Title:
HEADLAMP-EQUIPPED MODEL AND HEADLAMP LIGHT-GUIDING MECHANISM THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A new model representation technique is provided, providing a realistic feeling to the color tone at the time of lights-out as that of the actual one, while keeping lighting properties of a headlamp-equipped model.

A rear light-guiding unit 8c guides light emitted from an illuminator 7b provided near the unit itself according to its shape. A front light-guiding unit 8d has a facing surface that faces the rear light-guiding unit 8c and a tip-end face 8a exposed when inserted in a through hole, and a linear shape is formed between these surfaces. A half mirror 8b is interposed between the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d.




Inventors:
Kumegawa, Masamitsu (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/448883
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
01/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
362/341
International Classes:
A63H19/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BALDORI, JOSEPH B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KANESAKA BERNER AND PARTNERS LLP (2318 Mill Road Suite 1400, ALEXANDRIA, VA, 22314-2848, US)
Claims:
1. A headlamp-equipped model comprising: a model body having a through hole formed at a portion corresponding to a headlamp; an illuminator, controllable its light-emitting state, provided in the model body; a light-guiding mechanism partially inserted in the through hole, guiding light emitted from the illuminator according to its shape, and emitting light from a tip-end face exposed from the through hole toward outside; and a half mirror interposed in the light-guiding mechanism inside of the tip-end face and at a position that can be seen through from the tip-end face.

2. A headlamp-equipped model comprising: a model body having a through hole formed at a portion corresponding to a headlamp; an illuminator, controllable its light-emitting state, provided in the model body; a light-guiding mechanism having a linear inserting portion inserted in the through hole, guiding light emitted from the illuminator according to its shape, and emitting light from a tip-end face exposed from the through hole toward outside; and a half mirror interposed in the linear inserting portion inside of the tip-end face and outside of an inner surface of the model body.

3. A headlamp-equipped model comprising: a model body having a through hole formed at a portion corresponding to a headlamp; an illuminator, controllable its light-emitting state, provided in the model body; a first light-guiding unit provided near the illuminator and guiding light emitted from the illuminator according to its shape; a second light-guiding unit having a facing surface, a tip-end face, and a linear shape between the facing surface and the tip-end face, the facing surface facing the first light-guiding unit, the tip-end face being exposed in case of insertion into the through hole; and a half mirror interposed between the first light-guiding unit and the second light-guiding unit.

4. A headlamp-equipped model comprising: an opening provided at a portion corresponding to a headlamp; an illuminator controllable its light-emitting state; a light-guiding mechanism inserted in the opening, guiding light emitted from the illuminator, and emitting light from a tip-end face exposed from the opening toward outside; a half mirror interposed in the light-guiding mechanism inside of the tip-end face and at a position that can be seen through from the tip-end face; and a light-shielding means interrupting incidence of external light onto a rear surface side of the half mirror except external light incident from the opening via the half mirror.

5. A headlamp-equipped model comprising: an opening provided at a portion corresponding to a headlamp; an illuminator controllable its light-emitting state; a light-guiding mechanism inserted in the opening, guiding light emitted from the illuminator, and emitting light from a tip-end face exposed from the opening toward outside; and a half mirror interposed in the light-guiding mechanism inside of the tip-end face and at a position that can be seen through from the tip-end face, wherein the half mirror has a non-planar shape in which a depth from the tip-end face is successively varied.

6. A headlamp-equipped model comprising: an opening provided at a portion corresponding to a headlamp; an illuminator controllable its light-emitting state; a half mirror provided at a position that can be seen through from the opening; a first light-guiding unit guiding light emitted from the illuminator to a rear surface side of the half mirror; and a second light-guiding unit provided on a front surface side of the half mirror at the opening, wherein the first light-guiding unit and the second light-guiding unit are integrated together by fitting mutually-fittable non-planar portions in each other, with the half mirror being interposed therebetween.

7. A headlamp light-guiding mechanism for a headlamp-equipped model that lights a headlamp with light emitted from an illuminator, the mechanism comprising: a first light-guiding unit guiding light emitted from the illuminator according to its shape; a second light-guiding unit having a facing surface, a tip-end face, and a linear shape between the facing surface and the tip-end face, the facing surface facing the first light-guiding unit, the tip-end face exposed when inserted in a through hole formed at a portion corresponding to the headlamp in the headlamp-equipped model; and a half mirror interposed between the first light-guiding unit and the second light-guiding unit.

8. A headlamp light-guiding mechanism for a headlamp-equipped model that lights a headlamp with light emitted from an illuminator, the mechanism comprising: a half mirror; a first light-guiding unit guiding light emitted from the illuminator to a rear surface side of the half mirror; and a second light-guiding unit provided on a front surface side of the half mirror at an opening provided at a portion corresponding to the headlamp in the headlamp-equipped model, wherein the first light-guiding unit and the second light-guiding unit are integrated together by fitting mutually-fittable non-planar portions in each other, with the half mirror being interposed therebetween.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a headlamp-equipped model and headlamp light-guiding mechanism thereof and, in particular, to an improvement in color tone of lighting headlamps at the time of lights-out.

BACKGROUND ART

For model trains, there are a variety of standards, such as N gauge, HO gauge, and O gauge, according to the difference in spacing (gauge) between right and left rails. In recent years, the level of reality (reproducibility of an actual car) achieved particularly with the N gauge has been amazingly improved. Among others, the advent of a coupler called TN coupler (registered trademark) is absolutely sensational. Having a realistic appearance as that of the actual car, this coupler is excellent, capable of coupling and releasing vehicles and also sufficiently resisting pulling load with a square coupling surface whose side length is only several millimeters at the time of pulling a train. Formerly, an extremely toy-like, approximately C-shaped coupler called Arnold coupler was commonly used, thus, it is no exaggeration to state that the advent of the TN coupler just “astonished” the users at that time. In retrospect, the TN coupler seems to be the very thing that pioneered the recent making-it-realistic trend. As an aside, the inventor started playing with N-gauge models at around elementary school age and sealed them off in corrugated cardboard boxes when becoming a college student, but when encountering the TN coupler, the inventor opened these boxes, which had been sleeping deep inside the closet, to be back to this model world (grinning). Returning from this digression, improvements for making it realistic are too numerous to enumerate, producing various devices other than the couplers, such as fusees and ventilators, as separate parts, miniaturization of under-floor devices, the advent of the retractable, extendable, close-coupling TN coupler for the Shinkansen (such as 400 series and E2 series), and so on. In recent years, with even the front handrails and releasing levers of locomotives being separately produced as line parts, things are assuming just an Otaku (nerdish) aspect.

