Bill makes a back drop for his N scale layout

“Al

Happy New Year! Great to be past 2020 and into 2021. As always I continue to look forward to your posts each morning and seeing what wonderful creations peers make snd send in.during the Holidays I’ve taken some days off and put together a backdrop for part of the n scale layout.

With my layouts being portable I wanted to make sure that a backdrop was portable and removable as well. So with that in mind what follows is how I made mine.

I started with getting a full 4×8 sheet of foam board that was 1 inch thick. I figured I could get a backdrop that was 16 inches tall from that and also make a 1 inch filler piece to give me a little depth to work in scenery. I also bought 2 trim strips that were 1/4 x 3 x 8 that I would use as a clamping surface.

On the layout I added a small ledge that stuck out roughly 1/2 inch and was about three feet long for the backdrop to rest on.

I cut one piece of foam board to about 8 inches wide and then traced the outline of the layout scenery on that and cut to shape. This I glued on the full 16 inch foam board with foam board adhesive. Next I drilled thru the trim pieces snd foam board and added in flat head 1/4 inch bolts and wing nuts to hold it all together.

This gave me an excuse to buy some additional clamps so I bought 4 inch capacity ratcheting clamps. Three of these are used to hold the backdrop in place once on the ledge.

Next I painted the backdrop blue and a dark green where scenery would be added. I used latex paint. Any oil based paints will give you a melting disaster.

Once the paint was dry I put it in the layout snd took some pictures so I could visualize what I wanted to paint on the backdrop while I had it at the work counter.

Next I took a few colors of brown, white, gray, and a couple of shades of green and painted out the background I wanted. Once dry I took polyfiber and added it to close the gap on the backdrop and layout. To this I added various sizes of ground foam to build up layers and make an underbrush look.

Trees were made and planted as well. Next I painted white glue on the back drop and used ground foam to give the backdrop a 3D feel behind the real 3D scale trees.

I also have added in continuations of the roads and stream on that side of the layout. While I still have more to do like adding in some building flares and some painting behind the stream and the city piece of the backdrop I’m satisfied with the results so far.

It’s been a fun little project snd makes a huge difference when watching the trains run. I’ll make another for the n scale and will do the same on the HO scale layout as well. Always fun things to do and try in model railroading

Attached is a link to a video showing how I painted and gave a 3D feel to the backdrop.

Take care!

Best

Bill in Virginia”

n scale backdrop

n scale back drop

portable n scale

paint backdrop

portable n scale backdrop



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Bill. I do love his stuff – which is exactly why he’s in the Hall of Fame.

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post, please do press the button below and share if you have. It really would make my day.

That’s all for this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Best

Al

20 Responses to Bill makes a back drop for his N scale layout

  1. Brian Rockey says:

    Great job Bill, very impressive!
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  2. Phil says:

    I love the effect. I am not sure if you mentioned it but I use a light dusting spray of white automotive pirimer on backdrops. It gives a slightly misty impression and helps with sense of depth especially on the photographic type backgrounds

  3. Peter Waring says:

    Such realistic details, leaves us mere mortals struggling. Love it👍👍👍
    Regards, Peter…

  4. Ian Rogers says:

    That’s great work Bill – not only in your finished product but your step by step explanation!

  5. Mike in NC says:

    Simply stunning,Bill.

  6. george zaky says:

    Bill
    Thanks so much for the narrative and video. Fantastic job and your talent for creating what you visualize is incredible. Wow!
    Love to see what you do for that other section.
    Up here in NY, my HO layout in my unheated garage is taking a beating with expansion and contraction and, as a follower of your work, I envy that it seems to live in your garage well.
    Be well and safe
    George from LI,NY

  7. Richjard Coerse says:

    Fantastic backdrop Bill

  8. Erick says:

    Pretty Neat.!!!

  9. Rob McCrain says:

    The back scene is very effective. The whole layout is too so far. Great work.

  10. Great backdrop and video. How can I view the first 3 videos?

  11. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    Simple but very effective. Great job.

  12. The only thing I can say is, THANK YOU! to all those how post comments and layouts here and well is on the youtube channels I subscribe to. All of you have motivated me to start my layout. I just hope mine is of good enough quality to show you all. For now, I have finished the benchwork and will start laying my track on the 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.

    I have done one layout but that was over, GOD I just realized I am old, 30 years ago! Which at that time was in our garage and you can guess it did not last long due to the elements it was exposed to! Everything I have read abt layouts that are exposed to those elements doesn’t last long and I experienced all of them. That’s it in a nutshell. Thanks again Bill for the post and videos! I pray 2021 will be a better year for all Americans!

  13. Great layout shows your hard work

  14. John Bullock says:

    Excellent video leaving me asking no questions!

  15. Ernie says:

    Thanks Bill, your back drop is such a great idea and it looks great. Good job.

  16. Thomas C McKelvey says:

    Superb work! The background is already so good, that one has to look very carefully to realize it is not finished. The only thing that caught my eye as being unrealistic each time the camera passed it, has nothing to do with the background. That is the unfinished back of the Purina sign which still looks like a model . Seeing what you have done so far, I have no doubt you will look at an equivalent real world sign, and change the color and add some more fantastic details that will cause me to look right past it because it too will “belong” in the scene! Hardly can wait to see what you do next!

  17. Mark says:

    Hi from sunny Florida.Your layout isn’t great it is fabulous. Since I missed some of your posts I was wondering how big was the layout? You managed to pack it with some great details, I especially liked the 3 D effects

  18. Simply wonderful. Loads of great ideas.

  19. Bill in Virginia says:

    Hi all – Bill in Virginia here. Thank you for the kind comments m. I have a blast working on the railroad and love to experiment. The layout is 3×15 feet in size. A nice length to do some running thru different scenery. The sign back is on my list to take care of lol. All three of them. I will darken the backs of them with chalks and add some birds and birds nests I think to make them look better

  20. Jeffrey says:

    Bill, Thank you for your video backdrop tutorial. This was a huge encouragement to me!

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