While this Fanhome 1:3 scale Iron Man Armor partwork does include LED lighting in the head, arc reactor, and at the repulsors, they are all powered separately by nearby CR1025 button-cell batteries. They also needed to be turned on individually by pushing switches under removable panels, at the back, or by rotating a part of the head.
I was thinking, wouldn’t it be better if our entire Iron Man model could be powered by a single, centralized power source? Well, after adding a bunch of custom lighting to my FDNY Tower Ladder 9 partwork build, I decided I would try to adapt the same Light My Bricks (LMB) lighting components to my Iron Man. While these parts are designed for use with LEGOs, they are tiny, modular, and work amazingly well for adding lighting in small places on anything. There are many ways to accomplish what I am doing here, but this is the solution I chose.
DISCLAIMER: If you choose to attempt these modifications, you assume all risks thereof. I just wanted to share my experiences here. Neither Fanhome/DeAgostini, nor myself, are responsible for any damages that may occur.
NOTE: This list may change as I complete my Iron Man build. Check back for further updates.
Required parts from Light My Bricks (LMB):
- 2x Bit Lights (Cool White) 30cm (4 pack) $10.99 USD
- 1x 8-Port Expansion Board (2 pack) $11.99 USD
- 1x USB Power Cable $4.99 USD (other power supply options are available)
Optional parts from Light My Bricks (LMB):
- 1x 6-Port Expansion Board (2 pack) $9.99 USD (if you want a single cable coming out of the head instead of two)
- 1x Connecting Cables – 15cm (4 pack) $5.99 USD (needed if using the 6-Port Expansion Boards above)
- 1x Connecting Cables – 50cm (4 pack) $10.99 USD (I plan to use this to extend power up to the model from the base)
- 1x Remote Control and Sound Kit $56.99 USD (if you want to turn the lights on/off remotely and play sound effects)
- Philip-head screwdriver (included with the model)
- Super glue (preferably in gel form)
- White paper napkin (optional)
- 2mm drill bit and driver
- UV resin and UV light (optional, but works better for the hand)
- Hobby knife
- Metal file or similar tool
I began this modification after I had already assembled my Iron Man through Issue 38. Therefore, these instructions reflect the work needed to go back and disassemble some of the model. If you are at a point before this (or after) with your own build, I recommend looking through these instructions anyway to get an idea of how to possibly add this mod to your own model.
NOTE: This process does not require removal of the stock lighting/wiring – many of the these components are needed to support other parts.
TIP: Save any screws removed during this modification and use them again during reassembly. Also, remove the stock CR1025 batteries along the way.
Remove the three (3) EM screws of the Helmet Baseplate and gently remove the lower part of the head. Then, remove the two (2) EM screws holding the LED support in place and pull it out.
Before I started, I removed the Mask from my Helmet just to keep it from being damaged while I worked on the head:
Twist the two stock LED bulbs free of the LED Support:
In their place, super glue two of the Bit Lights here instead. Make sure they are facing the right way, as shown.
Using a gel-type glue makes this process easier as the square holes are only slightly smaller than the Bit Lights:
Fit the LED Support back inside the head and secure it into place with the removed EM screws.
Remember not to over-tighten these screws. As you can see with the upper screw, I cracked the plastic tab by tightening it too much:
Step 4 (Optional)
If you don’t mind two cables coming out of the head and going into the chest (instead of one), this step can be skipped.
To hide this extra lighting wiring on our model as much as possible, we can have only a single cable coming out of the head. Plug the two Bit Lights of the head into sockets of a 6-Port Expansion Board. In another socket of this board, connect a 15 cm Connecting Cable.
Be sure to pay attention to how the LMB connectors fit together and do not force them. Instructions are typically included with all LMB orders:
Then, tuck the Expansion Board and the extra Bit Light wiring into the open space inside the Helmet:
Step 5 (Optional)
To test these lights, connect power to the Expansion Board using the USB Power Cable (or other 5V power source).
During this test, I noticed my Bit Lights had a small bright spot showing through the white Visor Base lens. Therefore, I use a small piece of white paper napkin to help diffuse the lighting a bit. This made a huge difference on my model:
Drilled a small 2mm hole through the plastic Helmet Baseplate at this location:
Feed the plug(s) of the LMB lighting out of the head through this hole:
While making sure not to trap/pinch any wiring, reassemble the Helmet:
The Arc Reactor
Remove the two (2) AM screws holding the Reactor Housing in place and set the Reactor Crown assembly aside:
Pull the LED Support away from the Reactor Housing, bringing the wiring with it. Twist the stock LED out of the LED Support:
Carefully drill a 2mm hole through the back of the Reactor Housing in the location shown:
Secure a Bit Light facing into the opening of the LED Support from the back side, as shown.
