Model train LEDs

Fred been in touch with some stunning pics of his layout which shows just how much of a difference model train LEDs can make.

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 model train LEDs lights, and wires for separate “pica” LEDs

model train LEDs

Front Side in Daylight (lit) roughly painted

model train LEDs

Front side model train LEDs (Lit)

model train LEDs

Rear Side of Hutton Ave Backdrop (Lit)

model train LEDs

Rear Side of Hutton Ave Backdrop (not lit)

model train LEDs

Forming street lamp shades 5mm model train LEDs

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

installing LEDs

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

installing LEDs

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.

model train LEDs night time

For scale:

N scale model railroad

model railroad

model train LEDs

model train LEDs

model train LEDs

model train LEDs

Wow! Some of Fred’s pics look so real. He really has nailed this night scene with his model train LEDs.

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.



PS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

55 Responses to Model train LEDs

  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

  41. Sam H. says:

    Fred, your lighting is just stunning. Great job!

    Dave, I love your setup. Did you build the pedestrian stairways by hand or purchase them. I just tried building one, and while it is functional, it is by no means the same quality as what you have in your setup.

    Great work both of you. I am awed!

  42. peter briggs says:

    Wow, Fred, you are definitley in the hall of fame of model railroaders.
    It supasses that commercial layout in Germany.
    Just frigging awesome!!!!!

  43. John Frye says:

    By far the most impressive nighttime work I’ve seen anywhere, in any medium. Simply astounding realism, and adding another whole dimension to model railroading. Thanks so much for your work, photos, and inspiration.
    John from Baltimore

  44. Paul A Barton says:

    What an inspiring issue today. Utterly breathtaking night scenery, absolutely outstanding. Congratulations Fred. Daves return home thrah was great too. Would love to know the power / engine(s) on the tanker train? Dave??

    Paul near Dover

  45. Chris says:

    W O W !!!

  46. John Armstrong says:

    Dave, I REALLY want to know about your on-board CAMERA! The video is so clear and un-distorted!!!
    Also, how did you attach it to different locos???

  47. Forest Driver says:

    You got that second big bridge back up again Dave?

  48. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Just wow!

  49. Ken Holbrook says:

    What can I say Fred? Your layout is beyond amazing. I especially like the way you’ve created the illusion of a shoreline fading off into the distance with lights on the horizon. Very clever. How do you dim down those picos on the horizon to make them look not so bright and up close?

  50. Chris E Mitchell says:

    Wow, how beautiful your work is. Your attention to detail is way beyond anything I have ever seen in model Railroading. Even better than some Cinema. Come and join us in Amarillo. Lol it would be a honor to meet you.

  51. Kenneth R Fox says:

    Okay, how BIG is the layout, because he managed to combine the urban with the rural, both were done very well. The downtown effects were nice, then faded into what looked like a rural scene. I really do wish though, that all modelers would give the size of their layouts so that I can get a better perspective of what I’m looking at and how it’s done. Overall, good job.

  52. Jeff says:

    Very impressive!!! Just unbelievable!!!

  53. David Hewitt says:

    Fred your lighting is second to none, brings the layout to life, what are all those people doing behind all those lit windows? Absolutely outstanding.
    Dave a pleasure to watch as usual but I did want to say that your ballast, rails, sleepers, and in and around vegetation is superb. You have captured the look and feel of prototype operational trackage. You can almost smell the oil and diesel .
    Hey we have sound, smoke and lighting why not smells, lumber yard, oil refinery, cattle pens, maybe in the future. Considering the age of this hobby, it continues to improve and move forward thanks to all those people that have the foresight to see it grow.

  54. Arthur Romano says:

    Stunning and way above my pay grade for execution.

  55. robert dale tiemann says:

    what a wiring/lighting job. very nice.

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