Wiring A 23rd Century Pistol Kit Phaser-1 For Light Sound How to add electronic light & sound to a Phaser-1.   (Text & Photos)

BY REQUEST - This article was created at the request of YouTube viewer cathymaid.
"cathymaid has made a comment on PHASER-I 23rd CENTURY PARTS. . . .. I would like to see the electronics or even a schematic would be good so I can make my own."

Sorry cathymaid, I don't have any assembly photos of a 23rd Century Pistol Phaser-I. I do have photos from a build-up of a Roddenberry Phaser-I. These should answer your questions - you just have to remember that the space inside a 23d Cent P-1 is a little less than in a Rodd kit. The final arrangement of the sound board in your Phaser-I will depend on the dimensions of the board you use.

For those of you who have not seen it yet, view my YouTube video on building a Phaser-I from 23rd Century kit parts (CLICK HERE TO VIEW the video).

STEP 1. Cut the P-1 top part from the sprue sand edges as needed. Carve away the wedge at the front of the part. Carve away the raised disk near the center. Sand both areas smooth. IF you plan to install a metal thumb-wheel, carefully cut out the recessed area where the thumb-wheel sits. Test fit your metal part, carefully enlarging the opening in the top of the phaser body until the wheel fits properly (exact fit will depend on the wheel you use how you decide to hold it in place).

STEP 2. Cut the P-I bottom body part from the sprue. Sand as in Step 1. Carve away the wedge and raised disk, as in Step 1. The disk must be removed completely and made level with the surrounding area. Create a battery compartment cover by cutting the bottom half of the phaser body into two sections. Cut across the part about 1.25" from the front edge of the part Make sure your cut is parallel to the front of the P-1 lower body part. Drill a hole for a retaining screw at the center, rear (approx. 0.25" from the inside wall of the bottom part).

STEP 3. Set up the beam emitter. Cut the beam emitter face plate from the sprue. Sand smooth as needed.Drill out the hole where the emitter is to be mounted. Cut away the lower half of the circle and sand the part so it is flat across the lower edge. Attach the face plate to the lower half of the P-1 body as per the kit instructions.

After the part has set completely, drill through the plastic behind the faceplate so you have an opening for your brass emitter tube to go through the faceplate and lower body part. Cut a small piece of brass tube (appx. 0.5" long x 0.2" diam.) for the beam emitter OR use a commercially made brass emitter. Test fit this into the hole in the faceplate - be sure it goes through to the inside of the body cleanly. File or sand the hole as needed to get a snug but smooth fit for the brass emitter tube. The P-I body is now ready to add your electronics. The photos below show how electronics were added to a Roddenberry P-I. You'll have to make a few adjustments to deal with the differences in how the interiors are shaped, but these photos should give you a good idea of what to do. To get text information for each photo, just mouse over it.

NOTE: The soundboard used here is from an old Ruby's Phaser-II -.it's cheap but with good quality sound, but sound only. There are no connections on the board for an LED. The LED in my P-I is wired directly to the trigger battery pack. IF you use a sound board that does have wiring for an LED, remember the voltage through that connection will be less than via a direct hookup - so I recommend clipping the LED leads from the sound board following the illustrations below to get maximum output from your 'phaser beam' LED.. Also, when making your battery holder - three (3) A76 button cells are usually enough to drive this setup.. You can add a fourth if you want to but it isn't necessary.

Drill a hole for your trigger stud. Build a mount for the trigger switch / button.

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FINISHED trigger-stud & switch assembly.

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Overall wiring layout. Speaker is hot-glued to underside of sound board so it faces the top of the phaser body.
Sound board fits as far forward in the top of the body as possible.

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There are no raised alignment studs molded into the plastic 23rd Century P-I body as seen in the Rodd part (above & left). Use small flat pieces of styrene plastic to create your own alignment / retainer studs before you install the trigger switch assembly.

The switch assembly seen here is made from a piece of 030 sheet styrene (to hold the switch), & 2 pieces of 1/8" square plastic rod (Plastruct).

The metal trigger stud is from the Rodd kit. A trigger stud can be fashioned from a piece of steel or aluminum rod (approx 3/8" wide x 1/4" - 5/8" tall). A plate just a bit larger than the hole the trigger stud passes through must be attached to the inside (top) of the stud to keep it from falling through the hole. OR You can use a simpler alternative - just buy a commercially made polished aluminum trigger stud!

