Custom Medieval Madness dragon mod

This page will hopefully describe in high enough detail, how I modified my dragon to have glowing eyes and mouth using LEDs.
 
Tostart with, I needed some products to build the dragon's mod. Below is a picture of a regular computer hard drive cable. I just stripped off wires individually and used them to connect LEDs to power etc.
 
In the next picture, I am showing a group of small LEDs I bought from Ebay. These are the small 4mm LEDs that will fit into the eyes of the dragon. I also used these for the eyes of the castle skulls in another project.
 
The next picture illustrates the repro dragon I used for this project. I bought this repro dragon at www.bayareaamusements.com. I kept my original so that it could be re-installed if needed in the future. The repro is a lot harder to work with since it is not nearly as flexible as the original.
 
Pictured below is me using my Dremmel tool to drill the eyes. I used a very tiny drill bit. I don't know the size because it was not labeled on the bit. But, I tested each bit I wanted to use on some Lexan I had and then test-fitted the LEDs in the hole. I finally came up with the size I needed. Here, I am holding his head very straight and trying to drill straight down into his neck.

This task was not easy at all! Getting the holes in the eyes to go far enough through to the hollow portion of the neck was a real challenge. The dragon is also much less flexible than the original. Therefore, bending the dragon's head back was really causing stress to the neck

 
Below I show the dragon after drilling his eyes. After drilling, I simply did a test-fit of the 4mm LED's in the dragon's eyes. I took the LEDs and used a sander on my Dremmel and ground down the ridge that is on the LEDs so that they would fit into the hole easier. Once ground down, they went in fairly well. You definitely want the holes small but that makes getting the LEDs in there a little tougher. As you can see, I got them in and things were starting to take shape!
 
This following picture is my attempt to illustrate how I ground down the wide-angle LED for the dragon's mouth. LEDs typically beam their light straight out the top. I used my belt sander and I ground the LED into a multi-faceted surface. That way, the light will be refracted in multiple directions and not just out the side if I grinded it flat.
 
The following pictures are to show a before and after shot of the LED used for the dragon's mouth. The first picture shows the original LED and the second shows the LED after being ground into a multi-faceted surface.
 
The picture below is a much better shot of the red LED with it's faceted surface. It was quite a challenge to get the macro setting adjusted correctly to show the LED in detail. This one finally captures the surface contours of the LED.
 
In the next picture, I tried to illustrate what the dragon will look like when lit. This was the first test of the LEDs that worked. I had a few false starts initially due to wires breaking off of the LEDs. Now that we see it works, the next section will investigate how the LEDs were installed and wired in the dragon's body.
 
The picture below shows the process of taking the computer cable and stripping off wires. I ran two wires for each LED through the body and twisted them together in preparation for connecting them to the LEDs.
 
In the picture below, I tried to illustrate how I kept the wires labeled. I had to keep the LEDs in order so I used some stickers and labeled each wire to indicate which LED it was connected to and whether the wire was negative or positive. The polarity matters so you have to keep track. Once the LEDs are installed and all you have are wires sticking out of the belly, you will thank me for telling you to label the wires.
 
The LEDs are going to tap off of the same power source underneath the dragon (flasher). Therefore, I connected all the negative wires together and all the positive wires together from the LEDs, (please see photo below). Next I soldered the wires together. I then put a dab of hot glue on them to act as a strain relief and to keep them from shorting.
 
The following picture is not of a prop from the movie, "Thing," but rather the wires all connected to the LEDs as well as the labels to keep track of the LEDs. I'm sure you can come up with your own labeling system but I simply labeled the positive side of the first LED as 1. The negative side was 1 with a circle around it. I did that for 2 etc. For the mouth, I just labeled it mouth+ and mouth-. I will admit that I had to put electrical tape around the LEDs to keep them from getting shorted. In hindsight, I could have put a dab of hot glue on them as an insulator. Putting the LEDs in the head and mouth was rather difficult with the wires and solder to deal with but I got it done eventually. Again, with this part, have patience. 
 
This next picture shows several items. It shows the resistor I added for current limiting, the wires soldered to the flasher socket, and a piece of electrical tape I used to keep things from shorting out. I used a 560ohm resistor and that worked fine in the final results. You want to connect the resistor to the positive wire on the flasher socket under the dragon. If you look closely, you can just see the tiny grey computer wire soldered on the right side. If your LEDs don't work, look at  your wires. It is easy to connect them in reverse. In the final mounting, the positive wire from the LEDs goes on the positive wire (with the resistor), of the flasher socket and the negative wire from the LEDs goes on the negative wire of the flasher socket. Pretty simple hookup.
 
The next two pictures illustrate the dragon mounted and all the wiring tucked under his body.
 
 
That concludes my tutorial on how I modified my Medieval Madness dragon. I hope I put enough information in here to allow you to attempt to modify your Medieval Madness dragon. It is a fantastic addition because he lights his eyes and mouth during several different times in the game. Two instances that I can recall are when you go up the Damsel ramp and when you are ejected from the saucer in Merlin's area. The ramp flash is a drawn out animated flash and the Merlin flash is quick and repeated. Really great effect!
 

Back to Medieval Madness page
Back to HOME page