As such, while the level of reality achieved with the N gauge has been definitely improved, a toy-like portion still remains, which is “absolutely intolerable” from a personal and subjective point of view of the inventor. Such a portion is the color tone of lighting headlamps at the time of lights-out. If modeled according to an actual car, the headlamps must look whitish silver even at the time of lights-out but, unfortunately, they look coal-black in the model. For example, as can be seen from a photograph of an actual 455-series (475-series) train in Non-Patent Document 1, p. 140, the headlamps of the actual car at the time of lights-out look whitish silver. This is because, as evident from a light-source system of a headlamp for automobiles (an integrated structure of a lamp and a curved reflector plate) disclosed in Patent Documents 5 and 6, external light specularly reflected in the headlamp is incident onto human eyes via a front glass. By contrast, in the case of the model, as can be seen from a photograph of a model at the time of lights-out in Non-Patent Document 1, the same page as above, the headlamps look coal-black, say, in a state of “black eyes”. In a small model, such as that of the N gauge, it is difficult to adopt an optical structure similar to that of the actual system using a reflector plate for reasons of size, cost, productivity, and so on, and a simple structure is adopted in which light emitted from a built-in illuminator (such as a midget light bulb or LED, most of which do not include a reflector plate) is guided by a light-guiding member. In this structure, most of portions of the light-guiding member are often light-shielded except a tip-end face exposed to the outside so as to prevent undesired leakage of light from the optical system. Light-shielding techniques include a technique of disposing a light-guiding member in a space light-shielded by a light-shielding wall and a technique of light-shielding by applying black or silver color to the surroundings of the light-guiding member. In any technique, however, external light is hardly incident onto the light-guiding member, and therefore the light-guiding member looks blackish when viewed from the outside. Domestic N-gauge vehicle products in Japan are now in mass production by many manufactures including Sekisui Kinzoku Co., Ltd. (KATO), TOMYTEC (TOMIX), Microace, Greenmax Corporation, and MODEMO. The black-eye phenomenon at the time of lights-out is common to all commercially-available products, but has not been mitigated at all up to now.

Here, background arts known to the inventor at this moment and thought to relate to the present invention and are listed below. First, in Patent Document 1, a marker lamp device for small model trains envisioned for a railway model equipped with headlamps and marker lamps is disclosed. In this device, front and rear portions of a vehicle are produced as separate parts from a vehicle body, and are molded with a transparent material, such as acrylic resin. Inside of these parts, midget light bulbs serving as light sources of headlamps or marker lamps are accommodated. The surface of the parts exposed to the outside are covered with a coating film, such as non-conductor plating, silver coating, or train-body's exterior color, except a lens portion of the headlamps or marker lamps. Next, in Patent Document 2, a light for toy automobiles is disclosed that achieves external luster as if a light source emits light without using any light source. An opening at the front of the light is provided with a curved colored transparent plate, whilst its rear has a diffusion plate disposed thereat. External light transmitting through the curved colored transparent plate is reflected on the diffusion plate to be output to the outside via the colored transparent plate. With this, when viewed from the outside, the light looks as if it takes on luster with this diffused emission light. Also, in Patent Document 3, a hand mirror toy is disclosed in which a picture, character, or the like suddenly appears on a mirror surface. This hand mirror toy has incorporated therein a light-emitting panel body that produces uniform surface light emission, and a mirror surface exposed to the outside is formed with a half-mirror layer. Between the illuminator panel and the half-mirror layer, a film member is provided on which display contents, such as pictures and characters, are printed. At the time of lights-out of the light-emitting panel body, with reflection of external light by the half-mirror layer itself, the hand mirror toy functions as a sheer hand mirror. On the other hand, at the time of lighting of the illuminator panel body, light emitted from the internal light-emitting panel body partially passes the film member according to the printed display contents to be output to the outside via the half-mirror layer. With this, the display contents projected onto the mirror surface can be viewed from the outside. Furthermore, in Patent Document 4, a sparking toy is disclosed that represents color on front and rear lights by friction between a file ring and a flint.

On the other hand, although belonging to a technical field different from that of model toys, a head lamp for automobiles is disclosed in Patent Documents 5 and 6, having a plurality of light-source systems each formed of a lamp and a reflector plate (reflector mirror), and a half mirror. Specifically, in Patent Document 5, a structure is disclosed in which a headlamp light-source system and a fog-lamp light-source system are integrally formed. The fog-lamp light-source system is provided at the rear of a large reflector plate included in the headlamp light-source system. Here, a window is formed at a portion that is a part of the large reflector plate and corresponds to the front of the fog-lamp light-source system, and this window is provided with the half mirror. With this, light emitted from the fog-lamp light-source system is radiated toward the outside via the window-shaped half mirror without being interrupted by the large reflector plate at the front. As a result, the fog-lamp light-source system can be incorporated in the headlamp without impairing the original functions as the headlamp or being subjected to constraints in mounting space of the vehicle body. Also, in Patent Document 6, a structure with a main light-source system and two sub-light-source systems is disclosed so as to improve viewability for pedestrians and others at nighttime. The main light-source system is disposed at the center of a front-surface opening of a lamp body, with the sub-light-source systems disposed on right and left thereof. Around a projection lens that projects light emitted from the main light-source system, a half mirror is provided flush therewith. At the rear of this half mirror, the sub-light-source systems are positioned. With this, the entire front opening of the lamp body can be brightened without impairing the appearance, thereby preventing drivers of the preceding vehicles and pedestrians from having an optical illusion of the subsequent vehicle.

