Introduction: Borg Kjoeb
Welcome to my very first Instructable of my very first scratchbuild project! This project was in my head for quite some time. But I had a problem, I had no idea how to build it...
Until I saw this video
For anyone not familiar with Star Trek TNG (really?), the Borg are a species of scary hive-minded aliens, that go around the universe assimilating any other species that are of interest to them. And they fly around in cube shaped spaceships (Whaaaaat??? Flying cubes???).
Combine my fascination with everything Star Trek with an interest in B.E.A.M. robotics and there you have it: Borg Kjoeb.
A Borg insipred cube, that eats sunlight during the day and comes alive at night... slowly assimilating anything it encounters. Or at least it starts blinking.
As with any good project, I learned a lot. Such as: It is perfectly OK to use the “wrong” paint, as long as you also use a primer.
Ok, let's build!
Borg Kjoeb body
- 1 x polystyrene sheet
Using a slightly thinner plate might make your life a bit easier, and not compromise structural integrity much.
From the same company I used polystyrene rods (2,5 mm, item 213), half round (3,2 mm, item 244) and rectangular rods (3,2 mm x 6,3mm, item 189).
- Revell model glue for glueing polystyrene to polystyrene
- For glueing other things onto the frame, I used a plastic specific superglue from Pattex
- Primer: Tamiya Fine Surface Primer L - Light Gray (180mL)
- Silver: TAMIYA PS-41 Bright Silver (100mL)
- Gold: TAMIYA PS-52 Champagne gold anodized aluminum (100mL)
- Smoke: TAMIYA PS-31 Smoke (100mL)
Borg Kjoeb heart
- PumLantern kit from Solarbotics - assemble it according to the instructions, but wait with installing the solar cell. Assembly is super easy, but you do need a soldering iron!
- Tip: If you consider buying this kit, and it is not yet the 10th of September 2020, scroll down to the comments section of this Instructable for a nice offer from the people at Solarbotics!
They sell a lot of other awesome kits and bundles, so be sure to browse around a bit!
- Exacto knife
- For the pummer circuit you need a soldering iron
Step 1: Cutting the Frame
Cut six (roughly equally sized) squares out of the polystyrene sheet.
For my construction, I chose squares that were roughly 7 x 7 cm (2.76 x 2.76 inch) in size.
When you have the six squares, cut “windows” in five of the squares. This is where I discovered I could have also used a slightly thinner polystyrene sheet – which might have made my life somewhat easier at this point.
To cut out holes, you score along the outside of where you want the holes. Then you score a cross on the inside. After that you wiggle the polystyrene until it breaks. Adam Savage shows this beautifully in his scratchbuilding video.
I didn't end up with nice clean edges, but I decided I would cover that up at a later point. Don't throw away the insides of the “windows”! These little pieces of polystyrene are perfect for adding layers later on.
Step 2: First Contact
Assemble the frame. Using the glue that comes with typical revell hobby kits, I assembled the five sides together.
As I need access to the bottom part, I needed to figure out a way to make the bottom part removable. In the end, I cut up an old box with a magentic closure and used that to keep the bottom plate in place (only just).
Using masking tape to hold everything together I created the frame. Unsure about the glue that I was using, I was super happy when it turned out that the glue actually worked.
You can also see that the edges don't match up nicely. I again decided to view this is as a first testrun, and not worry about it too much.
Step 3: A Box Within a Cube
I also needed to make a place for the electronics to sit. That is really easy using this polystyrene stuff as well! I thought of making a magnetic thingy that would hold everything in place – but it didn't work.
I ended up with a solution using ducttape and a paperclip. Hey, it works OK.
Step 4: Layers, Layers, Layers....
Time to layer! For this step I took inspiration from a guy who made a Borg Cube case mod years ago.
In this step, I stuck with my overall goal for this project: do not overthink things. Just cut and paste basically. For components not made of polystyrene I used a different glue, as the Revell glue did not work in these cases.
Basically, look around for (plastic) things with interesting shapes, stick them on – cover up anything you would like to hide (like unclean or not so straight edges).
You can also buy polystyrene strips in all sort of shapes to make life a bit easier. Cheap wall plugs are also great for weird shapes!
Step 5: Wiring...and More Layering!
Fill up the spaces with some old wires. Stick them in place with glue. I capped the ends with pieces of wall plugs that I cut to size. Superglue everything in place, and make sure you don't stick yourself to the surface as well.
Continue filling and just sticking everything on – again, don't overthink it. The round thing is an old container for my contactlenses. I drilled a hole in the middle, and used an exacto knife to peel away the edges, until it was sort of nice looking.
When you think you cannot stick anything more onto it – wait a couple of days and look at it again. If you still feel you could stick more on – do so! It's your cube after all!
Step 6: Bringing It All Together
If you think you're done layering, get out the primer and put on a first layer. Apply multiple thin layers, and let the layers dry in between. To reach all the corners and edges an whatnot, I think I applied a total of three layers.
Let it dry, stand back, and enjoy your creation so far! I personally found this step super satisfying, as before it still looked like a weird piece of... well...crap. And now, all of a sudden it is starting to look like a thing!
Notice the space on top that was left empty - this is where the solar cell will go.
Step 7: Color, Color, Color
Add some color! Again, multiple thin layers will do the trick!
In total I added 2 layers of silver, then experimented with 2 layers of gold. I decided that my Borg Kjoeb would be gold - it is my Borg Kjoeb after all, so I can do whatever I want.
But after a week or so, I thought it would be more “aggressive looking” if it would be silver. So another 2 layers of silver on top. The cool thing is – this made the final coats of silver much darker than the first two layers of silver. Also, a bit of gold shines through the silver in some spots.
Step 8: How Do Spaceships Become Dirty Anyway?
Now comes the final and most satisfying step – weathering!!
For weathering techniques, Adam Savage and his team again proved to be an invaluable source of info. I ended up using some acrylic paints I had lying around from some modelkits I built previously. Thin the paint with a lot of water, as you don't want to fully cover your cube with it... you just want to make it look “dirty”. This stuff dries fast, so try it on a small piece first.
Instead of listening to my own advice, I smacked it onto two sides of the cube using a small brush. After I finished with applying it onto the second side, I used a paper towel to remove the paint from the first side. I also used old toothbrushes and a dry paintbrush to scratch and remove the paint. The best effect I got from a scouring pad. Just take off the abbrasive part of the pad, put it on your finger and move over the surface. Go wild!
The picture shows what it looks like just after applying the diluted acrylic paint (wax on...), and after removing it again (... wax off). Put another layer on, remove it again and repeat this several times. Release your inner Bob Ross and go with the flow on this one as well. Apply as many layers and colors as you want.
Step 9: (optional): Windows!
I had some clear sheets lying around, and decided to make the cube less see through. First, I applied a layer of transparant smoke colored paint on the sheet. Then cut the sheet to size, in order to fit the inside of the cube.
There was a bit of MacGyvering involved here to stick the sheets in place. I might clean it up later, but I was a bit too impatient to finish this project finally! Also, I didn't take any pictures of this step due to my impatience.
Step 10: Add Some Photovoltaic Power!
Thread the wire that comes from the pummer heart through the cube frame and solder the solar cell to the pummer core. Follow the instructions that are provided with the PumLantern kit. Fix the solar cell in place with a small piece of double sided sticky tape.
That's it! You're done! Enjoy as your Borg Kjoeb comes alive when it becomes dark..... and starts to assimilate...
Participated in the