The APA box is a really good place for a layout, however the interior is a little dark and some lighting is needed.
If lights are placed inside the existing box they don’t illuminate the very front of the layout.
I want the stock at the front to be well lit. To achieve this the lights need to extend out in front of the box.
I spent some time scratching my head about how to do this. Here’s my solution…
I built a wood panel that will extend in front of the layout. The main part is 92 x 25mm (3.6 x 1 inch) pine, with a frame of 45 x 6mm (1.8 x 0.25 inch) pine around it to stop the lights glaring in the operators eyes.
The lighting panel fits into the Apa box, replacing one part of the existing wood frame.
I drilled a hole in the lighting panel so the existing IKEA screws can be used to attach it.
The lights are self adhesive LED strips. I chose the ‘daylight’ colour balance.
It’s attached here and the electrics run inside the frame of the box. The additional wooden block helps locate and support the lighting panel.
At the back there’s a dimmer switch and the power connection. I’ve added a couple of ‘terminal strip’ connectors so that everything can be disassembled easily.
(The dimmer switch was fitted under the baseboard of Thomas and Sons. It was so well hidden I’d forgotten I’d installed it until I dismantled the layout !)
Here’s the operators view with the lights off…
… and with the lights switched on.
It’s taken a few weeks to build this: thinking time, buying materials, measuring (two or three times!), cutting, gluing, painting, wiring, soldering and varnishing.
A bit of effort and I’m pleased with the end result.
Perhaps a little of the ‘toy box’ charm of the original has been lost, but at least I can see what’s happening now!