Hi there Dr Nick,
Here is a model I made using el wire
There are many places on utube about how to do it. First the wire has a center wire then a tube coated with chemicals that glow that is wrapped with two really fine wires. The voltage applied via a converter driven usually by dc batteries concerts it to a high voltage AC around 120 volts. It will not kill ya but it will tingle. You can get sets of wire and converter on Ebay for around ten dollars to play with
el wire with battery pack adaptor. 2.3 mm
They even make a chasing EL wire, I have not played with that yet but will some day. More intreaging is they now make leds that are adressable like the ones on the full size rides. This is really interesting stuff and getting better every day.
Pm me or call me is you need more info on the el wire.