In these Patent Documents 5 and 6, as general common sense regarding the actual headlamps, the reflector plate is an indispensable component member in each light-source system, and adding a half mirror when combining a plurality of light-source systems together is merely within the range of the general common sense. That is, these patent documents do not disclose or suggest a model representation technique of achieving quasi-representation of a lights-out color with a simple structure without inhibiting lighting properties in a model where the structure similar to the actual one is difficult to take.

[Patent Document 1]

Japanese Utility-Model Laid-Open Publication No. 57-5291

[Patent Document 2]

Japanese Utility-Model Publication No. 39-1780

[Patent Document 3]

Japanese Utility-Model Registration No. 3078475

[Patent Document 4]

Japanese Utility-Model Publication No. 29-3826

[Patent Document 5]

Japanese Utility-Model Laid-Open Publication No. 61-145401

[Patent Document 6]

Japanese Patent Laid-Open Publication No. 2-192602

[Non-Patent Document 1]

“TOMIX CATALOG 2004-2005 (TOMIX GENERAL CATALOG 7027)” published by Tomy Co., Ltd.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

Problems to be Solved by the Invention

It is needless to say that the whole balance is important to the reality of the model. Therefore, it is a very natural users' sentiment that, as the level of reality of one portion is improved, the reality of another portion which users have not been concerned about so far becomes a matter of concern. Conventionally, the color tone of the headlamps at the time of lights-out has been half-allowed almost without presenting a problem, because other concerned portions have remained. However, now the level of reality of the N gauge has been improved that much, in consideration of the whole model balance, the inventor believes that potential needs for improvements in color tone should be extremely high. With this belief, the inventor has worked with this problem for approximately two years besides his regular job and, through difficulties almost beyond descriptions, finally found a revolutionary and practical solution.

The present invention has been devised in view of these circumstances, and an object thereof is to provide a new model representation technique of providing a realistic feeling to the color tone at the time of lights-out as that of the actual one, while keeping lighting properties of a headlamp-equipped model.

Means for Solving Problem

To be solved the above mentioned problem, a first invention provides a headlamp-equipped model having a model body, an illuminator, a light-guiding mechanism, and a half mirror. The model body has a through hole formed at a portion corresponding to a headlamp. The illuminator is provided in the model body and a light-emitting state of the illuminator is controllable. The light-guiding mechanism is partially inserted in the through hole. The light-guiding mechanism guides light emitted from the illuminator according to its shape, and emits light from a tip-end face exposed from the through hole toward outside. The half mirror is interposed in the light-guiding mechanism inside of the tip-end face and at a position that can be seen through from the tip-end face. Additionally, the light-guiding mechanism and the half mirror may take either form of being integrated as one part, or being made as separate parts and then mounted separately on the model body.

A second invention provides a headlamp-equipped model having an opening provided at a portion corresponding to a headlamp, an illuminator controllable its light-emitting state, a light-guiding mechanism, a half mirror, and a light-shielding means. The light-guiding mechanism is inserted in the opening, guides light emitted from the illuminator, and emits light from a tip-end face exposed from the opening toward outside. The half mirror is interposed in the light-guiding mechanism inside of the tip-end face and at a position that can be seen through from the tip-end face. The light-shielding means interrupts incidence of external light onto a rear surface side of the half mirror except external light incident from the opening via the half mirror.

A third invention provides a headlamp-equipped model having an opening provided at a portion corresponding to a headlamp, an illuminator controllable its light-emitting state, a light-guiding mechanism, and a half mirror. The light-guiding mechanism is inserted in the opening, guides light emitted from the illuminator, and emits light from a tip-end face exposed from the opening toward outside. The half mirror is interposed in the light-guiding mechanism inside of the tip-end face and at a position that can be seen through from the tip-end face. The half mirror has a non-planar shape in which a depth from the tip-end face is successively varied.

A fourth invention provides a headlamp-equipped model having an opening provided at a portion corresponding to a headlamp, an illuminator controllable its light-emitting state, a half mirror provided at a position that can be seen through from the opening, a first light-guiding unit guiding light emitted from the illuminator to a rear surface side of the half mirror, and a second light-guiding unit provided on a front surface side of the half mirror at the opening. The first light-guiding unit and the second light-guiding unit are integrated together by fitting mutually-fittable non-planar portions in each other, with the half mirror being interposed therebetween.

A fifth invention provides a headlamp light-guiding mechanism for a headlamp-equipped model that lights a headlamp with light emitted from an illuminator. This mechanism has a half mirror, a first light-guiding unit guiding light emitted from the illuminator to a rear surface side of the half mirror, and a second light-guiding unit provided on a front surface side of the half mirror at an opening provided at a portion corresponding to the headlamp in the headlamp-equipped model. The first light-guiding unit and the second light-guiding unit are integrated together by fitting mutually-fittable non-planar portions in each other, with the half mirror being interposed therebetween.

EFFECTS OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention, external light incident from the tip-end face is reflected on the surface of the half mirror. Then, from the tip-end face, this reflected light is emitted to the outside. Therefore, when the headlamps in a lights-out state are viewed from the outside, the metal color of the half mirror itself and the clear hue of the light-guiding mechanism are combined together to cause the headlamps to look whitish silver, thereby representing a fully realistic color tone. Also, with the semi-transparency of the half mirror, light emitted from the illuminator passes through the half mirror at a predetermined transmittance, thereby ensuring a practically non-obstructive level of lighting properties (light amount). With this, the lighting properties of the headlamps and the reality of the color tone at the time of lights-out can be both achieved, thereby allowing an increase in power of product appeal of the headlamp-equipped models.

