Scenery Backdrops/ Free Standing Layout

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Bob Collins, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    In trying to think ahead a bit (I'm still wiring away) I want to make some decisions on scenery. The one thing that has me a bit puzzled is how I'm ever going to handle what is at the edge of the layout and beyond:confused :

    My layout is free standing, the closest wall is 24" from the edge of the layout.

    I am interested in learning how others handle the situation like this. With track laid to within 3" to 6" on all sides I am going to need to construct some sort of retaining devise to keep from picking up my rolling stock off the concrete floor :eek:

    I had thought about backdrops and all that business, but if I hang something like that against the wall it looses its effectiveness and I'm not really certain about hanging it so it just touches the edge of the layout (not a substitute for something for rolling stock safety along the edge). By hanging it right next to the edge of the layout and away from the wall it would have little or no stability and I visualize it billowing like a bed sheet on the clothes line :D The other downer for hanging backdrops right next to the edge of the layout would be that you would then only be able to view and operate from two sides instead of all four.

    Would I just be better off to forget the backdrop (I'd probably need them on two sides) and concentrate on creating something along the edge of the layout to both protect and define the end of the scenery on the table?

    I'm open to any and all suggestions:D

    Bob
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Bob my friend, they say a photo is worth a 1000 words, so I am posting this just for you, here I am in the middle of my railroad (Walkin) knelt down placing a donkey into position.
    Note the hardboard facia, my tracks are approx. 8" from the front except for the right hand side where they turn on the grade. They are 2" off the edge at just that point.
    Have fun
    Shamus


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    NARA Member #24
    http://www.badger-creek.co.uk
  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Hi Shamus;

    Thanks very much for the response and the great picture.

    I certainly like very much what you show there, but it still leaves a question; from the "outer" edge of your layout, how much, if any, distrace is there from the edge of your layout to the wall/backdrop? Or, is your backdrop painted on ot attached to the wall and it there then a space to the edge of the layout.

    I'm okay on the layout itself. I think I've pretty well figured out how I'm going to handle the edge both from a scenery and safety aspect. What I'm trying to determine is whether or not I even need to consider using a backdrop at all because the layout is a minimum of two feet away from the wall where one might have been used if the layout were up against the wall :confused:

    I suppose all I really need to do is work to make the basement walls more presentable, whether or not I try to incorporate them into the distant scenery.

    Bob
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Bob,
    At the place where I am kneeling, the width is 2'-6" to the wall, and the wall is my painted backdrop. The backscene was painted before any track was laid. If you have room, you could make out of hardboard a backscene (Painted sky etc) and fix it to the rear for photographing later.

    Shamus

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    NARA Member #24
    http://www.badger-creek.co.uk
  5. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hello Bob:

    I agree with Shamus on this one. Just don't have a situation like this! :eek:

    Andy

    Attached Files:

  6. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Bob!
    I take it that by free-standing, you mean an "island" type configuration. If it's more than 36" wide, then you need to have access on all sides. Backdrops are great, but you can't sacrifice access to the trains & track for one.
    If your layout is an "island" type, have you thought about constructing a backdrop that runs down the middle of the layout somehow? Either parallell to the edge, or at a diagonal? This would divide the layout into 2 halves, or scenes, & make it seem much larger. It would need to be high enough to block the view of the other side of the table. You would need tunnels, or bridges, or something at each end to hide where the train passes through the backdrop.
    As far as keeping the trains from hitting the floor, how about a piece of plexiglass screwed to the edge of the table in those "danger zones"?
  7. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Island layout

    Bob,

    Garahbara is an island layout and I preferred it that way, so you can get both front/back/both side views of your scenery. I do not intend to use backdrops as I consider they would block views from any angle. On one side I have built it as if it were a cutting with the scenery. The other side I have the track about 1" from the edge. I'm not sure how I will finish this side off yet. The pic is a bit crappy, but you can see what I have done on the left side, and how close the right side is to the edge. The far end is now covered by a hill with a tunnell.

