|Marker installed on SP 2701 as it rolls through the San Joaquin Valley on the rear of No.56, the Tehachapi Mail.
|Here we see the SP 2701 with the roof removed and the LED strip lighting and support bar installed.
The LED lighting strip is sold by various companies as kitchen cabinet bottom lighting. It is designed to project working levels of light up to 18" down to the counter work surfaces at 12V DC. Inside a model passenger car I only need a fraction of that much power. Running on DCC 14-16V AC the LEDs get hot, however with 10K Ohm to 30K Ohm dropping resistors (depending on the lighting installation and how much light is desired) the LED run cool and still put out enough light.
|Various parts of the lighting system
The LED strip comes in a roll 16ft long and can be cut in increments of 3". Wiring is easily done with small round solder-able contacts at each end of the 3" sections. Pre-tin these contacts then solder in pre-tinned wires to the truck pickups and dropping resistors.
I glue the LED strip on top of a piece of 0.100" x 0.250" Evergreen plastic strip, which supports the lighting strip, which is rather floppy. I use an ACC-type glue, as I don't trust the glue that comes on the back of the LED strip to hold over long periods of time.
|The roof is fitted with some 0.010" or 0.005" styrene sheet as a reflector for the LED lights.
On the SP 2701 I elected to use the "bounce" method of lighting where I install a light colored plastic sheet reflector inside the roof. The lighting is installed on the top of the support bar and shines upwards into the reflector, bouncing the light at a lower intensity back down evenly onto the interior of the car.
It is important to be sure the roof is of dark material (black plastic works!) or is painted with a couple of good coats of black paint to prevent the light getting through the roof of the car.
On some cars, especially brass cars with one-piece roof and sides, it is much easier to use the "Direct Lighting" method by installing the LED light strip and support bar to the inside of the brass roof with RTV (automotive) Silicon glue-caulking and use higher levels of dropping resistors. - I will be covering this method in the building blogs on the SP 1005 and other brass cars.
Adjusting the Interior Lighting
I usually set up the lighting in the car to be barely noticeable when the room lighting is at full intensity. As the room lighting is lowered, the lighting in the car should start to become visible. These photos are of a customer's model, SP 2938 Lounge, which I installed the direct lighting method on. These methods of adjusting the lighting with dropping resistors is the same with either lighting method.
|SP 2938 with interior with with "Sunny White" (blueish) LED strip installed with "Direct Lighting" method.
The car interior details are mounted to the car sides and the stiffening flanges down the inside edges of the floor. The lighting strip is mounted to the inside of the roof pointing down. This Lounge car was upgraded in the 1930s with fluorescent lighting systems to match the new Daylight-type cars, so I used the blue-white LED strips (referred to as "Daylight" because of the color of the light) as apposed to the "Golden White" which I use for incandescent lighting in the older cars such as coaches and RPOs.
|The lighting starts to show up in reduced "dusk" layout lighting levels
In the photo above, the lighting is starting to become visible with the room lighting at about 1/2 power. The camera is tricky to get to work in these varying light conditions, I used the gamma adjust to adjust the lighting levels to what my eyes perceive.
Real railroad passenger cars in 1:1 scale are very hard to see into during the daytime, even if they don't have tinted glass windows. Likewise on the models we shouldn't be able to see into them when the layout lighting is at the maximum normal levels. The interiors will be quite hard to see, unless the layout lighting is at an angle that allows it inside the carbody.
|Here with the room lighting turned off, with the "night" effect, the car's lights are fully visible.
Here is the SP 2938 on my work bench during the trials of the LED lighting. The goal is to get the lighting at the darkest level (no layout lights) so that it's comfortable to look into the car and see the interior detailing, however not so bright as to light up the scenery trackside as the car sits on the track. This is a personal call, I often have the amount of light exiting the car and showing on the table top about equal to the amount of light that I can see in the car when the room lights are full. In other words, minimal bounce lighting off the layout scenery is ideal.
Installing the Owl Mt Models Marker Light and Tailgate
|HiTech Details Diaphragm before mounting of the OwlMtModels marker gate.
|Dropping resistors are placed between the truck pickups and the positive and negative commons.
The OwlMtModels kit includes one sprue of plastic, two red LEDs, and two 1k Ohm dropping resistors. I cut the sprue apart to paint the two types of parts different colors. The black plastic is ideal for the Gyralite parts as it needs to be thin and also be able to stop the bright light coming from the LEDs. I spray the Gyralite pieces with Gloss Aluminum paint while still on the sprues. Once I cut them off and clean any slight flashing with a small file, a small pass with a silver Sharpe Marker will hide where the injection gates were.
|Painted OwlMtModels tailgates and Gyralite Markers.
The tailgates are painted to match the color of the vestibule interiors; StarBrand Sea Foam Green for the SP 2436 and another Daylight car, and StarBrand Dark Olive Green for the Harriman coaches and the SP 2701.
I cover more of this process in my videos of installing these markers in the Athearn-Genesis 77-C-3 Chair Car, SP 2436. The two videos are about 40 minutes long.
|SP 2701 with OwlMtModel's Pyle Gyralite Marker & Tailgate installed
|Here's a photo of the bottom of a PSC brass 60-C-series coach with all the brake system installed.
The photo above is a picture I took many years ago of a PSC brass car that was part of a collection. I decided to take the photo for future modeling of Harriman coaches and chair cars, such as the SP 2701! I have not yet installed the brake rigging and associated tanks, etc. to the bottom of the SP 2701 yet, but I did add a PSC battery box to the car to at least breakup the silhouette.
|The door side of the boxes installed on the 2701.
The PSC plastic battery box parts are assembled easily and a piece of sheet styrene is cut to fit the back of the box to prevent anyone seeing into the box from the opposite side of the car.
|I added sheet styrene to the back of the PSC Battery Boxes to close it off for a more finished appearance.
The Battery Box was prepainted in my "off-black" mix of StarBrand paint and glued to the floor weight with ACC-type glue.
|The SP 2701 with the battery box installed.
The SP 2701 is starting to look pretty finished with the interior and battery box installed.
|Cal-Scale "UC" Passenger Brake System parts installed on SP 5199
I plan to install Cal-Scale "UC" Passenger Brake System parts and axle-belt generator to the SP 2701 as well in the near future. The photo below was staged at Magunden before I was able to get the battery box of the SP 2701 installed.
Markers into the Night
|SP 2701 bringing up the markers of No.56 at Magunden California, at La Mesa Model Railroad Club.
In the last part of this series I'll show the applied brake rigging and finished underbody for the car.
Related Links:Modeling SP 2701 (Part 2) - Interior & Diaphragms
Modeling SP 60-CC-1 SP 2701 Chair Car (Part 1) - Starting from a Model Power coach
SP 1005 Soho 60-C-5 Coach-Chair Car (Part 1)
MDC-Athearn 60ft Baggages - Overview on Mechanicals.