Friday, May 06, 2022

Vintage light sets


Picked up for a tiny donation, these lighting sets are being stashed away in case I need to restore something, rather than for serious use on a modern layout. 

Each one contains a length of wire, and four small lightbulbs and screw-in holders. Without opening a set, the falament bulbs globes appear to be 6mm diameter. If you fancy adding a shade, there is a pattern printed on the card.

JNT Products are another new company to me. I can find JNT Model Products, who were incorporated in 1970, about the right time, looking at the packing. They have since been disolved so no more. 

Nowadays, we'd use LEDs for lighting a model. They last forever, use tiny amounts of current and generate no heat. Since you aren't likely to need to change them, lights can be built into buildings etc. 

At Pendon, because the Vale scene started life so long ago, the builders incorporate light tubes (coridors made to cardboard to duct the light around) into their models so the bulbs can remain below the baseboard for changing and to keep the heat away from the cardboard structure. 

Many people arge that everything old is better than anything new, but I'm afraid swapping filament bulbs for LEDs is definitly an improvment!

1 comment:

Huw Griffiths said...

Fair comment.

OK - you'd sometimes want to choose LEDs of a suitable colour. You might also want to get the light intensity right and avoid "light bleed".

I can remember one RTR model of a TfL surface train - with special LED lightbars available. I saw a sample at a model railway show - with light showing through the white bodyshells.

I'm thinking of creating a simple coach lighting demo, as part of a society stand. You won't see it in the next few months (I've got other commitments right now) - but I've seen enough bad lighting in my time.

Lighting buildings and scenes is another issue - why should we use lamps that only light up when they get hot? Why would anyone want these in the middle of scenes that took lots of people (some now dead) ages to build, from combustible materials - especially if some of these scenes could qualify as museum exhibits?

I suspect that a case could be made for converting some museum layouts to LED lighting - perhaps use lamps with similar fittings - taking the chance to upgrade the wiring to modern standards.

OK, keep the light ducts - why change the character of these displays? Also, would you want to pull apart models built decades ago, to fit lights, wires etc. in new places. I wouldn't.

There might be a case for keeping fluorescent lights for now - if it works well - and if they've got spare tubes etc..

However, some museums might worry that a number of models, scenes and other exhibits could be ruined over time, through exposure to heat, UV etc.. I could imagine places like Pendon giving thought to stuff like this - they want to conserve their exhibits.

Of course, few individuals have personal collections of museum grade models. Yes - I know that some Hornby, Lima, Airfix etc. models might be decades old - but most will never be museum exhibits.

If I find some old Lima DB "Donald Duck" unit in a cupboard - then replace the filament headlights with LEDs, will there be lots of angry letters written to The Times? Am I about to learn of the existence of a bunch of jerks, with nothing better to do with their time than write unhinged rants, in green ink, complaining about "sacrilege"?

I don't think it's about to happen - and not just because I don't read The Times.

It wasn't the best model to start with - which was one reason it was sold off cheap. An improved version had been released (there've been more since). I don't even think this model is rare (unless you happen to believe the hype from certain rogue traders, notorious for describing all their overpriced tat as RARE, MINT, etc.).

Anyway, it sounds like my model might be about to become slightly rarer - but nowhere near as rare as it might become if the lightbulbs get too hot and melt the surrounding plastic ... .

A number of years back, someone on one forum site wanted to use a rough trainset in a stunt for a fire video. That's right - the electrics would have got hot enough to ignite the surrounding plastic - probably not difficult to arrange. I never found out what happened with this plan, as the guy made a big show about leaving the site not long after.

Yes, there are some "electrics" I'm only too happy to leave in the last century.

Whilst on the subject of old "electrics", you might recall that some Gaugemaster controllers were sold in Beatties branded packaging. I think I've got one of their hand controllers, in intact packaging - but I can't remember where I put it. It's probably one of those "novelty" items that some people might wish to see a photo of (to prove it exists) - before quickly losing interest ... .