Layout Lighting

 
  defman Station Master

Hi all,

I'm after advice I think, or at least people's experiences.

I wish to model a town in western Victoria that I frequented a whole lot as a kid and grew particularly fond of that late afternoon winter sunshine... from say about 4pm, that had a real orange/yellow hue to it.

I wish to recreate that lighting to add some ambience to the layout and even try to re create the longer shadows.

I saw pretty much the exact style of colour and lighting in an article on Rod Stewart's layout a few years back in Model Railroader which he uses to AWESOME effect on his layout but I have a few questions to be answered.

If I was trying to light a 5.5m (almost to scale) station yard, whilst using a fascia and valance type situation where I was GOING to form the fascia as part of a dropped "bulkhead" ceiling over the town section of the layout and create a "viewing" height of only about 60 - 70 cm from the fascia top to the bottom giving that "museum" style of viewing.

But by doing that, I'm unable to come up with a way to put lighting behind the fascia angled all the way down the 5.5m from a single light source to create that late pm sun. Most spotlight Par 16 "birdie" theatre lights have a narrow field of angle but have the distance, where domestic LED situations probably don't project as far down the layout but have the wider angle to even put light at the base of where the light is attached. Am I making sense?

I have toyed with strip LED lighting, which would give me the colour but would be too uniform.

Has anyone else gone to these lengths for lighting their layout?

I'll throw it out there...

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  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
You could try different colours and try the ratios. you can also get shaped wood from bunnings that could give you the led angle you need. A aquaintance has two cool white, one warm white and blue( used for night time running) In your case a yelloe or orange set might do it. As to consistancy some selective  darkening of someLED may make it more random.

that's all I can think of.

Regards,
David Head


  Lazarus Train Controller

Location: Missouri, USA
You could get RGB LEDS with a controller to get the colour temperature where you want it (you could also put in a dial so you can change the time of day). As far as the spread of light, if a single source would do what you want, you can always add some barn doors or a snoot (photography related terms) to limit the spread. While we're going down the photography road I would probably recommend lighting the main scene with LED strip being your fill light (not very bright, just enough to fill in the scene a bit with out casting their own shadows), and having the bright source being your key/main light. Make sure the colour temperatures are close, so you don't end up with a warm orange balanced main and blue shadows from cool LEDs.

5.5 metres is a long throw. If the spot gets you the look you're after, but doesn't have the spread, I would suggest making an array (like a mini sun), but spots generally put out a lot of heat, so you might not want to go that route. You could always put a brighter bank of LEDs at one end to keep the heat down. OK, I'm done thinking/typing out loud now.
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

Hi all,

I'm after advice I think, or at least people's experiences.

I wish to model a town in western Victoria that I frequented a whole lot as a kid and grew particularly fond of that late afternoon winter sunshine... from say about 4pm, that had a real orange/yellow hue to it.

I wish to recreate that lighting to add some ambience to the layout and even try to re create the longer shadows.

I saw pretty much the exact style of colour and lighting in an article on Rod Stewart's layout a few years back in Model Railroader which he uses to AWESOME effect on his layout but I have a few questions to be answered.

If I was trying to light a 5.5m (almost to scale) station yard, whilst using a fascia and valance type situation where I was GOING to form the fascia as part of a dropped "bulkhead" ceiling over the town section of the layout and create a "viewing" height of only about 60 - 70 cm from the fascia top to the bottom giving that "museum" style of viewing.

But by doing that, I'm unable to come up with a way to put lighting behind the fascia angled all the way down the 5.5m from a single light source to create that late pm sun. Most spotlight Par 16 "birdie" theatre lights have a narrow field of angle but have the distance, where domestic LED situations probably don't project as far down the layout but have the wider angle to even put light at the base of where the light is attached. Am I making sense?

I have toyed with strip LED lighting, which would give me the colour but would be too uniform.

Has anyone else gone to these lengths for lighting their layout?

I'll throw it out there...
defman
Just a couple of thoughts.
1 If you like Rod Stewarts effects have you considered trying to contact him via Model Railroader or his current record company?