According to a second aspect of the invention, the incidence of external light onto a rear surface side of the half mirror is interrupted by a light-shielding means (interruption includes both of complete light shielding and partial interruption). With this, compared with the case of no light-shielding at all, the difference in amount of light incident onto the front and rear of the half mirror is large. And, at the time of lights-out of the illuminator, the amount of light incident onto the front surface side of the half mirror is larger than the amount of light incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror. As a result, external light specularly reflected in the half mirror is mainly viewed, thus, with the color tone of the half mirror and the clear hue of the light-guiding unit positioned therebefore combined together, the lamps look shiny as the actual car. The actual lights-out color tone is created by specular reflection of external light and the clear hue of the front glass (internal diffusion). According to the first aspect of the invention, by adopting an optical mechanism (specular reflection and diffusion) similar to that of the actual headlamps, a fully-realistic lights-out color can be represented. On the other hand, at the time of lighting of the illuminator, the amount of light incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror is larger than the amount of light incident onto the front surface side of the half mirror. With this, among the light emitted from the illuminator, light passing through the half mirror is mainly viewed, thereby ensuring a practically non-obstructive level of lighting properties (light amount). By using this model representation technique, the lighting properties of the headlamps and the reality of the color tone at the time of lights-out can be both achieved with a high dimension, thereby allowing an increase in power of product appeal of the headlamp-equipped models.

According to a third aspect of the invention, by using a non-planar half mirror, external light incident from the tip-end face is non-uniformly reflected. Therefore, gradations similar to the actual ones occur to the lights-out color tone, thereby further increasing the reality as the model representation technique.

According to a fourth or fifth aspect of the invention, the first and second light-guiding units are integrated together with the half mirror interposed therebetween. This integration is performed by making fittable non-planar portions fit in each other. This can ensure the strength at the time of integration, and also facilitate registration of the parts at the time of integration, thereby allowing an increase in productivity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an external perspective view of a rolling stock model.

FIG. 2 is a view of mounting a lighting unit on a model body.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the lighting unit.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a headlamp light-guiding member.

FIG. 5 is a diagram for explaining an optical mechanism of the headlamp light-guiding member at the time of lights-out.

FIG. 6 is a diagram for explaining the optical mechanism of the headlamp light-guiding member at the time of lighting.

FIG. 7 is a diagram of the headlamp light-guiding member inserted in a through hole.

FIG. 8 is a diagram of a protruding portion provided to the headlamp light-guiding member.

FIG. 9 is a diagram for explaining a multi-stage sandwich structure.

FIG. 10 is a diagram for explaining a cap-bonding-type sandwich structure.

FIG. 11 is a diagram for explaining a headlamp light-guiding member using a non-planar half mirror.

FIG. 12 is a photograph for comparison where rolling stock models in a lights-out state are placed.

FIG. 13 is a photograph for comparison where rolling stock models in a lighting state are placed.

FIG. 14 is a table presenting subjective performances of comparison examples and an embodiment through visual observations.

DESCRIPTION OF THE NUMERALS

  • 1 rolling stock model
  • 2 model body
  • 3 headlamp
  • 4 tail lamp
  • 5 screw
  • 6 carriage
  • 7 lighting unit
  • 7a printed board
  • 7b illuminator
  • 7c contact spring
  • 7d lower case
  • 7e upper case
  • 7f front case
  • 8 headlamp light-guiding member
  • 8a tip-end face
  • 8b half mirror
  • 8c rear light-guiding unit
  • 8d front light-guiding unit
  • 8e facing surface
  • 8f engagement portion
  • 9 tail-lamp light-guiding member

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is an external perspective view of a rolling stock model. This rolling stock model 1 is made by modeling a 165-series express-type train of JR (former Japanese National Railways), specifically, its head car (to be exact, control car) Kuha 165 or Kumoha 165, and is commercialized by TOMYTEC as HG (high-grade) specifications. The 165 series including its derivative series is a popular vehicle type widely used in direct-current electrified lines nationwide (in particular, the island of Honshu), and is commercialized also by Sekisui Kinzoku Co., Ltd. and Microace. Again as an aside, the inventor took a local train operated by the 165 series (or might it still be 153 series at that time?) and bound for Ogaki several times when the inventor was a high school student to take photographs of trains of the Iida line, which used to be called a museum of former Japanese National Railways. With such an obsession at that time, the 165 series is a great favorite with the inventor personally.

Meanwhile, two illuminators, specifically, midget light bulbs or LEDs, are provided inside of a model body 2. These illuminators can control the lighting state (lighting/lights-out) by a current supplied from the outside. At an approximately center of the front surface of the model body 2, headlamps 3 (headlights) are provided on right and left. Specifically, a portion corresponding to the headlamps 3 in the model body 2 has a shape that protrudes forward in a column shape, and a through hole (opening) penetrating inside to outside is formed therein. In this through hole, a part of a transparent or semi-transparent light-guiding member made mainly of plastic or acrylic is inserted. On the other hand, on the lower side of the front surface of the model body 2, tail lamps 4 (tail lights) are provided on right and left. The structure of the tail lamps 4 in the model is basically similar to that of the head lamps 3. However, due to a concern of lighting the tail lamps 4 separately from the headlamps 3, transparent red light-guiding members are separately used and, as their light sources, illuminators different from those for the headlamps 3 are used. On the bottom portion of the model body 2, a carriage 6 is mounted with a screw 5. An electric current supplied to the rails is supplied to the illuminators incorporated in the model body 2 via metal wheels, a current-collecting spring, or the like included in the carriage 6.

