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Posts Tagged ‘Layout lighting’

It has been just over a month since Canute Road Quay made its first proper public exhibition appearance at the excellent Exe Model Railway Society’s exhibition so I thought a little update might be in order.  It certainly made a change taking a layout to an exhibition where I could firstly see out of the rear window of the car and secondly, unload, be set up and operational within 20 mins of arriving at the venue. Fisherton Sarum takes up the whole of the rear of the estate car (seats down and floor to ceiling) and on average takes about an hour to set up!

With Simon at the controls, Canute Road Quay is closely inspected by visitors at the Exe MRS show last month.

One of the advantages of taking a layout to a show a distance away is the opportunity to see layouts that I do not usually get to see and also it’s a chance catch up with friends (some of whom even had a play) and acquaintances from the area that I don’t often get to meet up with and this show did not disappoint on either count.

My kit built ex LSWR Adams B4 0-4-0T shunts at the Quay.

From an operational perspective I was ably, and with thanks,  assisted for the weekend by friend and fellow modeller Simon Paley and we found that operating the layout on an hour on / hour off basis worked exceptionally well and kept the operational interest up on what at the end of the day is just a little shunting layout.

Two USA 0-6-0 tanks (No’s 64 and 72) meet in front of the Waterloo Arms public house and road crossing.

Also the operating position purposely located at the front left hand end enabled pleasant and easy interaction with the viewing public.  I was very pleased with the positive reaction and comments  from the visitors to the show, especially my little bit of cheating with perspective for the terraced houses on the backscene that can be read about here. I also picked a few more potential exhibition invites that I shall follow-up accordingly.

There are a few things still to complete on Canute Road Quay such as: adding proper interiors and lighting for the front two main buildings (which are not yet permanently fixed down so I can complete this activity), actually wiring up the street lamps so they work, finishing the gantry crane with its hook and pulley and some more weathering of the buildings especially on the roof lines as a result of the number of seagulls present!

The Adams B4 0-4-0T is still in use and not yet ousted by the USA 0-6-0Ts soon to rule the Quay.

Also since the exhibition I have taken the opportunity to take a few more snaps of Canute Road Quay, during a couple of running (play), which is one of the advantages of being a small layout that I am able have set up all the time at home.  Some of these quick snaps can be seen accompanying this post.

USA 0-6-0T shunts right on the edge of the Quay whilst the fireman “can see no ships”.

In my Lighting is Quay post I discussed the use of the LED strip lightning that I have deployed on Canute Road Quay although at home and for most of the time at the Exe MRS show the lighting was extremely effective there was at certain times of the day a shadow cast on the backscene of the front pelmet due to sunlight shining in through venues high level windows (I do not think it was really noticed by visitors to the show but I found it a little annoying at times from an overall presentation perspective). I have therefore fitted a second LED strip without any opaque strip of plastic in front to enable either of both LED strips to be switched on to give three different lighting levels to counter an effects of a venues ambient lighting.

In other news, I have been approached by two of the main model railway magazines to feature Canute Road Quay, in order to allow time between publication and ensure that different articles can be written I have accepted one of the approaches, give priority to the magazine whose lovely exclusive tank locomotives gave rise the initial idea of building the layout in the first place, so it shouldn’t take much to work out which magazine it will feature in first… The photoshoot has been arranged for September with the article hopefully appearing before the end of the year, so watch this space.

 

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Just like a good backscene; see my A view from the line post regarding Fisherton Sarum’s backscene here, or my Canute Road Quay backscene post here; another area that I think is vital for any model railway layout, especially if being exhibited, is good lighting. There are a number of reasons for this: firstly and the main reason, is of course to show of your modelling efforts and skills in the best light (pun intended) possible, and secondly due to the fact the ambient lighting at exhibition venues can be variable at best. One key area to bear in mind is the colour / warmth of the lighting that you provide, more of which below…

Over the years a number of methods have been used with mixed results, such as using a number of spot lamps, fluorescent tubes, a mixture of the two and more recently LED strips. I am generally not a fan of multiple spot lamps especially facing in different directions as they can give unrealistic multiple shadows. Note also that technically you plant bulbs but use lamps as a light source in a luminaire…

colour-temperatureThe colour of white, might sound odd but in fact it’s actually a thing, or rather the colour temperature is. This colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). The slightly unnatural yellowy orange tint of a classic tungsten lamp would be in the 2700K (warm white) range, with the light becoming colder and whiter and slightly more natural, up to around 6500K for a cold blue light and even more blue up to 10,000K.
Many of us find doing actual modelling or craft work under a daylight cool blue white lamp (the daylight lamp I use is around the 4000K mark) easier on the eye and also better for rendition of other colours under this artificial light, this especially useful when painting.
Therefore the lighting that we use on our layouts will also benefit from being at the more daylight blue and more natural end of the white temperature spectrum.

A split image showing lighting on Fisherton Sarum from the public’s view (top) and operator’s view (bottom)

A split image showing lighting on Fisherton Sarum from the public’s view (top) and operator’s view (bottom)

On Fisherton Sarum I use, mounted inside the overhead pelmet (painted white inside), two daylight / cool white range (6500K)  florescent tubes to give the overall and even illumination, with two additional spot daylight rated (approx 6000K) spot lamps to give additional illumination to the front corners of the layout specifically around the shed and houses areas (these are far enough apart and carefully angled to prevent any unwanted / unrealistic odd shadows).

Many modellers are now using LED lighting for layout lighting and usually via the increasingly widely available strips of surface mounted LEDs that you simply cut to length. They either come with a transformer and or a controller of some description. This is what I have chosen to use on Canute Road Quay. Just like lamps and fluorescent tubes these LED strips can be obtained in a variety of  white colour ranges usually: warm (between 2700-3200K), daylight (4000-4500K) and cool (5000-6200K).

A view from the inside of Canute Road Quay with the LED strip installed in the underside of the pelmet

A view from the inside of Canute Road Quay with the LED strip installed in the underside of the pelmet

I obtained a metre long, cool white, self adhesive LED strip, plug and play kit complete with plug mounted mains transformer from LED Hut this was inexpensive, already the correct length and very easy to fit. The kit came with a simple plug and socket connection to the lead from the transformer, which I have extended to enable me to mount the socket under the baseboard.
With the overcast greyish sky backscene and drab industrial colours I am using on Canute Road Quay I opted for cool white as the more yellowish warm white would conflict with the overall layout colouration and appear to be less natural.

The even lighting of the LED strip can be seen in this picture of Canute road Quay as it currently stands

This strip has given a very even natural looking light, that alone slightly too bright for what I will want if and when I exhibit Canute Road Quay, I have therefore now added added an opaque strip of plastic in front of the LEDs to reduce the brightness slightly.
Some of the more expensive LED strips on the market allow you to control both the brightness and colour range, which would also give rise to changing the lighting to represents different times of the day etc.  and I can see such effects being utilised more and more in the hobby.

 

 

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