Painting model railroad backdrops

Heinrich has been back in touch with his HO scale. This time he is busy painting model railroad backdrops.

“Good morning Al,

Heinrich here and I am back with updates from my layout, Tolbos.

Tolbos is located in South Africa, in the Karoo and the layout resembles 1950-1980.

The attached photos shows the backdrop being painted and the modules being installed. I will also be sending you videos in an separate email plus photos of the completed layout as it is at the moment.

My layout is 90% complete, with electronic signals and the control panel requiring installation.



painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

painting model railroad backdrops

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Heinrich. Painting model railroad backdrops is a permanent feature, but they add so much to a layout, as you’ll read in the comments below.

I think they add so much to a layout because you really need to have a clear idea of your layout theme before you can start one.

And as I’m always saying, it’s the layouts with a theme from day one that always seem to turn out the best.

It’s wonderful to see your layouts take shape – here’s Hienrich’s last post if you missed it.

That’s all for today folks – please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if today is the day you start on your own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

36 Responses to Painting model railroad backdrops

  1. Mike Street says:

    Fantastic layout Heinrich, I can feel the heat from here in good old cloudy UK.
    Great attention to detail and with the shelf brackets shows that you don’t need half a wood yard to support your model railway.
    Mike S

  2. Beautiful work, good to see another South African Railways layout.

  3. Marcel says:

    Nice one Heinrich. Lived in SA many years and it does resemble the Karoo. A few more grey bushes and sheep would put the icing on the cake! And the chops on the braai!!

  4. John M Leisz says:

    Absolutely beautiful work. Your level of detail is fantastic. Looking forward to your next post.

  5. Rob says:

    Wow! That really looks good. Your dirt roads in particular are fantastic, but you really paint a scene in my head that puts me there. Very cool!

  6. Brian Messenger says:

    Well done Heinrich, one really gets the feel of the Karoo on your layout. Excellent work and looking forward to seeing of more of it in the future.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna RSA

  7. Cary B says:

    Hello Heinrich,
    Your layout is beautifully detailed, very realistic. Love all the many structures and scenery. The video was a real plus. Thanks so much for sharing.


  8. Rod Mackay says:

    Brilliant, well done!

  9. Deon Mcglenatendolf says:

    Great railway layout. Can feel the Karoo. Evokes great memories of the most beautiful and character filled parts of our continent
    Well done

  10. Glyn says:

    Fantastic layout Heinrich- superb attention to detail and captures the feel of the northern Cape/ Karoo scenery. I can almost smell the boerewors cooking on the braai!

  11. John Bullock says:

    Excellent scenery work. Thanks for the video too!

  12. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!! Keep up the good work.

  13. Bill in Virginia says:

    Excellent craftsmanship on your layout Heinrich. Very well done. Keep the updates coming !!

  14. Rob McCrain says:

    You have really captured the look and feel of South Africa. Beautiful effort.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  15. Gary M from along Island says:

    Heinrich…. That is a nice piece of work. Layout looks really good. It looks like HO scale, is it?
    How big is that room? I love long runs and that bridge.

  16. Thomas Strangeway says:

    Absolutely perfect. Reminds me of my trips by train across the Karroo.
    I do however question your use of electricity. SA suffers a lot of power outages. 😉

  17. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    There is so much here to like! My eyes caught the great fence work right away. So nice.

  18. John says:

    Really nice work. Creative “lefty’s” rule!
    Visited Capetown on business, definately captures the feel of SA, and cool trees; perfect

  19. David Mathieu says:

    Beautiful! How did you make the single tree right by the signal building? ( slide 11, I think).

  20. Gorgeous. Great attention to detail and keeping things clean and simple.

  21. Welder dave says:

    Very nice I was expecting to see a Garret locomotive being Africa do they even make them in HO ? Great scenery And back drop .

  22. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. Your scenes are quite realistic and highly detailed. There’s some great modeling skills on this layout. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  23. Robert says:

    Nice South African layout liked the straight track laying something a lot of modellers seem to struggle with.

  24. Warner BC Canada says:

    Beautifully done.Love the bridges, scenery and especially the fencing. What a good thing to do with old rail. Perfect. But what kind of screening did you use for the fencing material? Keep up the great work

  25. J W Snyder says:

    Brilliant! Overall color scheme is blended throughout the scenes. Weathering is well done and not garish!

  26. So much has been said.
    That those who have been (or live in) South Africa comment on how this layout reflects the area that they mention specific sights and smells just from your pictures speaks volumes about the quality of your modeling.

  27. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice work. good ideas.

  28. Rich B. says:

    This is all well done and speaking of rocks all over. What I see is a place for everything and vice-verse. Not finished until backdrop done these days, with 3D really adds realism. If not, can certainly provoke imagination if well thought out…

    Regards, Rich

  29. John Simms says:

    I’d have to hire an artist.

  30. Rob McCrain says:

    Heinrich, Well done on the hills and mountain painting. I see you did not fall into the track many people do when painting mountains. It seems like the most common mistake is getting them too steep and too high. Our eyes easily focus on the objects in the distance and perhaps this is why people frequently do this. You have kept a realistic relationship between the distance and the mountain height. Rob McCrain

  31. Brian Olson says:

    In a word… terrific!

  32. Steve Ruple says:

    The painted backdrop looks really nice, good job.

  33. Mike Langford says:

    Excellent work. Ex-Capetonian living in Cusco, Peru here. Even though it is mainly a shelf layout it really evokes a sense of the wide open spaces of the Karoo.

  34. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Heinrich…….that makes such a difference……..nice job.

  35. Tom strangeway says:

    That looks fantastic. Brings back memories of living in the Karoo as a kid.

  36. Mats says:

    Very impressive!

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