Which do you prefer??

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MadHatter, Feb 26, 2007.


Which Backdrop?

Poll closed Mar 29, 2007.
  1. I like my backdrops painted

    0 vote(s)
  2. I like my backdrops printed from real life pics

    0 vote(s)
  3. I like my backdrops bought from the local hobby shop

    0 vote(s)
  4. I don't use backdrops.

    0 vote(s)
  1. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I was just interested to hear if people prefer painting backdrops, using prototypical pictures, buying printed ones or not having one at all.
  2. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    Hmm, i'm not really into backdrops but i do like the one where there's alot of clouds in a clear sky.
  3. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Here's a pic showing part of mine.

  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Yes. :p

    I'm a big fan of backdrops, period. Whether they're painted or purchased, they add so much depth to a MRR scene. Much better looking than bare wall (or studs, or bricks, or junk!)

    These photo-printed backdrops by SceniKing actually work pretty well. My friend has them on his layout, and they look pretty good. I'll try to get some pics.
  5. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I just painted the whole room, including the trim and ceiling, a grayish blue. Then I also have a couple of the Walthers backdrops here and there.
  6. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    *To me*, nothing looks more realistic to my eyes for a backdrop than an actual photo.
  7. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Don't use em cause I'm not that far.....sign1 .

    I'm not much of a painter:oops: ......but my sister is:thumb: .....wonder how much I'm going to have to bribe her to do some for me when I get that far:wave: .

  8. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I've been thinking about using a photo backdrop from my upcoming layout. At least in the city area to have some "stuff" in the background besides just a clear blue sky.

    The mountain-like area will probably be just a painted backdrop.
  9. Relic

    Relic Member

    I would "like"a nice backdrop, even if it was just sky 'n' clouds. I "have"the wall/ceiling {hip roof} painted blue.
  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Here's a couple of pics of the SceniKing backdrops on my friend's shelf layout:



    He goofed a bit when he installed it. It comes as seperately printed sheets, and instead of trimming the borders off and butting them, he left a border on one side and lapped them. That's what those vertical lines are. If you don't lap them, and paste them flat on the backdrop, the seams are invisible.
  11. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I haven't voted in the poll because there's no "choice E: A, B & C" category. The best I've seen have been combinations of a painted sky with printed structures and/or photos applied to that.

    Personally, I've used a painted backdrop, but wasn't all that satisfied with it as the layout height was too low and the backdrop was interupted by windows.

    I do want to mention a thought relative to the poll, that of freestanding backdrops on island-style layouts. In planning a small layout I have often considered using a backdrop down the middle lengthwise to effectively separate the layout into two scenes, which, because of the backdrop, can be visually very different, e.g. city on one side and country on the other.

    But my wife, whose artistic opinion I do value (yet not always agree with...) has a strong dislike of the 'sky wall'. We've had some good conversations as I've tried to understand what it is exactly that she dislikes about these freestanding backdrops. Of all the photos I've shown her (not closeups, but where the layout itself is shown with fascia, backdrop, etc.) she has yet to find one where the backdrop is acceptable. Even those along the walls. Anybody else feel this way? (or have a spouse that does?)
  12. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Oh, and for my existing layouts, the timesaver is along a wall which will receive a sky backdrop and possibly distant mountains. The 4x6 (follow the link in the signature) will have a scenic ridge down the middle to divide the layout - the trackwork is at about 52" high so that helps the effectiveness of even a low hill acting as a divider/backdrop for the foreground scenes. And I did paint a sky with puffy clouds on canvas (no frame) to use in photos of the timesaver back when it was located in the middle of a room. I could position it on either side (or just turn the layout around) for a variety of shots.
  13. bob_suruncle

    bob_suruncle Member

    I think the guy that installed that backdrop did a superb job Squidbait.... and if its the same guy who built the mill complex and weathered the flat car in the foreground he must be a master model builder or something :rolleyes: hehe
  14. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Yeah,, he did an alright job... but he has issues with following the directions (just look how that mill annex turned out!) and modesty... :p
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I don't have any backrounds yet but I am planning on getting some one of these days lol

    I will have backdrops of real industries and sky pics and maybe some hills to :thumb: :thumb:
  16. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Butt we're all born with 'backrounds'...though some are more like 'flats'...sorry, Josh, just couldn't resist.sign1
  17. RioGrande

    RioGrande Member

    Doug Tasold went to Colorado and took pictures in Denver and on the Front Range of the Rockies that he made into poster prints. He uses them as backdrops and it looks awesome. I don't think anything as ever looked better than poster prints properly scaled and used.
  18. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    That's essentially what the SceniKing backdrops are. He goes around North America, shoots landscapes with his digital camera, and then photoshops them into huge poster prints. Sectional ones, but 4-8' long.

    One thing I will say about backdrop photos is that theres' really only one good viewing angle - straight on. If there's anything other than scenery in them, they look a little strange when viewed from an angle. See the difference in my pics? The buildings look "flat" in the angle shot. Building "flats" placed in front of the backdrop can offset this a little bit.
  19. RioGrande

    RioGrande Member

    Hmm... not sure about the viewing angle thing, but all the pictures I saw of several different layouts with photo back drops looked sweet. I don't think all were straight on shots but I could be wrong. Some were room shots taken from a distance so you got a sense of what it would look like if you were really there.
  20. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Well, I couldn't vote because I do both 1 and 2. I like to paint my backdrops and do the clouds using Gavin Miller's technique (spray stencils). And then I like to print out buildings and glue them on here and there.

    I think pre-printed backdrops are fantastic, nothing is more realistic looking, but they do get pricey for a larger layout.


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