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Sankei Spirited Away Structures


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Martijn Meerts

Ah yeah, forgot about the glazing.. On the smaller kits it's possible to mask them, but on something like the bath house, there are so many small windows it'd cost way too much time. As for the weathering, it's mostly sealing the weathering once done, but that's going to be difficult as well with the glazing. Although, in the movies it's not like the buildings are really dirty either, so it'd really need just enough to make it blend in to the scenery a bit.


For the lighting, an Arduino is definitely possible, I believe there's a DCC guard as well so you could control them using DCC. I'm probably going for http://www.vpeb.nl/index.php/english/solutions/accessories/oc32/ to control the lights. Bit more expensive, but it can also control servos and signals and everything, and it's very programmable and there's integration with various computer control software as well.


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Martijn Meerts

So, apparently my mother had all sorts of glues, including various tacky glues and other stuff basically meant for paper and cardboard. One bottle caught my attention especially, since it had a dispenser on both end of the bottle. On the 1 end is just a standard precision applicator (not quite as precise as the Tamiya craft bond one), but on the other end is this applicator with a sort of glue comb built in. It's perfect for quickly adding glue to large areas. On top of that, the glue dries a little slower than most tacky glue, so you have some time to line everything up before clamping the parts or weighing them down with a book or something. 


I tried it with a little bit of scrap from a Sankei kit, and it works rather well. No idea where the glue came from, but my mother thinks she got it from a friend who bought it in some specialty store somewhere. I'll need to try it on some actual walls and see how it works.


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Interesting! One of the best glue applicators I’ve seen used in woodworking was just a hunk of styrene (the first one I saw like this they used an old credit card) with notches cut in one side. Use that edge to spread the glue out more just leaving smaller lines. Then flip around and use the un notched side to do the final spread. Now they sell all these fancy silicone ones, but they don’t look to work much better!


be careful about using weight to glue sankei walls. Pva is a bit slippery before it sets and the weight with time or setting the weight on can shift the part a tiny bit before the glue sets. You can’t see it until it’s done... It only takes a fraction of a mm to mess up their corner rabit joints and misalign window elements. I know as this happened to me on my first build and I had to Trim out the rabit joints a bit to get it all flush.


Also something about the concentric rectangles of the window insets makes your eye jumpy to a tiny misalignment you wouldn’t normally notice at that size!



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Martijn Meerts

Yeah, the notched credit card probably still works better than any fancy new silicone versions. Might actually be possible to cut some styrene and add notches to it and then use it for the Sankei kits. The bottle of glue I have now has one of those silicone ones built in, and it does work quite well. It's also rectangular, so you have a wide edge, and quite a narrow edge, which allows you to go around and in between windows quite well too.


I usually use a couple of clips to keep parts together and aligned them. Then add some more clips and leave it to dry for a bit before weighing them down. In most cases you don't need to weigh them down at all actually.

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On 3/8/2019 at 2:37 AM, cteno4 said:

Aliexpress.com and ebay are both good for the components.




if you use a 5v power supply the. 2k .25w pots work fine and add a 100R limiting resistor if you want to play it safe on Turing the pot all the way down.




or smaller smd ones




Imcan get you some components to start playing with.


lighting is an art to play with. Usually doing more leds at much reduced brightness gives a much better look and avoid the mini suns ans dealing with light leaks everywhere! Adding a few internal walls to have part unlit also is more realistic as rarely every room is lit at once.


luckily sankei laserboard is very dense and usually 2 or 3 layers deep and pretty light resistant, but using leds at low levels again helps. Also sankei usually does corners with a double rabit joint so it seals light much better than the usual butt joint. 


I can show show you some ways of soldering all this up and doing the magnet connection so you don’t need to glue down structures and have an easy electrical connection.






I'll need to have an offline with you to get a brain dump on LEDs.  That first link has 4 models, 2 types and 3 possible colors out of 13 (white, warm white and yellow) to pick from.  The variety is somewhat overwhelming.  And magnetic connections?  Yeah, need to take, er, get a dump 😉


So prior to wiring, I expect to have to drill/cut holes for wiring prior to final assembly.  Attached some diagrams from the instructions for reference.  I think I'll need 3 LEDs at a minimum.  One for the second level, with holes in the interior walls to let light bleed through from the central room to the exterior rooms, and maybe something like a diagonal piece of translucent paper to diffuse light to the perpendicular windows of the exterior rooms.  One for the third level (the "nave") again with holes and paper walls (or a cylinder) to diffuse light.  And finally one to hang in the ceiling of the bar area.  Given that the interior walls and floors are Lilliputian and the building material is paper stock (granted Sankei uses sturdy stuff), holes have to be just right or it may affect structural integrity.  Is there some sort of "standard" size for LEDs?  SMD LEDs on a teeny circuit board vs rice grain LEDs?  And if I want to test lighting before assembly, is there some sort of removable glue that lets me put a building together and then break it apart?  Or do I use a bunch of rubber bands?