As depicted in FIG. 2, a lighting unit 7 is mounted on the model body 2. This lighting unit 7 has two illuminators, a headlamp light-guiding member, a tail-lamp light guiding member, and others integrated together therein, and these members are accommodated in a light-shielding case so as to prevent leakage of light from an optical system including these members. With this, the optical system is light-shielded except for external light incident from the front via a tip-end face of the headlamp light-guiding member and a tip-end face of the tail-lamp light-guiding member. Note that a technique other than this technique of arrangement in a light-shielded space can be used as a light-shielding technique for the headlamp light-guiding member and other members, such as a technique of coloring the surroundings of the light-guiding members with paint (non-transparent) or a technique of coating the surroundings of the light-guiding members with a non-transparent member.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the lighting unit 7. On the upper surface of a printed board 7a, an illuminator 7b to light the headlamps 3 is mounted, and an illuminator (not shown) to light the tail lamps 4 is mounted on the lower surface. Also, a contact spring 7c mounted on the lower surface of the printed board 7a is electrically connected to metal wheel of the carriage 6 via another conductive member not shown. With the contact spring 7c inserted in an opening of a lower case 7d, the printed board 7a is placed on the lower case 7d. Above the lower case 7d, an upper case 7e is mounted. At the front thereof, a front case 7f is mounted. The illuminators above and below the printed board 7a are optically separated from each other by the printed board 7a itself serving as a light-shielding wall. On the front case 7f, a headlamp light-guiding member 8 and a tail-lamp light-guiding member 9 are mounted. The headlamp light-guiding member 8 guides light emitted from the illuminator 7b to a headlamp portion of the model body 2, emitting light toward the outside from the tip-end face exposed from the through hole corresponding to an opening. Also, the tail-lamp light-guiding member 9 guides light emitted from the illuminator different from the illuminator 7b to a tail-lamp portion of the model body 2, emitting light toward the outside from the tip-end face exposed from its through hole. These light-guiding members 8 and 9 are optically separated from each other by a wall portion formed in the front case 7f, thereby preventing leakage of light from occurring between these members.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the headlamp light-guiding member 8. A feature of this headlamp light-guiding member 8 is that a half mirror 8b having special optical characteristics is inserted in an interposed manner. This half mirror 8b is interposed in the light-guiding member 8 on an inner side of a tip-end face 8a and at a position that can be viewed by the user from this tip-end face 8a (opening). Specifically, the headlamp light-guiding member 8 is formed of the half mirrors 8b, a rear light-guiding unit 8c disposed at the rear (on a rear surface side) of each of the half mirrors 8b, and a front light-guiding portion 8d disposed at the front (on a front surface side) thereof.

The rear light-guiding unit Bc is a member made of transparent plastic in an approximately C shape, and has a portion extending in a lateral direction of the model body 2 and portions protruding from right and left toward the front. And, at each of the ends of these protruding portions, a column-like protruding portion is formed. This protruding portion has an outer diameter approximately equal to an inner diameter of the through hole of the headlamp 3, and is inserted in this through hole. On the other hand, the front light-guiding member 8d is a column member made of transparent plastic having the same outer diameter as that of the protruding portion, and is inserted in the through hole of the headlamp 3. With the front light-guiding member 8d inserted in the through hole of the headlamp 3, the tip-end face 8a of the front light-guiding member 8d is exposed from the through hole. This tip-end face 8a functions as an emitting surface from which light emitted from the illuminator 7b is emitted to the outside at the time of lighting and as an incidence plane where external light is incident at the time of lights-out. Note that the headlamp light-guiding member 8 depicted in the drawing has diagonal notches and beveling of corners. The reason for forming these is that light emitted from the illuminator 7b is reflected on the surface of the relevant portion toward a predetermined direction to efficiently guide the light to the tip-end face 8a.

Between the rear light-guiding unit 8c and the front light-guiding unit 8d, the half mirror 8b cut out so as to have the same diameter as that of the front light-guiding unit 8d is inserted in an interposed manner. This half mirror 8b has a silver metallic luster, and can be obtained by, for example, attaching metal evaporated by vacuum deposition onto the surface of the material. The half mirror 8b has the following two characteristics, and which characteristic becomes main (predominant) depends on a relation in magnitude between the amount of light incident onto a front surface side of the half mirror 8b and the amount of light incident onto a rear surface side thereof.

(1) Specular Reflection Characteristic (Mirror Characteristic)

This is a characteristic of specularly reflecting light incident onto the surface of the half mirror 8b. This property is a factor of influencing the color of the headlamps 3 at the time of lights-out. Those mainly made of aluminum or silver are available at ease.

(2) Half-Transparent Characteristic (Half Characteristic)

This is a characteristic of passing part of light (visible light) and interrupting the others. This characteristic is represented as transmittance (visible-light transmittance), and is a factor of influencing the lighting performance of the headlight 3, specifically, the light amount. When the transmittance is too low (for example, equal to or lower than 10%), the light amount at the time of lighting significantly reduces to impair the lighting property of the headlamp 3. On the other hand, when the transmittance is too high (for example, equal to or higher than 90%), a sufficient light amount can be ensured, but the reflectivity of the mirror surface reduces to make it difficult to reproduce the color tone at the time of lights-out. Therefore, in comparison and consideration of these contradictory points, a material with an appropriate transmittance (for example, on the order of 10-odd % to 50%) should be selected.

When the light-guiding units 8c and 8d are formed as separate bodies and then integrated together by bonding them, an entire bonding surface (facing surface) of one of the light-guiding units 8c and 8d has the half mirror 8b directly formed thereon. In this case, only by integrating the light-guiding units 8c and 8d together, the structure of sandwiching the half mirror 8b between the light-guiding units 8c and 8d can be obtained. As a technique of directly forming the half mirror 8b, known hot stamping (stamping press) can used, that is, a printing technology of transferring a half mirror foil (metal vapor-deposition film, such as aluminum) onto the bonding surface of one of them by thermo-compression bonding. Also, the half mirror 8b may be directly formed by using a technique for silver-mirror plating or the like. Although the present invention is not meant to exclude these patterns, in consideration of cost, productivity, and others as a model, it is preferable to adopt the technique of using the half mirror 8b as a film material (metal vapor-deposition film, such as aluminum) and sandwiching this film material with the light-guiding members 8c and 8d. This film material is applied to glass for the purpose of privacy protection for car or room interior or energy saving by light shielding, and is commercially available with a name, such as a mirror film or magic mirror. A product with aluminum vacuum-deposited on a transparent polyester film is relatively inexpensive and easily available, and is therefore preferable. For example, silver-type products released from Mirareed (product models: KM-211 or XM-11, XM-61, XM-71) can be used. Similar films are sold by corporations, such as IKC and E-Revolution. Note that the light-guiding units 8c and 8d and the half mirror 8b may take either form of being integrated in advance as one part or being made as separate parts and then mounted separately on the model body 2.

Next, with reference to FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, an optical mechanism of the headlamp light-guiding member 8 is described. Note that these drawings schematically depict optical routes (optical paths) of light traveling through the light-guiding member 8 and, in practice, the optical paths can be more complex due to reflection on a reflection surface formed by notches and beveling in the light-guiding member 8, diffusion in the light-guiding member 8, and other factors. Also, in the drawings, the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d and the half mirror 8b forming the light-guiding member 8 are depicted as being separated from each other, but this is merely for convenience of description, and the form in which these members 8b to 9d are in intimate contact with each other is not meant to be excluded (as a matter of course, these may be separated from each other).