His layout is double scale and also pretty substantial but if you catch him in a good mood he may enjoy a discussion about trains and techniques.
I only mention this because over the years I have met two large scale Aussie musicians who also love trains. I have had personal contacts and mobile numbers. ( one said if I released his phone number to anyone he would have to have me terminated !!!! )

The worst thing that could happen is they may say no !!

2 . As you said western Victoria I am guessing the line may be running East West ????
To me if that is the case the shadows would probably be running from stage left. ( or right???)n
If that is the case you could add several of the wooden sections as mentioned in the thread already. And voltage control would add a lot of variety.  I have seen a couple of layouts using dual or triple stages of lighting. One layout used a 24 timetable on a 6/1 fast clock and half the trains ran in the 12 hours of darkness. Most of the running was under blue lights.

Good luck with it and please keep us updated with what happens.
  defman Station Master

Thanks for the replies... Very very much appreciated!

Yes, you are correct that it will run east west... and yes, I was thinking of having the long "sun array", stage right, shining down the yard, the full 6 or so scale metres... so yes Lazarus, I was thinking of a spot, and I like your idea of the strip lighting doing some fill in.

The long throw is certainly my concern and how to get an even spread of light from that single light source with such a relatively small viewing area... coz of the museum style fascia/valance I plan. The array idea may work!

Funnily enough, I have tried to contact someone in regard to Rod Stewart's layout. The article mentioned his mouse manager in Los Angeles, who's job it was obviously, to use LED lights within a theatre style lighting can. He used theatre gels and I managed to find his name on FB and sent him a message, but who know if he checks his "message request" folder!

I like the ideas around a 24 hour clock. Railways and model railways are a nostalgic exercise for me, so I always thought it important to include the "mood" of some of my experiences, like chasing trains at night etc etc and lighting is one of the important parts of that I hope to get right!

Most layouts focus on the daytime scenes, but there is one simple layout I have seen that is set up simply with a black background, station lit and cricket noises, that looks and FEELS superb! Really evocative! A highly under valued component.
  Dazz Deputy Commissioner

to get a "tunable" light selection, on my layout I have used two separate LED lighting strips, one is a warm white, and one is a selectable RGB strip, which comes with a remote control to alter the colours.

The warm white gives off a slightly yellow tinge, and corrected with the RGB set to what would be a cool white or slightly blue twinge, gives a very neutral light which roughly equates normal sunlight.

By altering the RGB settings it is possible to get more of an orange sunrise or sunset colour, adding more blue gives more of a night-time feel.

The combination of the two strips gives a very even light around the whole layout, and almost completely alleviates any shadows, which in general is preferred.

Creating a lighting source to replicate a "sun low in the sky" effect is probably not as easy as it seems. My initial thought would be to run LED strip lighting possibly every meter or so at 90° across the layout, and have a baffle or diffuser at approximately a 30° angle underneath each LED strip, so that the light cannot shine downwards but only at an angle along the layout.

This may give a better spread of lighting then one single source, but still give a more even amount of light along the length of the layout.

The downside to this style of lighting is that any photography of the layout pointing towards the light source will be heavily compromised. This may not seem like a consideration, but the 1st time you want to photograph the layout in that direction it will become a major problem.

There are some pictures on my blog showing how the LED strip lighting is mounted, and although this may not suit your exact purpose may still give you ideas.

https://gunnedahandbeyond.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/let-there-be-light.html
  defman Station Master

Thanks Dazz.

I had a look at your blog and WOW! Just what i want to do on so many levels!

I love the lighting idea, I guess I can use some artistic license and make a real life town's geographic position rotate 180 degrees, that way I can get the colour using strip lighting and give up the difficult idea of a single light source.

Dazza, I also love your pre fabbed metal E's! Great idea! I'm in a similar position. Been in my house for 9 years gathering a heap of info and I have yet to turn a sod on my layout but have a pretty firm handle on everything except the lighting. I'm most impressed!

Thank you folks! I think the strip lighting may have to to be the go..!

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