Modelu 3D printed Lamps-Review

As I mentioned the other week, I was sent Modelu’s prototype lamps to give feedback on the design. When received, Alan already told me he was working on a V2 which would have subtle improvements. The Production samples arrived on Friday, so this weekend was spent preparing them, one for review and two….for my Panniers! 😉


The lamps come in their natural red resin. This substance is a little waxy, but most importantly it’s rather flexible, which I shall come back to later. I initially gave it some wafts with the Halford’s Acrylic White Primer. These are literally very light coats, you are not intending to give it as a full coat, just something that the enamel paint can key to. It should be noted that while it’s in it’s primer stage, be careful when touching the lamps as the primer is likely to rub off. Once dry, I carefully brush paint the lamp with Humbrol ‘matt white’.

What makes these lamps a step up from the prototypes, is the lens included with them. These are stuck to a self adhesive tape, and require gently peeling off. Do make sure that the silver/reflective lens shaped paper is attached to the lens. I use the self adhesive residue on the lens to my advantage when attaching to the lamp. I used the edge of the scalpel blade I’d peeled the lens off with, to transport it to the lamp. It slots in relatively easy, make sure it goes into the lamp with the bulbous side facing out. To be sure the lens wouldn’t come adrift, I gave the lens a coat of Klear, to protect everything.


Final stage was weathering, with a dark mucky wash, to just linger into the corners. It’s interesting when you look at photos of real loco lamps that they can vary from very clean, to down right mucky…which must have been an offence I presume?

Overall, these have to be the finest lamps produced in 4mm. I mentioned earlier the downside of the waxy resin, this isn’t so much a negative as it’s not a problem once you have added the top coat. The really positive side of the resin, is the flexibility. Those handles are incredibly fine (and finer prior to painting). The flexible nature of the material, means that even with some intentional rough handling (excuse the pun) that those handles survived being dropped onto my workbench and even the floor. The addition of a lens I think really gives a very nice effect, the reflection differs in lighting in quite a subtle way. The slot for the lamp means no more drilling out holes for the irons to fit and as these are GWR, the slot has been drilled in the correct position. It has also been refined, so that it’s a nice snug fit for etched lamp irons (I use masokits). For those with thicker RTR lamp irons, there will be an option with a hole in the bottom of a second range of lamps.

Modelu are working on producing loco lamps for the big four (and BR) plus tail lamps. This I’m most interested to see, as I’ve been informed you can buy a red lens.

Published by Tom Foster

Musician and Modeller of 4mm

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