Again, I used super glue gel here:
Feed the plug of the Bit Light back through the Reactor Housing and out through the drilled hole:
Carefully tuck the stock wiring and LED inside the Reactor Housing and replace the LED Support.
Reassemble the Reactor Housing to the Reactor Crown using the removed screws.
After reassembly, I powered up this new Bit Light to make sure it worked OK:
NOTE: This section depicts my Left Foot, but the process is the same for both feet. Just repeat/mirror it for the other side.
Remove the two (2) AM screws securing the Heel to the Foot, then carefully pull the Heel away:
I also removed the front Sole/Switch section of my Foot, but this is not necessary for the mod. I only did it to provide better visibility in the next steps:
Gently twist the stock LED and remove it from the LED Holder:
Secure a Bit Light facing down into the opening of the LED Holder. Make sure the wires of this Bit Light are facing the rear of the Heel.
As before, I used super glue gel here:
Set the Heel aside for now. Disassemble the Ankle Joint by removing the one (1) MP screw:
Detach the Ankle Joint Cover from inside the Foot by removing the four (4) EM screws. Pull it and the Ankle Joint out:
Bring your Heel over and feed the plug of the Bit Light up through this rectangular opening:
Reinstall the Ankle Joint and Ankle Joint Cover. Note how the Bit Light cable fits through this small slot between the parts:
Connect this Bit Light to power to test it is working:
Tuck the stock wiring/LED inside the cavity of the Foot. Here it is as the front, but there is plenty of room above the Heel as well:
Reassemble the rest of the Foot:
We will run the cable from this light up the leg in later stages of the build:
NOTE: This section depicts my Left Hand and Left Arm, but the process is the same for both hands and arms. Just repeat/mirror it for the other side.
Remove the magnetic Back Plate from the Hand:
Remove the three (3) AM screws from the back of the Hand and separate the two halves (removing it from the Wrist Joint). Inside the white repulsor Screen, secure a Bit Light facing down as shown.
I didn’t want to glue this light so close to the Screen, so I filled the Screen with Solarez UV Resin and ‘floated’ the light on top before hardening the resin:
Using a sharp hobby knife, cut a small groove into this area of the Palm assembly:
Run the cable of the Bit Light out through this groove and test fit the Hand sections back together.
I took a moment here to test the operation of this Bit Light as well:
Set the Hand aside for a moment and remove the Forearm Cover from this arm.
Removing this cover requires patience and care to prevent damaging it. I used a small thin screwdriver to gently pry it up and away from the arm:
Remove the four (4) EM screws holding the forearm together and separate the two halves.
The Wrist Joint assembly will become free at this point. That is expected and required:
Disassemble the Wrist Joint assembly by removing the one (1) JP screw:
Carefully drill a 2mm hole through the center of the Wrist Joint part with the two brackets:
Take your Hand assembly and feed the Bit Light cable through the rubber Wrist Joint Cover and through the hole we just drilled, as shown:
Fit the ‘ball’ end of the Wrist Joint back into the Hand as shown, and secure the two halves of the Hand together again:
Slide the Wrist Joint Cover and Wrist Joint (bracket) up the Bit Light wires and align them back into place. Reattach the Wrist Joint parts with the removed JP screw:
Pop the gold Arm Plate off the upper arm, thus exposing the two screws:
Remove these two (2) EM screws and separate the two halves of the upper arm. Using a metal file or similar tool, carve out a small groove into this location of the Inner Arm Cover.
Make sure to round off the edges of this cut to prevent damaging the Bit Light wiring:
Fit the Hand/Wrist assembly back into the forearm, then run the plug of the Bit Light up through the elbow as shown:
Align this wire in the groove you cut into the Inner Arm Cover and reassemble the upper arm.
The wire should come out the rear and inside of the shoulder joint:
Reattach any trim pieces and the plate of the Hand. This section is now complete:
NOTE: This section depicts my Left Leg, but the process is the same for both legs. Just repeat/mirror it for the other side.
Once I reached Issue 41, I was able to run the cable up from the Foot assembly behind this Inner Leg Circuit Board:
During Issue 44, I ran the foot lighting cable up through the Knee Joint and into the Thigh section:
Connecting it all Together
I do not have the complete legs, waist, or chest sections yet, so I will come back with updates when I have them!
So far, the Light My Bricks lighting is working perfectly! As more of the model is built, I will be able to provide additional feedback. Stay tuned!