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Lighting Vehicles Using LEDs or Bulbs

Image of Matt Lovell. MATT LOVELL explains how to fit a vehicle lighting kit to a diecast truck.


Most layouts have vehicles on them but most just sit there static with no life. With the addition of a Vehicle Lighting Kit any vehicle can be transformed from car just placed on the layout into to a realistic feature which will draw the eye.


In this article I'll be using the GM387 Service Vehicle Lighting Kit. In this kit you will find a battery pack, a 3v battery, a resistor, two orange 0.7mm LEDs, two white 0.7mm LEDs, a flash unit and a 1.2mm drill bit.

I am going to install it into the Oxford Diecast OD76FTB002 Ford Transit Bevertail AA Recovery Truck. You will need the following tools:

  • GM661 Solder Station
  • GM694 Rotary Drill
  • GM695 Small Screwdriver Set
  • 1.2mm Drill Bit (supplied with the kit)
  • MCPCL2400 Helping Hands Set

Vehicle Lighting 01.

I started by removing the top light.

Vehicle Lighting 02.

Remove the cab from the chassis by undoing the screw at the front of the vehicle.

Vehicle Lighting 03.

Next, using the drill bit and rotary drill make a hole in the top of the cab, I recommend making the hole between the two lug-holes. Then remove the cab interior by gently pulling it towards you. This will make it easier to make the hole to pass the wires through.

Vehicle Lighting 05.

Pass the orange LED wires through the hole in the cab and through the hole in the interior. At this point it is a good idea to build the battery pack and solder the resistor on to one the positive legs(outer pins) this will help with testing the LEDs before making any permanent alterations to the model.

Vehicle Lighting 07.

You can now glue the light back on to the cab.

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Vehicle Lighting 08.

You can now start to drill the holes for the head lights. Carefully drill out the head lights so that the light can be emitted through them. Glue the white LEDs behind the holes using suitable superglue.

Vehicle Lighting 16.

Once the LEDs are in place test them individually with the battery box to ensure they are working correctly before screwing the cab back on the chassis. Now all the LEDs are in place you can start to run the wires through the vehicle to the battery box, which can be fitted under the layout baseboard.

Matt tried installing these into his own little car, but it didn't pass the MOT...!

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