FIG. 5 is a diagram for explaining the optical mechanism of the headlamp light-guiding member 8 at the time of lights-out. At the time of lights-out of the illuminator 7b, light is not incident onto the light-guiding units 8c and 8d, expect external light incident from the front via the tip-end face 8a. The external light incident from the front is guided according to the linear light-guiding shape between the tip-end face 8a and a facing surface 8e facing the rear light-guiding unit 8c, and is incident on the front surface side of the half mirror 8b. Of this incident light, light with a transmittance corresponding to the half mirror 8b passes the rear light-guiding unit 8c, but most of other light is specularly reflected to be back while diffusing in the linear light-guiding shape to be emitted from the tip-end face 8a to the outside. At this time, incidence of external light on the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b, that is, the rear light-guiding unit 8c, is interrupted (including both of complete light shielding and partial light shielding), and therefore light incident on the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b hardly exists. Therefore, the amount of light incident onto the front surface side of the half mirror 8b is significantly larger than the amount of light incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b. As a result, when viewed from the outside, external light specularly reflected on the half mirror 8b is mainly viewed and, with the metal color of the half mirror 8b itself and the clear hue of the front light-guiding unit 8d positioned therebefore combined together, the lamps look shiny with whitish silver, thereby reproducing a fully-realistic color similar to that of the headlamps of the actual car.

FIG. 6 is a diagram for explaining the optical mechanism of the headlamp light-guiding member 8 at the time of lighting. At the time of lighting of the illuminator 7b, light emitted from the illuminator 7b is incident onto the rear light-guiding unit 8c provided near the illuminator 7b, is guided according to the shape of the rear light-guiding unit 8c, and is then incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b. Among the light incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b, light corresponding to its transmittance passes the half mirror 8b. Then, the light incident onto the facing surface 8e of the front light-guiding unit 8d is guided toward the front while diffusing according to the linear light-guiding shape of the front light-guiding unit 8d, and is emitted to the outside from the tip-end face 8a. In this case, as for the amount of light incident onto the front and rear of the half mirror 8b, the amount of light emitted from the illuminator 7b incident from the rear is larger than the amount of external light incident from the front. As a result, the transmission light becomes main (predominant) over the reflection light of the half mirror 8b, the light transmitting through the half mirror 8b among the light emitted from the illuminator 7b is mainly viewed, thereby allowing the lighting of the head lamp 3 to be confirmed. Note that, since the original light amount itself of the illuminator 7b is considerably large, even with interposition of the half mirror 8b, a practically non-obstructive level of light amount (radiation amount) can be ensured.

FIG. 7 is a diagram of the headlamp light-guiding member 8 inserted in the through hole of the headlamp portion of the car body 2. A reference b depicted in the drawing denotes a linear insertion portion that is part of this light-guiding member 8 and is inserted in the through hole. Also, a reference c denotes an inner plane of the model body 2. Regarding the arrangement of the half mirror 8b interposed in the light-guiding member 8, (1) “the position should be able to be seen through from the tip-end face 8a when viewed from the outside (in other words, the position should be present approximately at a position on a straight line from the tip-end face 8a)” is required. If the reflection surface of the half mirror 8b is not seen through from the outside, the metal color of the reflection surface cannot be viewed in the first place. Therefore, for example, even if the half mirror 8b is interposed at a position a that cannot be seen through from the tip-end face 8a, an effect of improving the color cannot be achieved. Also, to ensure color reality, it is important that the position of the half mirror 8b should be (2) “inside of the tip-end face 8a”. When the half mirror 8b is provided not on the inside of the tip-end face 8a but on the tip-end face 8a itself, the very metal color of the half mirror 8b is viewed, the color (simply solid metal color) is far away from the color similar to that of the actual car. Only with the presence of a clear member (part of the light-guiding member 8) on the front surface of the half mirror 8b, the realistic color similar to that of the actual car can be reproduced. Note that, although the lightness is improved when the half mirror 8b is close to the tip-end face 8a, but if it is too close, the metal color of the half mirror 8b becomes too evident. Conversely, if it is too far away from the tip-end face 8a, external light is difficult to be incident onto the front surface of the half mirror 8b, thereby causing darkening. Therefore, it is important to appropriately set the place of arranging the half mirror 8b in consideration of the opening area and depth of the through hole and others.

Also, in consideration of strength of the material, stability after mounting, and others, in addition to the requirements (1) and (2) described above, (3) “outside of the inner plane c of the model body 2” is preferable. Here, consider the form in which the headlamp light-guiding member 8 is made as one part. When an external force d is applied to this integrated light-guiding member 8, the load (stress) concentrates on a portion corresponding to the inner plane c of the model body 2. When the half mirror 8 b is provided outside of the insertion portion b, with this external force d, the light-guiding member 8 tends to be broken at the bonding surface between the half mirror 8b and the transparent plastic member, resulting an increase in probability of a breakage. To bond the half mirror 8b and the plastic member, an adhesive or the like is used, because its bonding strength is weaker than the strength of non-bonded portions. On the other hand, when the half mirror 8b is provided in the inserting portion b outside of the inner plane c, with the tubular headlamp portion present around the inserting portion b functioning as a reinforcing member, the strength is higher compared with the former case, thereby allowing a breakage of the light-guiding member 8 to be effectively prevented.

As depicted in FIG. 5, consider the form in which the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d and the half mirror 8b are made as three parts and these are then individually mounted on the model body 2. In this case, either of the following two assembling procedures is adopted.

(Assembling Procedure 1)

First, the front light-guiding unit 8d is inserted in the front of the though hole to be fixed by using an adhesive or the like. In this state, the half mirror 8b is inserted in the through hole. Then, part of the rear light-guiding unit 8c is inserted in the through hole from the rear. The rear light-guiding unit 8c itself is fixed to the model body 2 via the lighting unit 7. Therefore, the half mirror 8b in the through hole is interposed (sandwiched) between the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d, and is fixed in the through hole without falling, thereby ensuring mounting stability of the members after mounting.

