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Shadow box lighting

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  • Shadow box lighting

    hello again;

    I,m seeking opinions on overhead lighting that would be for a Shadow box effect layout.

    Looking for advice on what kind of fixtures to use.

    I was going to go with a soft soffet overhead valence,such as a black material,(I saw one layout on the net using black plastic),hung from the ceiling about 24" down.

    My first layout modules will be 30" deep,by a 22' run.

    Was thinking of hanging 4' shop lights,one tube?

    Overhead lighting is all new to me in my model railroad experience.

    What is enough?, what is to much?,HEAT FACTERS?,

    reasonable expence?.

    all advice and opinion is needed.[:-bigeyes2]

    Thanks again, Randy May

  • #2
    Personally I love tungsten track lighting.. the light is soft and easy on the eyes. Fluorescent has no heat factor and is dirt cheap, but I absolutely detest the harsh flat light it gives off. Just a matter of my opinion.. I use track lighting with between 25 and 50 watts bulb and that works for me.

    Be interesting to see the other opinions that some of our members have, and their perspective on lighting.



    • #3
      Little heat from fluorescents so no worry. Lots of options. Try dual shop lights with reflector at 45* angle just outside the front edge of layout -- 30" deep then 30" up. Place them end to end. Try some Chroma 50 bulbs as well as daylight and cool white to see what color rendition you like. Whatever you use make sure shop and layout are lighted the same so colors will be the same.

      Bill Uffelman

      Usually Las Vegas NV


      • #4

        Personally I agree with Arthur, I like the warm glow of incadescents. I have flourescents in the aisles for general lighting. I turn them off when operating and doing scenery work. It is amazing how it washes out the color. This is not to knock flourescents, its just my opinion.

        I also have been using LED lights in conjuction with incadescents. The ones they use in lighting up the letters in signs. It really enhances the sky color.


        • #5
          I use CFL's:


          It only requires 4 "100"watt units per 8 feet

          Thanks if you visit



          • #6
            Tim your backdrop is just beautiful, wonderful looking layout!! Jerry


            • #7

              I did quite a bit of research for bulbs to use when photographing my wife's jewelry for her website.

              These are the bulbs I settled on and we also use these for all her displays and my kit building area.


              The daylight bulbs give a much better color rendition but this might not be to your personal liking.

              You can also use tubes and get the same results.

              Just make sure they have a CRI minimum of 85 to 90 and a color temp. around 6500K.

              And there's no heat to worry about.

              The CFLs from WalMart will not give these results. 8D
              Dave Mason


              • #8

                We are using 4' daylight fluro's (6500k) in our new layout. It is mainly wooded out, modules are around 6' long. Do the sums and you'll see there are about 2' gaps between the tubes (layout is just over 28' long straight piece). The gaps between the tubes helps add variation in light as such, with darker sections in the forest between scenes. The tubes have also been painted over, with random splogdes of sky blue paint, which helps break the harsh clean fluro glow into a more dappled light spread. Makes photography a bit slower, but takes some of the harsh reflection off the lighting.

                It depends on the effect you are after I guess, but the home layout I will soon get a chance to work on again, is also shadow box, but will use 12v downlights (probably LED if I can find them at the right price). Going for a more "arty" effect on this one, that will intentionally cause lots of shadows and spotlight on chosen sections. Done properly, it can create the effect of rays of sunlight cutting through the thick forest canopy. I have about 24 downlights at this stage to incorporate into a shadow box running around a 12'x12' room. Small room, but the idea will to be like walking straight into the forest.

                Hope this causes some further confusion over what to choose...

                Dan Pickard


                • #9

                  I use for my exhibtion layouts a mix of 4' daylight fluorescent tubes and incandescent lights. Like Dan Pickard said, it depends on effect you want.
                  Have a G\'day

                  Fabrice Fayolle