Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to make a ghetto spotlight

(photo taken under spotlight)

The best feature of any bishoujo figure is the face. Adding lights to your figure can really make your idol shine. The problem is there really is no affordable solution that is easily manageable, at least none that I have found. I have looked at various spot lights and most have been rather bulky. LED lighting in the past has always looked pretty cheap to me, although that has changed in the past four years. Regardless of what method you choose, one thing does not change: What the light should be illuminating. 

Most people place a light at the top of their case pointing downwards. This is easy to install, cheap and manageable. It also illuminates the whole case. The problem with this is, it creates many shadows such as seen in the figure photo below. Half of her face is covered by a black shadow. 

By using a properly adjusted spotlight, you can illuminate the whole front of the figure, such as in the photo above. The problem with that is it can be bulky and finding a cheap light that is adjustable is almost impossible. 

(photo taken with light directly above)
(causing shadows)

So I have decided to let you know about the ghetto spotlight system. You will need a 50 cent wood brace found in any home improvement shop or something similar that is bendable and bend it into a V shape. Then you will need some mounting tape. That's it. 

Keep in mind, halogen lights get very hot and may cause the mounting tape to lose it's grip, so don't put anything valuable directly under the lights. I recommend you switch to LED G4 lights when you have the chance. Just bend the metal as much as you want and mount in in a corner, one side to the top of the case and one side to the light as in the figure below. You may be amazed at how much more brilliant your figures look and wonder at all the extra light no longer going to waste.

Time to upgrade your IKEA cabinet halogen lights for your anime figures

Alot of people have IKEA glass cases to store their anime figures. They are a great value. But the lighting, is a different issue. many people use LED light strips, which in the past, although functional, looked like a pocket pen light bulb and gave off a white/blue hue. 

Personally, I always preferred the brightness and color intensity of Halogen lights. But the two huge flaws have always been the large power draw and the dangerous amount of heat produced. Touching a Halogen light, even these little bulbs can seriously burn you and it only takes a minute or two for them to fully heat up. Three of the biggest dangers I would say to anime figures are HEAT, UV light and moisture. In an enclosed glass case with the lights left on frequently, we definitely want to get rid of as much heat as possible. 

The good news, is over the last 5 years, LED technology has improved vastly and is very affordable, now. If you are still using Halogen G4 light bulbs you should consider upgrading to these little LED discs. The light intensisty is almost exactly the same and they use less wattage. They do still get rather warm, but they won't scald you like a halogen. 

Left is LED disc, Right is Halogen G4

*IMPORTANT Safety Information*

if your new lights are making a small buzzing sound
it could be because your light box transformer is inadequate
this is common on the IKEA grundtal if you have the white plastic box
Try leaving one halogen in a light and the others LED and see if the buzzing stops
the LED buzzing sound is the capacitors being overworked
and they can fail and make smoke or maybe even start a fire
PLEASE check your LED lights if they can be used with A/C current if your lights plug into the wall. 
Some are made specifically to run off a car battery like in a mobile camper.