(Assembling Procedure 2)

First, part of the rear light-guiding unit 8c is inserted in the through hole from the rear. In this state, the half mirror 8b is inserted in the through hole from the front. Then, the front light-guiding unit 8d is inserted in the through hole from the front to be fixed by using an adhesive and the like. As with the case of the assembling procedure 1, the half mirror 8b in the through hole is interposed (sandwiched) between the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d, and is fixed in the through hole without falling, thereby ensuring mounting stability of the members after mounting.

Note that, only in the case of adopting the assembling procedure 1, as depicted in FIG. 8, if the inner diameter of part (rear) of the through hole is slightly expanded and an engaging portion 8f formed on the outer perimeter of the rear end of the front light-guiding unit 8d is engaged in this diameter-expanded portion, the front light-guiding unit 8d can be fixed without using an adhesive. As a result, an improvement in productivity can be achieved.

Next, the form is described in which individual members forming the headlamp light-guiding member 8 are integrated together as one part. When the headlamp light-guiding member 8 is made as one part, it is required to consider the ensuring of the strength when integrated and productivity (for example, registration of individual parts). These problems can be solved by using a multi-color molding method (a technique of molding a component in a subsequent step by again setting a previously-molded component in a metal mold for the component in the subsequent step) as described in a model railway magazine “RM MODELS 143 (2007-7)”, P. 23, published by Neko Publishing. Alternatively, in place of this, the problems can be solved by forming portions each with a mutually-fittable, three-dimensional shape (non-planar) on the respective front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d and fitting these portions in each other. In this case, the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d are integrated together (made as one part), with the half mirror 8b interposed therebetween (sandwich structure). For integration, a known bonding technique can be used as appropriate, such as with an adhesive or an engaging nail. In the following, a specific example of structure is depicted regarding the headlamp light-guiding member 8 made as one part.

FIG. 9 is a diagram for explaining a multi-stage sandwich structure. This type is formed of four parts, that is, the front and rear light-guiding members 8c and 8d and two half mirrors 8b and 8g. At a predetermined portion of the rear light-guiding unit 8c, specifically, at the center of a facing surface facing the front light-guiding unit 8d, a convex portion 8h is provided, protruding in a column shape. On the other hand, at the center of the facing surface of the front light-guiding unit 8d, a concave portion 8i is provided, being depressed in a column shape. These concave and convex portions 8h and 8i can fit in each other and, in a fit state, a center axis X of the front light-guiding unit 8d and that of the rear light-guiding unit 8c match each other. The half mirror 8b has a circular shape with a diameter approximately the same as that of the concave portion 8i, and is accommodated at the bottom portion of the concave portion 8i. On the other hand, the half mirror 8g has a ring shape with an opening whose diameter is approximately the same as that of the convex portion 8h, and is fit in the convex portion 8h. To integrate the respective parts together, firstly, the ring-shaped half mirror 8g fits in the convex portion 8h of the rear light-guiding unit 8c, and also the circular-shaped half mirror 8b is accommodated in the bottom portion of the concave portion 8i of the front light-guiding unit 8d. Then, with this state being kept, registration is performed so that the center axes X of the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d match each other, and then these units are bonded together with an adhesive or the like. With this, the headlamp light-guiding member 8 with a multi-stage sandwich structure in which the half mirrors 8b and 8g are formed in two steps can be obtained.

In this structure, the step boundary between the half mirrors 8b and 8g may be conspicuous. If this step is lowered, the step boundary can be inconspicuous, but the bonding strength between the concave and convex portions 8h and 8i is decreased. Therefore, it is important to appropriately set the step height through prototyping for samples and simulations to allow both of the viewing quality and the bonding strength to be achieved. Here, to make the step boundary inconspicuous, it will be effective to round corners of the concave and convex portions 8h and 8i or whiten the surfaces of the concave and convex portions 8h and 8i with water-proof paper, sand paper, or the like. Conversely, on condition that a required bonding strength can be ensured, the diameter of each of the concave and convex portions 8h and 8i can be minimized as possible, thereby taking the step boundary (circular) as a light bulb for the headlamp. Note that the concave and convex portions 8h and 8i on the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d may be reversely formed.

FIG. 10 is a diagram for explaining a cap-type sandwich structure. This type can be referred to as a modification of the multi-stage sandwich structure described above, with the convex portion 8h formed to be large. With an increase in diameter of the convex portion 8h, as depicted in the drawing, the ring-shaped half mirror 8g described above is omitted, but this can be used. The front and rear light-guiding members 8c and 8d are engaged each other with an engaging nail 8j.

FIG. 11 is a diagram for explaining the headlamp light-guiding member 8 using a non-planar half mirror. The half mirror 8b depicted in (a) of the drawing has a non-planar shape, which is different from the planar shape described above. With this non-planar shape, a depth D from the tip-end face 8a is successively varied and, in the present embodiment, is gradually increased from the outer perimeter toward the center axis. When this half mirror 8b is formed with, for example, a planar film material, as depicted in (b) of the drawing, the film material is cut out so as to have a shape corresponding to the section of the headlamp light-guiding unit 8 in shape and having its part cut out in a fan shape (a circular shape with a notch). Then, according to the fan-shaped notch, the film member is deformed so as to have a three-dimensional appearance. With this, the half mirror 8b in a funnel shape, that is, a non-planar shape, with the center axis X as a vertex can be formed. When the half mirror 8b is formed in a non-planar shape, external light incident from the tip-end face 8a is non-uniformly reflected with a reflection mechanism more faithful to the actual one. Due to this non-uniform reflection, gradations similar to those of the actual car occurs in the lights-out color tone (successive changes in color tone), thereby further increasing the reality as a model representation technique. Note that, in view of this, the entire half mirror 8b is not necessarily in a non-planar shape, and at least a part thereof can be in a non-planar shape.

