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Adding Lights to Model Buildings


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Adding Interior Lights to Model Buildings
interior lights

I-beams below the roof keep walls straight and also provide a base for interior light bulbs. Wires are run to the back of the structure and then down through the floor to the bus. Lights and wires are hidden when looking through the large doors.

©2010 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

When adding interior lights, there are several common traps to avoid.

  1. The Glowing Building. Light should be visible through windows, not walls. This problem can be corrected in two ways. First, reduce the intensity of the light by reducing the voltage to the bulbs. Second, paint the interior of the walls. A coat of silver underneath the interior color will reflect light and prevent the glow.
  2. A Light in Every Room. In some buildings, lights are normally all turned on. Others, espescially residential buildings, typically will have both bright and dark rooms. You can simulate this with inexpensive cardboard floors and walls to divide the light. Use multiple bulbs if necessary.
  3. I See the Light! Whether you've put interior details inside or not, nothing ruins the illusion of a scale building faster than seeing a gigantic light bulb through an open window or door. Use smaller bulbs, place lights near rooflines, or use window shades / curtains or other dividers to block the views.
  4. When Good Bulbs Go Bad. Eventually, every lightbulb will burn out. Will you be able to change it when it does? A removeable roof, wall or base is a good idea when adding lights. For more complicated structures, a seperate interior skeleton may be needed to support lights and interior details for all floors.

Beyond these common mistakes, the most important thing is to make sure all of your lights are secure and well placed. Lights can be attached to support beams, walls, floors or other dividers. A little trial-and-error is usually the best way to determine optimum placement and number of lights.

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