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This is going to be a challenge to get lit well. You probably will need to just test fit first to play with lighting ideas. I think your best option is to build by layer and add lighting to each layer, test, glue down and do the next. Running the wires up a chase somewhere on a wall and then pop them in thru hole in the floor may be easist. You can then just cut a piece of colored cardstock (like floor covering) and tack down on the floor to hide wires.


each structure requires you figure out the best way to run the wiring for the lights you need, where you need them.


the smd leds are tiny, they are like 2mm around once soldered to the wires and wires tiny. You can drill very small holes to run the wires.


you may need to add some diffusion or reflectors (foil and cardstock).


you can run wiring down to someplace in the middle of the first floor and cut a hole in the bottom of the structure to put a bank of small variable resistors, one for each led so you can dim them individually thru the bottom of the structure once it’s all built and you want to set all the lights just right.


i can show you how to put together a little dimming pcb for this. We can take photos and post it, been meaning to do that.



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On 3/8/2019 at 12:37 AM, cteno4 said:


I can show show you some ways of soldering all this up and doing the magnet connection so you don’t need to glue down structures and have an easy electrical connection.



I'd love to see some examples of using magnets for electrical connections. I'm hoping to do my buildings and scenery as a set of removable diorama-like blocks so I can do all of my detailing more easily. I'd considered using magnets, but I haven't figured out how everything would go together yet.



On 3/8/2019 at 8:50 AM, cteno4 said:

the arduino nanos are perfect for doing the computer control of the lights, but the board is too big to fit in small structures, meaning multiple led wires need to run out of the structure — pita. but now ATtiny85 you could put the chip in the house and get 4 pwm channels! I’m really intrigued by this and just having a little program that on power up turns on the led in the main room then randomly cycles lights on and off in other rooms. Could have it so that over an hour it does a dusk to dawn cycle you could cycle with room lighting. Everything could be internal to the building and just supply 5v. 



I've got some ATtiny85's on order to experiment with exactly this. One of the goals for my layouts is to have as much of everything lit as possible, so I'm going to have to get creative controlling it.


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I’ve been meaning to do a page on the JRM site on this, just not gotten to it makeing up a set of pictures.


soldering to the magnets you have to be careful as too much heat and you demagnetize them! I’ve been meaning to try with paste as then you can have everything there at once and may heat and meld faster and the paste solder tends to be a little lower temp than stick solders usually. Also need to turn down the iron some. I blew about a 1 in 5 when I did a small batch.


easy to solder just tape some painters masking tape slickly side up on the bench. The put the magnet down wire right next to it and solder. Pretin the wire and a small dab of rosin flux can’t hurt to just make things flow as fast as possible. Just practice doing them fast in and out. You may need to file or clip off any little bump of solder sticking up above the magnet surface so you have a flat interface. 


Then easy just glue your magnets on the bottom of the structure and once dry pop on the paired magnets (wire or unwired as needed) and the a drop of glue carefully on the bottom of these and then plop the structure in place and let glue dry. Done! 


Lighting is an art if you want it to look really nice. Means masking off some rooms to be dark or differentially lit. Also sealing up light leaks. This can be hard or impossible to do on some completed models so you need to do a lot of it during assembly and a bit of ship in the bottle work.


need to back the leds with a bit of something opaque so you don’t get light leaking if you glue the led on something that could bleed some light thru. 


Corner light leaks can be sealed with really thick craft paint they use for painting on tee shirts or small L pieces of styrene, heavy art paper, black photo crepe tape. Trick is to the seal the last bit like roof or floor down w.o leaks and where it’s a bit of ship in a bottle thru a hole in the floor or something you can later cover over. More complex and multi story building get more challenging.


also lighting a building can then make the interior more noticeable (especially if you turn the leds down from mini suns), so you then need to think about how things will look with any interior light seals you have done. You can stick in simple white card stock walls with holes cut for windows and just paste some 2d printies like bool shelves etc that cna then give something interesting to see with the lights on!


what I especially like with lighting is to not have every floor or room lit. This is a lot more interesting to look at. Even better use the micro arduinos to turn them on and off randomly! 


I think the ATtinys can do simple serial so you could have one in a structure and power and control a few leds in different rooms. Then maybe set the pwm level with a third serial wire remotely. I think you can set an address for each tiny to the address and hopefully store the level so you don’t need to reprogram. Maybe even set the random on and off interval windows. Or could jsut have the computer send out the variables every time you start up the lighting (or modify at time). Should be able to have the program on each tiny looking at the serial to see if a variable has come in that tagged with that tiny’s id that would be part of the program stored. Folks do this sort of thing with pics all the time and the basis of a lot of the car electronic busses and nmranet.


The other cool aspect would be to do a separate daytime lighting. Buildings are lit in the day, and it makes a difference how they look, but to make it look right at scale you need it brighter than you want for night time lighting. Lighting doesn’t scale well in the effect on the eye so it needs a lot of fiddling at scale.





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