Model Railroad News Product Reviews

Woodland Scenics Just Plug Lighting System

Lighting provides realism to any night scene. This view shows the Woodland Scenics Just Plug vehicles working with bright intensity. The Light Hub allows for customization of output to raise or lower brightness of the lights.

Woodland Scenics Just Plug Lighting System


N scaleReview by Dennis H. Murphy/photos by the author

All I can say is, “Wow! Cool!” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me catch you up on why I’m so excited. I was at my friendly “not so local” hobby shop recently just killing time trying to find something to take home with me. As I wandered by the Woodland Scenics display, I told myself that I needn’t bother looking at it — I already owned everything they offer in my rather sizable pile of supplies, or so I thought.

Fortunately, my eyes gave the display a once-over, and something looked a bit different. The Woodland Scenics display had expanded a great deal and included a vast array of new lighting products in several different scales — a whole line of products that I didn’t even know I needed!

Woodland Scenics now offers a variety street lights, wall lights, interior lighting, light hubs, power packs, and at least 16 different vehicles with lights already installed. So, what could I take home that I can have some fun with and, at the same time, keep my wonderful wife happy with the amount I spent? I have it! I’ve always wanted my vehicles to have lights that actually work, and a couple of those in N-Scale with the power pack and light hub should fit into my budget. As I drove home my prize package of really interesting new stuff, I could hardly contain myself as I thought about what these little jewels should look like when lit up.

Woodland Scenics Just PlugOnce at the house, I pulled everything out of the packaging for inspection and found these items to be high-quality products that you would have to be asleep to mess up. The assembly is so easy and simple that even I can’t make a mistake (I think). And the cars are every bit as detailed and exact as fine quality releases from the likes of Classic Metal Works’ MiniMetals.

Woodland Scenics Just Plug

The Light Hub includes a socket for receiving power from the Power Supply unit, as well as ports to send out power to four accessories. Dimmer control pots on the face of the unit allow for variations in light intensity.

Looking at the Light Hub, I was very pleased with the design and construction. What you have is a power-in port, a port for an exterior on/off switch, and four ports for power out to lighting accessories. The LED lights in this product line require so little power that you can attach multiple accessories to the same port.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that these Light Hubs also have an intensity adjustment for each of the outgoing ports. Yes, all the LEDs in this product line are dimmable — very cool!

On the left is the plug assembly Woodland Scenics includes with its Just Plug vehicles. Two small wires lead from the vehicle down through your layout to attach to the plug assembly. The pre-wired truck is shown with the provided wire.

You might be thinking that you have (or want) more lighting than one Light Hub can handle. No problem. Woodland Scenics sells a unit called an Expansion Hub. You can think of these Expansion Hubs as bridges to multiple Light Hubs. You can literally have an unlimited amount of lights if you wish. Well, I’m sure there is an upper limit, but it’s still a bunch of lights.

If there is anything “technical” about installing the lighted vehicles, it’s deciding where you want them to sit in a scene. Once that decision is made, drill a very small hole through the roadway and underlay to run the wires. Woodland Scenics has thought of everything and makes installation super easy. The wires from the cars are thread-thin, and the ends are already stripped of their insulation. Once the wires are through the roadway, simply press the red or black button on the connector and slip in the wires.

If anything can be “messed up” on this installation (and the chances of that happening are pretty slim), it might be during the wiring step. All LED lights are polarity sensitive, so make sure you get the red wires in the red hole and the black wires in the black hole. If you happen to be color blind, ask a friend to help with this because if you get the wires in the wrong hole, you will burn the LEDs out. There it is again…the “voice of experience.” Yep, I’ve burned out a couple of LEDs over the years. On this installation, all the connectors went together perfectly, and everything worked exactly the way they were supposed to the very first time.

With a hole drilled through the layout and wires in place, there is no visible evidence of the electrical connection for Woodland Scenics’ Just Plug vehicle models.

These cars sure come to life with the lights on. Once you have a few cars lighted, you just might find yourself back at your friendly hobby shop looking for more of these little beauties. This new line of lighting products from Woodland Scenics makes the hobby even better! This manufacturer’s quality is always first class. These items look great and perform as expected. If you want to add some pizazz to your layout, then add some lights. Lights are an easy way to add interest and a touch of realism to any scene.

Woodland Scenics Just Plug truck shows off its lighting effects, which include headlights and tail lights. The wire leads are directly below the driver’s seat.

Heavy Hauler
#JP5615, MSRP: $29.99

Station Wagon
#JP5619, MSRP: $29.99

Light Hub
#JP5701, MSRP: $16.99

Power Supply
#JP5770, MSRP: $19.99

Woodland Quality Brands
Woodland Scenics
P.O. Box 98
Linn Creek, MO 65052

MRN November 2017This review appeared in the November 2017 issue of Model Railroad News.

This article was posted on: November 15, 2017