Mechanical Animation and
Lighting Effects for Layouts

This virtual book is dedicated to my good friend Rick Spano,
who inspired my love of animation.

Some modelers have suggested I write a book on the subject. That would be an enormous, costly effort to produce something that might sell five copies. Others have asked for clinics, which is even less practical for a great many reasons. The solution was to create a web resource freely available to everyone.

Here I've gathered every one of my animation projects—over sixty of them—in one place, along with ideas for many more, and tied them all together with core animation concepts to help other modelers create their own effects. I've also summarized my philosophies on the subject as well, if you're interested.

Although nearly all of the projects presented here were done in N Scale, most should be easy to adapt to other scales. Projects range from falling-off-a-log simple to absurdly, mind-bogglingly difficult.


Before getting down to it, here are some fundamentals both to help you understand how my animations work, as well as to provide some groundwork for your own designs.

Animation Fundamentals

Animation Projects

Animation Ideas


Lighting effects constitute a different form of animation. They create the illusion of being animated by means of dynamics—that is, changes in state over time. The projects range from simple to complex to esoteric.

Lighting Fundamentals

Dynamic Lighting Projects


Return to David's Modeling Journey

Copyright © 2021-2022 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved