I'm building a railway room and want to light it in the best way. I think some form of diffuse lighting would be best for general use ... Spotlight on workbench
Does anyone have any advice on the form of general lighting to use please?
I'm by no means an expert when it comes to lighting, and certainly there are people here that will have better advice, but from my perspective, here's what you should do:
You need two basic types of light for a model railroad, "ambient light" and "accent light"
Ambient lighting should simulate the sun and thus be very white, maybe a little blue in color. You can achieve that with florescent or LED's. Fluorescent bulbs will be a range of colors but LED's tend to be either white or blue, which is good for modelers. LED's are more expensive, but they are supposed to last much longer than anything else on the market. Look up Milocomarty's topic on Mara Harbor on the forum. It's long, but somewhere in there he gets into lighting and it looks magnificent.
This is an example of an LED fixture that is similar to a florescent tube:
Accent lighting should complement the ambient light, but will highlight individual areas you want to be seen. Certain buildings, a tunnel, mountain side, whatever you want to be highlighted, accent lighting does the job. Typically modelers will use track lighting or a small spotlight mounted to the ceiling. You can use halogen or incandescent if you want, but there are better products on the market. Specifically, LED's are now made to fit in a standard light socket. They are diffused by the plastic bulb:
photo credit: cnet.com
In case you haven't caught my hints, I'm a fan of LED lighting. In the past it was expensive (and can still be today) but LED's have been proven to be adaptable and dependable if you get a quality product. I've been working a lot with then commercially the last few months in the electrical industry and aside from a few duds, they generally perform and last just as well as anything else. Besides, you can't go wrong with 60w replacements like the photo above. If you're willing to rewire the layout room, you could install a ton of these guys in the ceiling, up to the limit regulated by the UK electrical code (which I assume is similar to our NEC across the pond in the US)
Good luck, and like I said there are plenty here who have their own advice to give.
Last edited on Sat Feb 6th, 2016 08:35 pm by jtrain
In one of my previous layouts (around the room 10' X 10') I had light bulbs with baffles so they cast light in one direction, all of them pointing the same way (to the right as you stood in front of the layout) so the shadows all pointed the same way all around. Complemented with white christmas lights to somewhat fill the the darker spots. Jose.
____________________ Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it.
Thanks guys. I haven't seen that type of LED before. I guess it gives a good ambient light. Hard to choose between LED and fluorescent!
On the colour, some I've talked to here prefer the "warm white" versions rather than white or daylight. I've seen some lighting layouts at exhibitions and the white does look quite stark in contrast to the warm white. Whereas the daylight looks very blue and changes the greens used in scenery to a much greyer colour. I guess this is a matter of personal preference.