According to the present embodiment, in the headlamp light-guiding member 8 light-shielded except external light incident from the tip-end face 8a, the amounts of light incident onto the front and rear of the half mirror 8b are reversed according to the lighting state of the illuminator 7b. That is, at the time of lights-off of the illuminator 7b, the amount of light incident onto the front surface side of the half mirror 8b is larger than the amount of light incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b. With this, even when a reflector plate such as that used in the actual device is not included in the illuminator 7b itself, external light specularly reflected on the half mirror 8b at the front of the illuminator 7b is mainly viewed. The metal color of the half mirror 8b and the clear hue of the light-guiding member 8 positioned at the front are combined together to cause the headlamps to look shiny with whitish silver. The lights-out color tone of the actual headlamps is created by specular reflection of external light and the clear hue of the front glass (internal diffusion). According to the present embodiment, by adopting an optical mechanism (specular reflection and diffusion) similar to that of the actual headlamps, a fully-realistic lights-out color tone can be represented. On the other hand, at the time of lighting of the illuminator 7b, the amount of light incident onto the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b is larger than the amount of light incident onto the front surface side of the half mirror 8b. With this, among the light emitted from the illuminator 7b, light passing through the half mirror 8b is mainly viewed, thereby ensuring a practically non-obstructive level of lighting properties (light amount). In this matter, the present embodiment provides a new model representation technique of achieving quasi-representation of a lights-out color with a simple structure without inhibiting lighting properties in the rolling stock model 1 where the structure similar to the actual one is difficult to take. And, by using this model representation technique, the lighting properties of the headlamps 3 and the reality of the color tone at the time of lights-out can be both achieved, thereby allowing a dramatic increase in power of product appeal of the rolling stock model 1.

Also, as one technique in the present embodiment, when the front and rear light-guiding units 8c and 8d are integrated together with the half mirror 8b interposed therebetween, this integration can be performed by fitting mutually-fittable non-planar portions in each other. With this, the strength when integrated can be ensured, and also registration of the parts when integrated is facilitated, thereby improving productivity.

EXAMPLES

In the following description, the headlamp mechanism according to the embodiment described above is referred to as “KM head” (an abbreviation of “Kiratto (twinkling) Mirror head”) for convenience. FIG. 12 is a photograph for comparison where rolling stock models in a lights-out state are placed. The one on the right side is a prototype equipped with a KM head, while the one on the left side is a normal commercially-available product (conventional product). In this prototype, as the half mirror 8b, KM-211 (a visible-light transmittance of 16%) manufactured by Mirareed is used. The conventional product is in a state of so-called “black eyes”, extremely toy-like. By contrast, the prototype has reality similar to the actual product, and the difference therebetween is obvious.

FIG. 13 is a photograph for comparison where rolling stock models in a lighting state are placed at the time of applying a constant-lighting voltage. The one on the right side is a prototype equipped with a KM head, while the one on the left side is a normal commercially-available product (conventional product). The light amount of the prototype in a constant-lighting state is slightly decreased compared with the conventional product. However, sine the original light amount itself of the commercially-available is considerably large, a practically non-obstructive level of light amount can be ensured even with the prototype. As a personal and subjective opinion of the inventor, the light with a level of light amount of the prototype of headlamps is elegant without glittering, and such a feeling of “dimly” lighting is rather preferable (in particular, as for Enka-like rolling stock (meaning that this is reminiscent of good old Japan), such as 165 series, this “dimly” lighting evokes an irresistible feeling of nostalgia in maniacs).

FIG. 14 is a table presenting subjective performances of comparison examples and an embodiment (KM head) through visual observations. Details on processing in comparison examples A to C are as follows.

Comparison Example A

The surroundings of the light-guiding member of the conventional product (except the tip-end face) is colored with a paint to silver.

Comparison Example B

The front portion of the light-guiding member of the conventional product is cut out, and the section is whitened with water-proof paper for adhesion.

Comparison Example C

The front portion of the light-guiding member of the conventional product is cut out, and a silver foil (commercially-available aluminum foil) is interposed for adhesion. Note that, since the silver foil itself does not pass light, a thin needle is used to form several small holes on the silver foil.

As shown in the table, the reality at the time of lights-out of the KM head (the present embodiment) is overwhelmingly excellent. The comparison example C is not preferable in that the small holes on the silver foil are darkened to cause unevenness of contrast. By contrast, the KM head is extremely excellent in that, since the half mirror 8b itself has semi-transparency, unevenness of contrast as that of the comparison example C does not occur, thereby ensuring uniformity. On the other hand, as for the light amount at the time of lights-out, aside from the comparison example A, the light amount is insufficient in the comparison example C, and a practically non-obstructive level is achieved in the comparison example B and KM head.

Note that, while the 165-series express-type train has been exemplarily described in the above-described embodiment, the basic structure of the headlamp light-guiding mechanism of the N gauge is the same and, therefore, as a matter of course, the description can be applied to the overall N-gauge cars (such as control cars for trains and motion cars, and locomotives) of other types and other manufacturers. Although the application of the present invention to the N-gauge car, which has product features of being inexpensive and small size, is one of the most preferable examples, the present invention is not meant to be restricted to this and, as a matter of course, can be applied to larger HO-gauge cars and the like. Furthermore, the present invention can be widely applied to automobiles, buses, tracks, special cars, airplanes, ships, and further various models, such as those of robots in animation (restricted to those equipped with a headlamp).

Also, in the above-described embodiment, the sandwich structure also having the rear light-guiding unit 8c in addition to the front light-guiding unit 8d and the half mirror 8b has been described. However, the present invention can be applied even to an embodiment in which the rear surface side of the half mirror 8b is directly radiated with light from the illuminator 7b without using the rear light-guiding unit 8c. An example of this embodiment is an N-gauge steam locomotive (C59) sold by Tenshodo recently. In this model, a small LED chip is incorporated in a housing of a headlamp at the top of a boiler to cause light from the LED chip to be directly emitted from an opening at the front. When the present invention is applied to such a form, the half mirror 8b can be interposed between the LED chip in the housing and a light-guiding unit mounted at the opening of the headlamp. In this case, the housing of the headlamp itself functions as a light-shielding means that interrupts incidence of external light onto a rear surface side of the half mirror 8b.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

As described in the foregoing, the headlamp-equipped model and headlamp light-guiding mechanism according to the present invention can be applied for the use purpose of railway models, and can also be widely applied for the use purpose of headlamp-equipped models.