Thursday, January 5, 2017

Over the Hills and Far Away

Talking about Backdrops

Hello Everybody!  I hope everyone had a good Christmas!  I certainly did.  Over the Christmas Break I've been working on two things:
  1. Finishing the Track Loop for the entire layout.
  2. Working on the Backdrop on the Iron Ore Pellet Plant Module.
So since we've already covered track work, I'm going to talk about painting my backdrop and the process that I developed to create mine.

I do want to caveat that this is a method that worked for me.  There are many methods to make a backdrop that are very effective and have very good results.  Remember, I'm no Bob Ross! I will post some links to some videos that do things differently so you can see what you like, and what you can do.

What Type of Backdrop?

There are all sorts of ways to create a backdrop for your model railroad.  Hand Painted, Photo backdrop, Airbrush, Bob Ross...all sorts of ways. 

I chose to combine hand painting and using an air brush.  I want the backdrop to be just that, part of the background.  I wanted it to add depth, but not over power the scene.  Remember the TRAINS are the main players on my stage so I didn't want a high fidelity photo backdrop stealing the show (even though when done well the photo backdrops do look amazing). 

Below are some links to some videos that better show how to paint or display photo backdrops

Trial and Error

So one day I woke up and said, Hey I'm going to paint a backdrop on my model railroad and its going to be right on the money the first time I try it.  FALSE!  It took me many failed attempts before I actually got a method and result that I liked. 

  • Trying the Bob Ross Method - Hand Painting Everything
Using acrylic paints I started with painting the whole scene white.  While the white was blended in the blue, top down so the sky would get lighter as it approached the horizon.

Here you can see me trying to add gray as the far background to simulate dormant deciduous trees in November.  Added some green for pines and the some brown to simulate earth or falls from trees on the forest floor. 

Here's a close up, the one thing its lacking in my opinion is depth, and detail.  More detail than just "blobs" of color.

  • Airbrush

Hand Painted the Sky using the same "Bob Ross" Blending Technique.  I used the Airbrush to add a stripe of white to simulate the horizon line.

Started adding the background.  Using a "stencil" I made from cardstock.  Mixed Green and Gray at various levels to create the depth.

Started to add the middle ground. Same technique using stencils. More Green Less Gray.

Added the open pit part of the mine in brown.  Just to give the impression that the pit is visible in the background.

What's next?

I may still tinker a bit with the backdrop here.  Add some Pine Tree groves and a few poplar trees in the foreground.  I think we're going to start the scenery on the first portion of the Iron Mine.  I've been playing around with some designs and am thinking that once that area gets built up its really going to be a special/signature scene on my Railroad. 

Be sure to check out my Facebook page!  Its prime model railroad season!!! Work on the layout, locomotives and rolling stock is in high gear! I am posting updates multiple times per week so check it out and please provide feedback!

You can find my Facebook Page here.  Make Sure to give it a 'like' to keep up with my progress!

Please post question and comments!  I will get back to you!

Thanks for reading!  Until next time keep 'er in Notch 8!

No comments:

Post a Comment