** July 2019 UPDATE **
You can now buy all the parts needed for this project here!
Time to look at a fantastic LEGO Ideas product - the Beatles tribute set 21306 'Yellow Submarine'.
Set 21306 - The Yellow Submarine
Looking at the model there's a few obvious options here.
Portholes - there's 8 windows on each side with a flat red 1x1 cap on each. We'll only be focusing on the side of the model that faces us - it's a display piece and designed to sit side-on like this.
Interior - the ship has interior space for four passengers.
Weird Tubey Things - there's four periscope type tubes on top which could be lit up.
Front/Rear lights - no place for them yet but these would be logical places to add lights
Background lighting. It's a submarine - we could light up the are under / behind it with blue lights perhaps.
There's tons of room inside this model. Clearly it's designed to be able to fit the four Beatles in there, but since they come with a nice display stand most folk would have them outside anyway.
Our first thought here was to put something flashy inside to have the light come out all the portholes at once.
I first tried with a Multi-colour Light Strip. These are great little boards which cycle through a full range of colours. As a quick test I stuck one to the roof of the cabin right behind the portholes.
Here you can see how much light bleed there was through the yellow plastic when in the Red part of the colour cycle:
And here's how it looked running for 30 seconds:
Result : Not ideal. It's too slow, and only the red light really comes through. Not helped by the Trans Red caps on those holes of course. Additionally there's real light seepage through the model.
First we take apart that cabin roof piece - it's easy to get the porthole bricks out.
We can't use the flat round 1x1 Trans Red Tiles provided so have to swap these for 1x1 round plates instead. They have a bit more space inside for this kind of use.
Finally all eight were wired up to a 12 port expansion board and a battery pack (not shown for clarity)
I'm happy with that!
Lighting the Periscope Tubes
I thought this would be a great effect - flashing or static would be great.
Sadly it was not to be. I could add the lights but the cables would be very visible and not what we need here.
Onto the next piece instead!
This one should be nice and easy - to get an ambient glow I just need to mount a strip light underneath or behind the ship and hide the cables.
You'll need to carefully hold the cables clear of the studs when re-attaching the hull pieces:
But the end result is pretty neat now - the cable is barely visible and hidden to the rear anyway.
Tidying the cables
As with any project like this the devil is in the detail - and normally that detail is hiding the cables!
Sadly 6 ports is no-where near enough for us with 8 bit lights and a strip light to power! So we need a 12 port expansion board inside too. By braiding the cables together we can actually make this quite neat.
Here's the final circuit layout we settled on:
And here we are - and we think it looks pretty good!
Here's the final video in all its glory.
For this project we used the following parts
8 x Flashing White Bit Lights 15cm (2 x packs)
1 x Blue Strip Light
1 x 12 Port Expansion Board
1 x Micro Battery Pack
2 x 15cm Extension Cables
8 x Trans Red 1x1 Rounded Plate LEGO bricks
Because some of these come in packs of 4, this leaves us with the following left-overs for another project:
3 x Blue Strip Lights
2 x 15cm Extension Cables
The cost of these parts is currently around £49 but obviously there's a few left over parts there. If you're interested in recreating this and would like us to put together a custom bundle of parts just drop us a line any time.
Questions / Comments?
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