Completed Wiring Layout. (BELOW) - Battery & trigger are wired to the LED, the power input wires from the sound board are attached to the corresponding LED leads (positive to positive, negative to negative). The LED and sound board are hot-glued into the body AFTER test firing the system to be sure that everything is working.

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Note the position & fit of the brass beam emitter tube - the *LED is glued into the back end of the tube & both are hot-glued into place inside the P-I lower front body part.

Take care to secure all wiring with a small drop of hot-glue to avoid accidentally pulling a wire loose or breaking a connection. This is particularly necessary for the wires that connect the battery and trigger to the LED and sound board.

* I recommend a high-intensity red or blue 5mm LED for optimal 'phaser beam' output.
See Links To Good Stuff for LED sources.



One thing that has changed drastically in the years since I first began building scale models (yes, dinosaurs still roamed the Earth back then, lol), is the availability of an amazingly wide variety of 'after-market' kits and individual parts for enhancing specific model kits. If you are not familiar with the term 'after-market', it simply refers to any kit or kit part that is produced after a model kit is released and sold separately for use with one or more specific models.

There are all sorts of after-market items available.. Since I build mostly military and sci-fi models, I'll only talk about after-market items for military kits. After-market items for enhancing military models fall into three basic types / categories:

1. Cast resin replacement / improvement parts. These are cast resin hulls, turrets, wheels, and detail items (like gun mantles, storage boxes, etc.) that are meant to provide improved accuracy and / or greater detail than their corresponding plastic parts. Resin 'kits' can also add great detail to the interior (or exterior) of a military model by providing detailed parts not included in a plastic kit (e.g. complete engine compartments for tanks or trucks, turret interior details, etc.). In some cases, resin parts enable you to produce a model of a particular vehicle for which there is no existing plastic kit.

2. Photo-etched Brass: Thin photo-etched brass parts are useful for improving the scale and detail of small parts on vehicles (lash-down hooks, fender brackets, etc), especially where the molded plastic parts may be too thick to scale properly with the rest of the vehicle. They can also add realism to plastic models by providing a level of fine detail that might not be easily molded into plastic parts (E.g. exhaust fan wire mesh covers for tanks like the Panther or Tiger. More accurate thickness for sand-skirts, headlight shields, etc. ).

3. Machined Aluminum Parts: Recently, a wide variety of machined aluminum parts have come onto the market. These include various cannon barrels intended to replace the plastic guns from tank kits. These do improve the look and realism of tank models by eliminating any and all seams or joint lines along the length of the gun barrel. Properly painted, they also provide a very realistic looking muzzle for the tank guns. There are also a few replacement barrels on the market for machine-guns E.g. M1 .50cal barrels & vented barrels for Browning .30cal MGs)

I'm pretty new to the practice of incorporating after-market parts into my plastic military model kits. However, so far, I think that the added realism and detail they provide can be worth the added cost - it all depends on just how realistic you want your model to look. Also to be considered is the fact that some after-market items enable you to build variants of vehicles for which there are no plastic kits available (see photos below). So far, I haven't had any problems fitting aluminum gun barrels to tank turrets or adding 'stowage' or sandbag details - scale and fit have been accurate.

A quick example of the integration of after-market parts into a plastic kit can be seen in the photos of my M4A2 Sherman tank (1:35 scale), below:

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When I built this Sherman tank model, there were no plastic kits portraying the M4A2 variant of the Sherman. To create an accurate early M4A2 with a composite (cast & welded upper hull) I had to use after-market parts combined with the suspension, tracks & turret from a Tamiya M4 Sherman kit.

I used the VLS upper hull because it provided the unique cast & welded hull shape that I wanted. I used the resin transmission cover for slightly better detail than the Tamiya kit's plastic part.. The turret is the original plastic turret from the M4 Sherman kit, improved by replacing the plastic 75mm gun with a machined aluminum gun. Verlinden productions (VLS) provided a beautifully / cleanly cast resin upper hull and a well detailed '3 piece' transmission cover for my M4A2.


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Note the distinct diagonal weld line on the upper hull (in front of the appliqué armor panel). This marks the joint where the rolled front section of the upper hull is joined to the welded plate rear section of the hull resulting a combination (composite) of rolled and welded hull types. This Sherman variant was produced only in limited numbers. The olive drab lower hull in this photo is from a Tamiya M4 Sherman kit.


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This M4A2 Sherman was finished off by replacing the Tamiya kit's plastic 75mm gun with a machined aluminum gun barrel.


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