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Backdrops and Scratchbuilding

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  • Backdrops and Scratchbuilding

    I talk to a lot of model railroads about a lot of subjects.

    One of the subjects that comes up most often - is the lack of commercial convincing backdrops at a reasonable price. Add to that the non availability and sometimes escalated pricing of something generated for "1:48" or "O" scale. Add even more to that for a super large print. For these reasons, I choose to create my own backdrops. Anyone with decent camera and moderate computer skills can do it.

    The other thing is scratch building. I find that many people are afraid to jump into structure building, but as those that scratch build as I do can attest, it's a lot easier than you think. If you can build benchwork, you can scratch build a structure and it's a lot cheaper than most quality structure kits.

    Attached are two quick "HOW I DO IT" photos, but they are not tutorials. There are plenty of ways to do backdrops and scratchbuild structures and my way is "my way", not the only way or what some may see as the "right way". If it looks convincing on the layout and in photos - then it is a "convincing" way.

    I wish I had time to do a "my way" tutorial, but time is tight as they say. I hope that some reading this will at least find it interesting and take the sting out of the backdrop and scratchbuilding fear and try it.

    Have a great weekend!

  • #2

    Those are some detailed and really interesting SBS Joey. Thanks for taking the time to post.

    Could you post a pic of how the backdrops look with once attached to the layout.


    • #3
      Joey - thanks for the tips on the background.

      I will have to co back and check to make sure

      about resizing the picture from the printers.

      I haven't had time to unroll the print.

      Scratch building - the store looks great...

      it would make a good "kit" plan....

      Thanks again for sharing.


      • #4
        Scratchbuilding is no problem, but I do need to try photographic backdrops. Thanks for the nudge.


        • #5
          First of all, thanks for the tutorial.

          Second, how in the world did you figure out how to make this post. Many of us took months just to be able to post a single photo.


          • #6
            Great tuto Joey !!


            • #7
              Great information and lay-out material, fantastic presentation. I can only imagine a full blown tutorial from you.

              Louis L&R Western Railroad
              Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


              • #8
                Thanks all - as I said this was not meant to be a tutorial........Just a look at how I do it to show how easy it is.

                BILL GEEZER - Your print should be fine - I meant in general when I print photos of any nature.

                BRYAN - My post only has two photos you are seeing above. They are photos that include other photos and text within them.


                • #9
                  Excellent tutorial! Love the SBS for the backdrop. I had never thought of that and wish I did! I feel like I want to start again with my backdrops.


                  • #10
                    Also when you said the backdrop can be printed for under $50, I assume you are talking about a store like Staples or Kinko's?


                    • #11
                      Ha Arthur - No, I have no clue what the local houses charge. I have a lab that prints my fine art images and other material but I do not use them for this. I use for a print like this. They are a print house in Minnesota. Very good service and you can upload your images and order online and ship to your door.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the quick reminder lesson, true you just have to jump in and keep going, like anything. The more you do the more you have in your toolbox, watching how quickly you all work is inspiring. Great stuff!
                        That\'s fine, it\'ll make another trip kid.



                        • #13
                          Joey, that was a great presentation. I wish I had half your skills.



                          • #14
                            Thanks for the reassurance Joey....

                            As soon as I get settled in the new place,

                            I will mount the Print.

                            Thanks again.

                            (Just "bill" or "Geezer" is fine, either one) :-)


                            • #15
                              Joey thank you for sharing this with us.
                              Chuck Faist

                              Burlington, Ontario

                              Enjoy yourself it is later than you think!