Mirrors for interiors

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by FrankG, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. FrankG

    FrankG Member

    I read something recently about using mirrors to extend the precieved distance of a layout, rather than just stopping at the wall.

    I didn't think that would look convincing -- "wow, a mirror" instead of "wow, a wall". But I saw it in practice and was amazed.

    But then I had an idea. Just looking for opinions on how well this might work....

    I'm thinking about angling a mirror inside of a stucture so it's reflecting an interior view that is in the "basement" of the structure. Basically build the interior sub-benchwork level, light it there and reflect it into place....so to speak. The interior would need to be built "laying down" for this to work.

    With some quick experimentation, it seems as though the overall effect would provide even, realistic lighting....a well-lit interior and could be defused or blocked from individual windows by using various screens between the window and mirror.

    Might not work for forground but background seems doable.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That might be interesting, especially to give "flats" some depth at the back of a layout. For foreground buildings, it might be just as quick to build a real interior as you note in your last line...

  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I read where one fellow printed his interiors on clear acetate and used lighting on the interior ceiling behind the acetate to illuminate the interior.
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The key to using mirrors is in the angle--a viewer should NEVER be able to see themselves in a mirror, and if you're butting it up against something the angle should be exact to avoid a weird-looking "kink."

    Is there a reason to put that mirror in the building, rather than simply building the interior inside the building? It seems like putting the interior underneath the building just to be able to use the building would be making more work than necessary...

    Of course, you could always use a "house of mirrors" effect, a la John Allen, to create the effect of a building that is bigger on the inside than on the outside!
  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I'm planning on a similar use of mirrors to make dead-end tunnels and mine shafts look longer. Has anybody done this that could give me a few pointers? Thanks,
  6. sams

    sams Member

    mirrors for tunnels and mine-shafts?
    rather interesting idea doc:thumb:
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Better late than never, I suppose. I've seen a small mini-layout built by a man in sweden I think...Try Carl Arendt's small layouts site (www.carendt.com) and check the links. Anyway, this guy takes you step by step, day by day literally of how he built his layout. In the back corner is a small horizontal mine opening that he has illuminted the inside and added mirrors. The effect is pretty good and he fully explains how it was done.

    Also, there's a large scale (gauge 1 track) modular railroad that I've seen numerous times at shows out here in CA, the Del Oro Pacific. I bet they have a website somewhere. One of the neat draws for their layout is a vertical mine shaft with a working hoist. It stands probably four feet high, from the surface of the layout at track level down to the floor. Kids love it because it's fully lit with lanterns and has all the men with picks and shovels at work. But the cool part is the mirror on the floor beneath the shaft. Makes it look like the mine keeps going down into the floor. And because the viewer can never get that close due to the cord aisle/railing around the layout the angle is never spoiled. You can't see the ceiling of the room in the reflection because the shaft is so long. A very nice effect and a real crowd pleaser.


  8. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    John Allen used several mirrors on his "G & D Railroad". Someone mentioned that the mirror should be positioned so a viewer doesn't see their reflection. John did this well. He doubled the size of a train yard by dead-ending the yard against a wall on which a mirror was placed. Okay now, go find some mirrors at a garage/yard sale and try your luck.
  9. As pointed out already John Allen used several. If you can get a hold of a copy of the book published by MR it's all detailed there.

    Most important was to use "surface coated mirrors" as the joint between the scene and the reflection then appears seamless
  10. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    This is an end of my industrial area. I put a mirror at the end and it shows in the second picture.

    The track is just loose here and hasn't been laid yet. It just shows what a mirror can do
  11. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    That's a nice use of the mirror Robin, it really expands that steel mill!

    Folks have mentioned John Allen. I think Jetrock was alluding to my favorite of his...the World's Biggest Indoor Car Lot". By using a two way mirror and another mirror, he created a building with a window that appeared to house an infinitely expanding car lot. He painted the back halves of the cars different colors then the facing sides to increase the apparent variety. Genius! Good luck with yours too Frank!
  12. Very neat Robin.

    It looks great with the track exactly perpendicular to the mirror. Another trick which helps is to place half a car up against the mirror.The eye sees it as full size and is thus drawn away from the actual joint. It works best with a surface coated mirror as per previous post:wave:
  13. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I don't have a local source for surface coated mirror but the usual will do for now. I used a piece of 1/4 round for the chimney then cotton wool for smoke to hide the join in the mirror to the background. The track will look better when I get it laid and ballasted. I like the idea of half a car too. Thanks BM
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You need a rather non-descript car next to the mirror so that you don't notice reversed lettering e.g. a bright Chessie symbol would really give it away. A well weathered hopper would be about right.

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