    Attached Files:

  8. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Hi Woodie, Charlie and Andy;

    My thanks to all of you for your input. You have all basically confirmed my thoughts regarding backdrops..... I won't use any!

    As I think I mentioned my layout is a freestanding "island" 10' X 22" right smack dab in the middle of the area where it is built. You will be able to walk completely around it when I am finished. I will angle off a corner when everything is in place and I'm certain I won't need it :D and then you will be able to walk completely around it.

    I'm going to give some serious thought to seeing if there is a way to place a dividing scene somewhere in the middle of the layout, although, of course, the drawback to that is not being able to see all the way to the other side. I'm beginning to develop a few ideas about scenes and scenery and hopefully that will help a great deal to make the big picture fall into place.

    I really haven't done much at all the last couple of weeks as I try to figure out the loop wiring that has me stumped. I think I have learned I'm just not smart enough to read a wiring diagram:eek: I'm trying to track down a member of our new train club who is a whiz at this stuff and hopefully I can get him to stop by and walk me through the steps. While I'm waiting for him I have been working on my yards and getting the sub bed and roadbeds laid. Of course I have to stop from time to time to do a "test run" to make certain everything that has been done is still working
    :)

    Again, thanks to all of you. I always enjoy hearing from you. And I promise to learn how to get pictures on here so you can see what I am doing :D

    Bob
  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Trying to get a pix in. Be patient please

    Attached Files:

  10. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Here is another view of my layout. As you can see things are very bare. I have wiring problems to solve and yards to build before scenery becomes much of an issue with me:D

    Attached Files:

  11. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    And the last picture I'll bore you with tonight. Now that I have figured out how to get the pix in it will be alot easier to share with you. Doesn't that just thrill you:eek:

    Bob

    Attached Files:

  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Bob, Alright! Don't worry about the scenery yet, you're doing a hell of a job.

    Gary
  13. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    That looks GREAT Bob!
    How about we all come over & run some trains? :)
  14. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    looking good.

    Bob,

    Looks good. Wish I had that much space for a layout. Did you cut the risers to the required hieght or buy them according to gradient?
  15. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Hi Charlie and Gary;

    Thanks for the compliment. I actually stopped and did a bit of cleaning up not even thinking about pictures and all that so it really looks a little better than it usually does. I've even gone to two of most tools so I don't have to walk clear around the layout for a needlenose or something like that.

    In the middle of the third picture is what will eventually be my downfall/total frustration. It is the 130' scale turntable with about five million pieces and instructions I don't understand. I've even spoken with a friend of mine who is a mechanical engineering professor at the university here to see if we might get a student to do it as a project for credit, and some pay, of course. I do need to make decisions about it fairly soon as that is one of the areas I'm going to want to work in fairly soon.

    Anyway, when I get my wiring all figured out, the yards in place (three of them) and the turntable situation taken care of, I will really be into the scenery business then. Have a few ideas of how I want to handle it now and we'll just have to see how it all unfolds.

    I always enjoy seeing what you are doing too, so please keep me posted.

    Bob
  16. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Hi Woodie;

    Didn't mean to leave you out. Your post came to me after I had sent off the last one.

    I bought the risers from Woodland Scenics. They come in either 2, 3 or 4 % grade. I have some 2 and some 3, trying to follow some of yours and Shamus' advise on grades. Where you see the flat elevated track most of it is 3" high. I had to take a 1" and 2" styrofoam and glue them together to get the 3" I wanted, but that was easy as can be. At the bridge abuttments the risers are 4".

    If I can ever get the lop wiring figured out in two places and get it done without burning the place down I will be a happy camper and can get on with the rest of it. We have a newly form model railroad club here in town and I have been trying to track down one of the members who I know can help me if I can just catch up with him. We don't have a roster yet and I'm not sure how to get hold of him :( Will have to wait until the next meeting on the 25th and hope he is there :)

    Bob

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