Fred’s stunning night time scenery for his model railroad

Fred sent these pics in.

He’s a man of few words, but with pics like these, he can get away with that. Stunning stuff:

“Hutton Ave backdrop, showing fibre optic “lighting tubes” in various color LED lights, and wires for separate “pica” LEDs

Front Side in Daylight (lit) roughly painted)

Front side (Lit)

Rear Side of Hutton Ave Backdrop (Lit)

Rear Side of Hutton Ave Backdrop (not lit)

Forming street lamp shades 5mm

Hand formed lamp shades (5mm) from beer can aluminum!

My lights – pica and Z size pica LEDs from Evans Design – thousands of them!

Beginning City “RingRoad” in plexi backdrop. Note that lit autos not yet on last section of bridge, but will eventually form a lit continuum of nightmarish traffic past east end of city, over rail yards, past east end, over suburbs, and into background beyond. Background cutout is just visible. I’ve been working on it separately on bench for two months. More on this later.

For scale:

Wow! Some of Fred’s pics look so real. He really has nailed this night scene.

I know some of you will want to see some more day light pics – I know I do.

Fred mailed me last week to say he’s putting together a ‘how-to’. Can’t wait for that!

Now on to Dave:

“Hi Al

Well after a couple of weeks away, got back home now and of course just had to go and have a running session on my layout… just uploaded so here it is.

I have missed my trains, but got to admit enjoyed the sun this time of Year.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Fred and Dave.

That’s all for today folks – please do keep ’em coming.

If you want to send anything in, please just email me (hit reply to any of my mails).

A quick heads up though. If you attach lots of pics to one email, it won’t get through.

Best thing to do is don’t attach more than 3 pics to one email – but send as many emails as you like.

Hope that makes sense.

Oh – and if you’re a HO chap, please do get in touch – it’s all getting a bit thin on the ground this end.

One last thing. Pleased don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if today is the day you get started on your layout.



40 Responses to Fred’s stunning night time scenery for his model railroad

  1. Florin says:


  2. Keith Hicks says:

    Fred’s nights scenes are the best I’ve ever seen in creating depth. Did he work in film or theatre?

  3. Rich B. says:

    Most excellent with the fibre optics and micro technology- what patience. Only other time I’ve seen anything coming close was a layout using fluorescent paints for windows etc and integral filter fluor. black lights. Gave the layout an eire night effect and everything painted popped out with the colors, a 70’s thing way before… except for Chevy Corvette optics I knew of. Think even myself would go that route if… I won’t ever live long enough to accomplish something as with today’s post lmao.

    Regards, Rich

  4. David Schaffner says:

    Dave’s layout is the best I’ve ever seen….Wonder where he gets all the wonderful buildings and classic cars…….Is this from the UK?

  5. DP in Toronto says:

    Fred’s modelling results are amongst the very best we’ve ever seen on this site. Magnificent.

  6. Dave Bannister says:

    Nice job Fred, an amazing display. Very well thought out.

  7. george zaky says:

    A total OMG moment. When you dont know if it is a real picture or a model then you know the model was created by the best. For those of you who may travel to NY City a must see is Gullivers Gate, 44th St an expose in 1/87 scale of each famous part of the world. The expertise of the modeling is why I mention that here and I compare Fred’s work to that of the “Gate”. Yeah stunning is the right word. The sky and moon- WOW! The city is alive.

    Dave- thanks for the trip- Tank train was awesome!- ( never too long)
    George from NY

  8. DJfromNJ says:

    Fred’s lamp shades are a great justification for beer consumption, should that become necessary. Oh, and the lighting is world class!

  9. Ruben Simon says:

    I wouldn’t believe that these weren’t just snapshots of the real world if it weren’t for the moon not being round in some of the pictures. Unbelievable otherwise! Well done!

  10. Kevin McArdle says:


  11. tom bray says:

    incredible lighting and art work..the concepts are truly a stroke of art

  12. Stosh Polodski says:

    Absolutely amazing results. I thought he snuck in some “real world” pics! Kudos, Fred! Please keep sharing your great work.

