Smoking Heads.

Can it be done? Is it possible? Can we modellers faithfully reproduce the smoky days of yore?

Well, here is a 1/24th scale head, still on the sprue because it’s easier to deal with that way.

It is not a happy-looking head. Next to it is the end of a length of fibre optic snipped from one of those awful UFO-lamp things that I put in the attic because it was just embarrassing to have around.

The squeamish might want to skip the next photo.

The Borg personal enhancement device is brought into play. This is much, much easier if you imagine the head you’re drilling into is the Dreadful Arnott or a politician. Pick a drill that is very, very slightly bigger than the fibre optic.

Next, insert fibre optic and test by holding a torch at the other end.

It must be my imagination. He can’t really look happier. Can he?

It does work. In 1:24 scale I can now have a truck driver smoking in his cab. The fibre optic will be painted silver first (not the end!) then overpainted black at the back of his head and white at the front. Clear red lacquer on the end or even easier, light it with a red LED because that doesn’t need much battery power. I believe flickering ones are available. The same batteries can power the mini-LED lights on the trailer. It could be a masterpiece.

In 1:72/OO scale, I could maybe do a pipe or a big cigar with these fibres. So far, in N scale, it would look like someone smoking a pound of tobacco in a rolled-up newspaper. I have seen it done but we were all very, very drunk and had been for more than one day, and baccy was not so expensive back then. The pile of baccy rolled in the Glasgow Herald is not going to work on a model scene. I need to find much finer fibre-optic and some almost invisible drills if I am ever to do that. I will probably leave it to someone with younger eyes because even if I manage to drill the hole, my chances of threading a fibre into it are zero.

I wonder what would happen if I made and painted an entire driver like this, including the lighting unit, fitted it into a model and put it on eBay? Would there be ‘Shock Horror Daily Mail Scoop’ or would I get people asking if I had any more? Would it be drone-mind-blowing if I had a friend sell it from a non-smoking home?

It could well be worth a try.

When my first smoking driver is installed, he and his truck will be on sale. Let’s see if I can become more notorious than Banksy. Can’t be all that hard.

26 thoughts on “Smoking Heads.

    • It would be faster to just make and sell the drivers, and let other people put them in their models. They’re going to love this one at the next Smoky-Drinky though, I’m sure of that.


  1. “It must be my imagination. He can’t really look happier. Can he?”


    I must admit the first thought that came into my head when I saw the final picture was: COOL. AS. FUCK. He’s magnificent mate you have to get him on eBay, for novelty value alone you would clean up. If you can get him to blow smoke rings that would be even better.

    He’s black right? Not being racist I just think he looks the epitome of cool and I am thinking a chilled out black man. He’s way more cooler than Barky O’Barmy will ever be and the Yanks love him.


    • I’ve never managed to get black skin tone right. Black paint is just black, there’s nothing I know of that will give the subtlety of a proper skin tone. Come to think of it, there’s no skin tone available other than white, and even that’s not very good.


      • What about brown? Light brown?

        Either way good luck whatever you decide. Be great to see how this pans out. When I spotted the first picture I didn’t realize how good he would look in the last, he even out-cools Humphrey Bogart.

        You can have tons of fun in the eBay description too (like you usually do.)
        I still reckon you’ll get one dumb c**t ask if you can get cancer from it as it looks like a cigarette.


  2. Brilliant!, You can get fibre optic cable down to 62.5um (a human hair is about 200um), and for a really tiny hole how about melting a hole with a hot wire?


  3. Old chap, you can buy orange or “amber” LEDs now. Also, if you have a tame tech guy up there near you, I’ll email you the circuit diagram for a long-period sine-wave oscillator whihc can make the LED come slowly on and off like he’s puffing on it periodically.


    • I have bags full of LEDs in the attic, I used to be a dab hand with a soldering iron and still have some of that proper lead solder, not the new lead-free stuff that doesn’t melt. If your circuit isn’t complex and will run on low voltage (I’m hoping to do this at 3V if I can, two AAA batteries0, I’ll give it a go. We have a Maplin nearby if I don’t have all the parts.


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