How important is light for my model railway?
Cleverly lit layouts simply look great. Light creates moods, shapes spatial contexts and touches us emotionally and directly. That’s especially so when lighting elements are nuanced and varied. By contrast, a model railway with the same lighting throughout can lack emotionality and authenticity. It’s just like on stage: without lighting, the performance is only half as exciting.
How do I use light correctly?
By deciding on which parts are important for the layout. Those can be emphasised with the right light. Light illustrates the central idea of the model railway. With light, spots can be placed on certain scenes. Mini-scenes are highlighted in this way. In addition to accentuating details, light can also create depth by making the foreground brighter and the background less intense but still noticeable. With light, a layout can be divided up into several levels.
Should I make a lighting plan first?
First of all, it’s important to be clear on what an individual layout is all about. Is the railway operation with its stations, platforms or crossings in the foreground? Or is it more about the landscape, about details and certain themes?
A plan is good when it comes to the overall effect. But primarily, it’s better to check the possibilities that lighting elements offer. What counts most is trial and error, especially when the subject of light is new to you. It’s always possible to change it later.
Is more light better than less?
That depends. In other words, it can also be appealing to keep a layout in semi-darkness, to deliberately use only a few light elements such as building or street lighting in order to achieve a completely different effect. The layout then literally shines with new splendour. The layout could be configured to have daytime and a nighttime versions, each with a different focus or scene. So exciting!
Which lighting elements are available?
The FALLER range offers a whole variety of lighting elements. These start with the traditional interior lighting of the houses, with or without flickering television simulation. The range includes flash effects, strip lighting for factory halls or chains of lights for pub gardens. The funfair models with their running lights, illuminated lettering or pre-programmable light changes attract particular attention. And last but not least, individual street lights are available. This is in a way the raw material for the implementation of your individual idea.
I would like to illuminate my streets and paths. What could I use for this purpose?
FALLER offers a very wide range of light fittings that integrate perfectly into different eras. For example, you could use historic lanterns with their playful, cast-iron look. The classic whip lights for street lighting have not been forgotten, either, complemented by modern, functional versions. Lattice tower curved lights, ring lights and post-top lights are available, especially for track fields and platforms. With this wealth of types, you can match your lighting idea perfectly – and also change it again.
Which light sources can I use?
FALLER works mainly with light-emitting diodes, micro-bulbs are rare. LEDs have great advantages. They’re small and, as an SMD variant, allow the construction of delicate light elements. In addition, LEDs require little energy, are long-lasting, do not get hot and come very close to the natural lighting mood. You can use warm or cold white LEDs, programme RGB LEDs to flicker and use them for running lights.
A major advantage of LEDs, compared to light bulbs, is their small size. This allows for much more delicate designs, with streetlights, for example. Low power consumption is another plus point in favour of LEDs. This allows significantly more lighting units to be connected to one transformer without overloading it. Their compact and modern technology is also easy on the wallet.
One reason for the low power consumption of LED technology is that it produces no waste heat. This benefits operational safety. There’s no fear of overheating, even in continuous use. The long service life of LEDs is particularly useful in model building. Models no longer have to be elaborately disassembled to replace permanently installed lighting elements.
LEDs come in different shades of white and colour. Warm white and cold white LEDs can be selected to suit the application. Warm white light, for example, is ideal for romantic illumination of old town or park scenes and as interior lighting for houses. Cold white light is well suited as lighting for railway stations and platforms or industrial scenes. Different coloured LEDs are installed in the FALLER chains of lights. These are available individually as self-flashing LEDs and can be used as a visual signal on vehicles or in fairground operations. The items in the mini light effect series use SMD LEDs that come already soldered onto circuit boards and can produce various effects. No further control electronics are necessary here.
Is assembly complicated?
No. The height of most streetlights, for example, can easily be adjusted to suit the respective situation. You drill a hole in the panel, feed the thin connecting cables through, insert the base of the fitting and set the height by moving the pole. The light is then glued in.
To make lights particularly easy to handle, they come already equipped with an appropriate series resistor, so there is no need to solder them on. The ready-to-connect fittings operate on 12 volts direct current (DC), which is provided by a transformer, Art. 180641.
What about installation of the electrics?
The lights operated on 12 volts DC, which is provided by our transformer. The light can be controlled by push-buttons and switches. Or you can use our “LED facility lighting with control unit”. The programme simulates a lived-in house by changing the lighting in the rooms, hallway or staircase. You can switch and dim to add lighting effects to the building by having two programmes. So the connection and installation of the lighting elements is easy – the effect is enormous and the wow effect guaranteed.
Are the lights just for H0?
No. We also have streetlights for the N track as part of our range. The H0 series is without doubt more extensive, but there is also a very wide range of applications for N. And as always, we are continuously adding to our product range.
Is it possible to individualise the lights?
Of course. In addition to changing the height, you can simply repaint the lights or patinate them to suit your preferences. You’ll find suitable materials in our product range, including colours for ageing. There are no limits to the imagination here.
I only want to build landscapes, but with light. Is that possible?
Yes, of course. You can create dioramas and add illuminated elements. Our lights are derived from railway operation. The best example is the funfair theme, which does without a railway, but is quite fascinating with its lighting effects and moods. Lights that regulate traffic are also a special highlight on any layout. There are no limits to your creativity and imagination when it comes to lighting.