mentioned in your recent post on Kaladrax.  Cutting up the neck would have been easier than it was if there was only one set of ribs per vertebra, as it was I had to be careful to avoid the ribs when making my cuts, and having to avoid the extra ribs made that more challenging than it should have been.

 

I will take some closer pictures to help show what I did in the conversion/light installation and post them today before I get started on painting.

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Here are the tools I used during my light kit installation on Kaladrax:

13931474832_32c121a88e_n.jpg13954571715_c0790aa3a1_n.jpg13954570575_23625e3b52_n.jpg13931471712_1da72f331a_n.jpg13931470452_63066b610d_n.jpg13954639983_ff71f2c497_n.jpg

 

And I thought I would give Kaladrax a proper background this time around, though unfortunately I don't think I have enough treasure to match Kaladrax's grandeur!  (And I used at least two thirds of my DF Dungeon Game Tiles' floor and straight wall tiles!)

13931527431_6646598c64_z.jpg

 

And a few more pictures with the background attempting to show the light effects:

13955085194_85bb2f879c_z.jpg13955084114_84eec2c708_z.jpg13955083384_1ccd708073_z.jpg

 

I'll post another reply with the pictures showing what I did for the installation.

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Now for the detail pictures.

 

First up, here is what the insides of Kaladrax's belly looks like after removing the right belly/arm/wing assembly:

13955082384_d6d5e00d03_z.jpg

The blue-tac helps hold both sides together for display until I am ready to permanently glue them together.  I will be painting Kaladrax as several sub-assemblies instead of trying to paint the entire model as one.

 

Here is the PC Board from Powered Play Gaming's alpha kit, with four LED light strands, the remote switch, and the battery cable plugged in.  In addition to the Red and Pink light strands, I added a Cool White strand and a Purple strand to increase the light sources in the belly.  I have other color strands I could use instead of the White and Purple (blue, green, yellow, orange, UV), so I can still swap out different colors before the final assembly if desired.

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A side profile of the neck, showing my gap filling with ProCreate.  I ended up cutting the neck into six separate pieces, at each verterbra.  The pin holes were drilled in the upper part of each neck piece (at the vertebra) while the holes for the light strand wires were drilled and carved out in the fleshy portion on the lower part.

13931522692_61978ea2bf_z.jpg

 

Close-ups of the head.  The fiber optic cable sits in the forward part of the eye socket.  I used ProCreate to fill back some of the excess area that I drilled out, both in the eye sockets and in the mouth to help anchor the LED light there.

13954690873_e2654bf79e_n.jpg13931519656_f307165958_n.jpg13954688893_cf20536d71_n.jpg

 

Kaladrax's head is not currently glued.  Here you can see the head end of the brass rod used to pin the entire neck to the head and the body.  Also, you can just barely see the ends of the fiber optic cables in the eye sockets.  The Pink LED light sits right at the junction, providing light through both cables.

13954615655_914c054b8f_z.jpg

 

A closer look at the end of the neck, showing the hole I drilled/carved out for the light strands to pass through.  The holes needed to be wide enough to allow the LED bulb to pass through.

13954686273_c1e4ab724c_z.jpg

 

Now for the base, with the remote switch and battery cables unplugged from the PC Board:

13955068504_80622b5b60_z.jpg13931505491_28753a2dd1_z.jpg

 

And here is where I installed the switch to allow easy access to turn the lights on and off.

13954611675_f3857e9c19_z.jpg

 

And the underside of the base.  Blue-tac holds the battery securely in place.  You can also see the back end of the switch:

13931503601_c728edd63a_z.jpg

 

Feel free to ask questions.  I am afraid I didn't take any pictures during the process, but hopefully these pictures show enough to provide a sense of what I did.

 

Next step:  Basecoats

 

My plan is to start off with the Pokorny paints I used for my game tiles, use the Stone Grey to basecoat the base (and possibly the fleshy parts on Kaladrax as well), and Earth Stone for the basecoat of the bones.  I found them very robust when painting the Dwarven Forge Game Tiles and the Bones dungeon accessories, and I anticipate they will provide a nice solid basecoat for Kaladrax.

 

If you have any suggestions for the two additional LED light strands (to swap out with the White and Purple) feel free to post them along with your reasoning and I will take them under consideration.  I can't swap out the red and pink strands, but can easily swap out the other two.

 

 Until next post...

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Aren't you afraid that the LEDs won't be strong enough to shine through the belly once you paint it?

 

That is one thing I will be testing out as I paint.  I don't intend on having a thick layer of paint on the flesh parts of the belly.

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What material is the dungeon from?

Is it resin or plaster?

 

They are Dwarven Forge's Dungeon Game Tiles made of 'Dwarvenite'.  I got them as part of their Kickstarter last year.  They are available in painted and unpainted versions from Dwarven Forge's website.

 

From their Caverns Kickstarter this year, here is Dwarven Forge's definition of Dwarvenite:

 

 

What is Dwarvenite?

It’s a non-toxic, PVC based material, specially compounded to hold precise detail, take paint well, and withstand a serious beating. About the same density as resin, Dwarvenite has a wonderful, tactile feel. And the pieces look great. In last year’s Kickstarter, Dwarven Forge President, Jeff Martin threw the original Dwarvenite Game Tiles off a 10-story tower, and then ran them over with his truck – and there was not even a scratch. While we don’t suggest doing that at home, Dwarvenite will stand up to almost anything

 

So, essentially of a similar nature to Bones.  A PVC type plastic.  I love them as I can let my children play with them without worry.

 

13703904825_198e37b45d_z.jpg13708233575_75e4f6babd_z.jpg

 

I painted all of my Dungeon Game Tiles using the paints that Stefan Pokorny developed for them, and I am using some of those same paints to base coat Kaladrax.

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