  13. Robert D. Bouskill says:

    Neat. And three rail O” gauge as well

  14. SHS PHOENIX says:

    Trains in England sure do run fast… WOW !

  15. Benjamin Wright says:

    Fred has one of the most amazing layouts I have ever seen! WOW!

  16. Patrick says:

    Amazing street/city detail. Lighting amazing. I wish I will have the patience to get the lights to that detail on my layout. I think that’s why I picked a more industrial layout out in the country woods, fields and Mtn landscapes. Your pictures do motivate me to spend more time on what little lighting I will have in my 4×8, which i appreciate. I hope my layout will grow to something much larger. One more child to go and the basement is mine, LOL! Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing.
    Patrick from MD

  17. Bob from Twoson says:

    OK I Quit!!! I admit that I will never be that good if I live to be 100 (thats an old saying) actually 200!!!! lol Kidding…magnificant work Fred. Im assuming that you are or were a lighting engineer or did lighting for professional models for movie sete etc… If not then you should apply for a position by sending your pics to producers…

  18. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Oh how great these night scenes are. Wow.

  19. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    With the colored lights and optics I understand but I’m curious how Fred gets around the bluish color of LED’s.

  20. C.J. May II says:

    What an awesome effect. The steamer with the distant city/village lights across the bay is FANTASTIC!! Had to double-take on many in these pics!


    Fred, WOW, amazing work and such beautiful lighting. It looks so real.

  22. Read Ferguson says:

    Way above my pay grade! Very nice, and very nice to have the time necessary.

  23. Linda from Pittsburgh says:

    Wow Fred,
    Everything looks so real. The lighting is extremely well done, like how you also blended the lighting into the background. Very intimidating, I wouldn’t know where to begin! Awesome job.

    Dave, your work is always incredible. You set the standards high. Great job.

  24. Jerry Barto says:

    TOTALLY Awesome !!!!

  25. Bernie says:

    WOW! If only all models were this beautiful! A masterpiece!

  26. Robert Brady says:

    Talent,patience,and know how,I’m in aw! I can’t figure out how to hide my wiring on my upper level passenger platform let alone light an entire city. Great work fred

  27. Rod Mackay says:

    Crikey that’s exceptional, well done. Stuck most of my buildings down for protection in transit and can’t see me ripping a lot up for internal lighting now, but that is inspirational.

    Glad you enjoyed your holiday Dave!


  28. Thank you all re my Railway , and thanks Rod re the holiday , makes a nice change to be getting 25C this time of Year , as you will know in UK its down to 5/7c
    Nice work with the lighting Fred , something to me that always adds life to a Railway ….Dangerous Dave

  29. This is estonishing. Words cannot describe this superb work of art. Congratulations! This should be named LAYOUT OF THE YEAR!

  30. Jack Bury says:

    Lighting work is outstanding!

  31. Jim AZ says:

    Your lighting effects are quite remarkable and your photography of the scenes is very professional. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  32. Don H says:

    Amazing! How long have you been working on this great and unbelievable setup? I’m guessing you are still planning and working on your amazing setup!

  33. Jeff says:

    Absolutely stunning. They all look like real life pictures. You’ve done an absolutely wonderful job with your layout.

  34. Fred, you da man! Amazing!

  35. PAUL SOLARI says:

    whoever said “there’s no such thing as perfection” never saw this …..

    i’ve been on here for years and never saw anything that came close to this ……….on a 1-10 scale this is off the chart …nice going

  36. Bill Holt says:


  37. dennis frank perri says:

    Best lighting I have ever seen on a layout.GREAT JOB!!!!

  38. JoeS - inME says:

    Fred’s work is so fantastic that he should be in the Hall of Fame; truly spectacular work!

  39. Stephen Hill Woodstock GA says:

    I’m speechless! Wow , amazing , fantastic , absolutely incredible what you’ve done with lighting and backdrop. A special skill indeed . Thank you , that is an inspiration.

  40. Brian Rockey says:

    OMG! Sensational city night scenes and scenery Fred..
    Best to all
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

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