Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Matt Probst, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Hey folks:
    I'm trying to find answers for an on-going backdrop problem I'm having on my NYC layout. First, let me say that, since my layout is being located in the partially finished basement of the home I'm currently renting, the layout isn't going to be a permanent one but rather a "practice" one for the home I plan to buy or build in the next few years. It is approximately 15' x 12' "around the walls" with a 6'x8' extension accessable from all sides.
    Now, before you "yell at me", let me also say that the benchwork, track, and most wiring are completed without the conventional rule of "back-drop 1st". The backdrop was originally going to be done first using masonite panels on a 1x1 framework. The problem I then encountered was that the masonite was going to extremely difficult to get down the stairs without being cut up into small pieces and once down there, very hard for me to erect alone. Sooooooooo.....
    This leads me to try to find a suitable material to use that will be strong, flexible, and most importantly, light-weight. Easily handled by me alone and if possible not needing a support frame work.
    In case anyone needs to know, the benchwork is open-grid with 2x4 legs. The backdrop needs to be by three walls. Two of them block and the third, wood paneling. It also needs to be 3'high. Coved corners are not necessary.
    The benchwork itself has about a foot of open space behind it and the walls.
    Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions!!!

    Matt--Chocolatetown, Pa. :) :D :)
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Styrene sheets, vinyl flooring, heavy poster board come to mind.
  3. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    styrene sheets

    Styrene? Where can I obtain and how costly?
    That just may be my answer!!!
    Thanks billk!!!!!

  4. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Look in Yellow pages for Plastics-Rods, Tubes,Sheets,Etc.-Supply Centers. I do not remember how much I paid for a .060" 4'x8' sheet.
  5. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    Staples sells poster board in a wide range of colors, textures and gages. Easily printed, painted or covered with the backgroung of your choice. No heavy framework required, infinately adjustable, and portable to boot.
  6. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Matt, won't doing it this way give you a zillion seams?
  7. Unless there's something faulty with my thinking (which is entirely possible at any given moment!), isn't a 4 X 8 sheet of styrene dimensionally the same as a 4 X 8 sheet of masonite? Won't you have to cut the styrene the same as the masonite to get it down the stairs?

    Based on what you wrote, Matt, I was thinking "Module." Which in turn means modular backdrops. Any of the materials suggested above will work, but a 4 X 4 or 4 X 2 section of masonite isn't difficult to get down a flight of stairs. Believe me, I know.

    Just a thought..... :)
  8. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    I'm still debating all of this with myself (which I tend to do with about everything!) and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do.
    Yes a 4x4 piece of masonite or styrene will fit down the stairs. The posterboard WOULD have a zillion seams to try to cover...
    Hmmmmmmm.... foam core covered with posterboard??? The masonite would still need a framework.....possibly cheapo, not too warped furring strips....pain in the neck to erect myself behind the benchwork....:confused:
    Can I kick myself for getting all gung ho about trackwork before the backdrop!!!
    Sorry about musing on my keyboard but my wife would look at me like I'm nuts if I was to badger her about it!
    I'm still open to any suggestions and thanks for the ones so far.
    The wheels are turning!!:rolleyes:

    Matt--Chocolatetown, Pa.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a wall where I used foam core with pre-done backdrops glued to them.
    They're in 30 to 36 inch sections (one piece from the store cut in half) so there's lots of seams, but I look at it as temporary. I just dropped it down between the back of the roadbed and the wall. Most of it is straight but two pieces warped and in opposite directions. Fortunately, they warped along the layout so I don't have backdrop hanging over the tracks.
    Our office gets foamcore in 4x8 sheets.
  10. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Matt!
    I too, wanted to try something different for my current layout...I was getting too old & tired to wrestle with those big pieces of masonite, & all the joint compound, & sanding. :rolleyes:
    I used vinyl flooring this time.
    I got a damaged piece at Home Depot for about $10. It was marred on the printed floor surface, but since I was goung to use the back, or under side, it made no difference. The piece I got was a remnant about 16' feet long (no seams), & 4' wide. It was easy to cut using a utility knife, & a metal yardstick as a straight edge. You will need to get some vinyl floor adhesive, & attach it to some type of wood framing.
    I highly recommend it! It's lightweight, & can be bent into any shape you desire. You can paint it, glue things to it, etc...
    I'm not sure how this will turn out, but here's a picture of one of the corners on my layout...I painted the backdrop blue, & used both cut out paper buildings, & plastic building flats, all glued to the vinyl.

    Attached Files:

  11. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Thanks for your replies David and Charlie. Dave, do you have a photo of your foam core backdrop you could post?
    I'm still undecided at this point> I guess I'm going to have to get out to Lowes or Home Depot and do some "window shopping" next week.
    I'll let everyone know what I'm going to do probably at that time, in the meantime, I'm still open for any other ideas!!

    But, just to let ya know, I appreciate all the quick responses I've gotten from the few questions I've had so far. It's nice to know that there are people out there who like to help others and that is why I've all but abandoned the "slow-site". (you know which one!!!;) )

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Regret that I don't have photo of it. Haven't got into the digital bit yet so I have to get a print from my wife's camera.
  13. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Charlie: I was wondering how your "vinyl floor sky" was erected? Attached to a framework or similarly hung on the wall?

    Thanks as always!

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  14. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Sorry, Charlie, for the rhetorical question. I'm not quite awake yet and see that you said in your previous post that you'll need to atach it to some wood framing!!!!:eek:
    (where did I set my coffee mug!!!!!!!!!!!!!:mad: )

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  15. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Mat, I used flooring for my backdrops also. I have a cinder block wall that had to be covered so I purchased Walters backdrops, glued them to the flooring with spray glue then glued the flooring to the wall using tile glue made to glue tile to cement. It came out pretty good, there are some seams but you have to get a real steep side angle view to spot them. Sorry I don't have any photos!!:eek:
  16. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

  17. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Matt,
    What about 1" styrene foam sheet? Very lightweight and self-supporting-

    From Olive Branch
    :D :D
  18. billk

    billk Active Member

    If it matters, a lot of backdrops are curved at the corners of the layout. If you plan on doing this, some kind of flexible material is what you want.
  19. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Corners really need to be curved to create an effect of distance, I use Hardboard for my backboards. I think it's called masonite in the USA. Mine are in 4' lengths and all corners were soaked in water first so the board didn't break.


  20. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    styrene foam

    cid chase: What is "styrene foam"?
    I always thought styrene was styrene and foam was foam!:confused:

    Thx. Matt--Hershey, pa.

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