Model railroad backdrop – Rob’s

Rob’s been busy getting his model railroad backdrop just right:

“Hi Al,

I created a mural for the back of my layout earlier on in the build of my Colorado and North Western.

But I was not happy with it and had the intention to create or improve it and then have it reprinted.

I worked on the new version of the model railroad backdrop/backscene off and on for a number of weeks. When I arrived at what I thought would be a better picture, I had it printed.

It really turned out well and this time I am very happy with it. I did have to adjust it slightly after I got it back from the printer and the method I used is demonstrated in the video.

I am including a real photo of Longs Peak which figures prominently on my backdrop. I though some folks would enjoy seeing what It really looks like (first picture below).

The backdrop is not a photo, it is an original creation by me.

I have included a photo of my Hiway Cafe’ because it relates to the backdrop. There is a miniature version of the back scene along the wall in the cafe’ behind the counter. It is very hard to see, but it is there none-the-less.


phot for model railroad backdrop

freight yard with backdrop

model railroad backdrop on hill

model railroad backdrop

model railroad cafe

model railroad factory with backdrop

model railroad factory

model railroad N scale main street at night

N scale pizzaland

model railroad n scale rear car

N scale road crossing

N scale road scene

N scale roof top scene

N scale buildings

A huge thanks to Hall of Fame member, Rob.

It’s wonderful to see a layout come to life, especially one like this.

If you want to get up to date with what Rob has been busy with, his last post is here.

When it comes to model railroad backdrops, there’s quite a few posts on the blog about them:

Fred’s amazing model train backdrop.

Frank adds his train backdop.

Keith’s HO scale backdrop.

Kevin’s OO scale backdrop.

Brian’s scenery and hills backdrop ‘how to’.

How to create a sky backdrop for your model railroad

Ken’s 3D backdrop.

Plemnty of model railroad backdrops there for you.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your model railway – the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

41 Responses to Model railroad backdrop – Rob’s

  1. Bill Sweet says:

    I like the colors in the backdrop.

  2. John Aus says:

    These are great back drops, keep up the good work.
    I have found some really good ones but I am waiting for permission to use them as they are original works. I am hopeless at paining my own.

  3. Frederick Wilbury Castle says:

    Pure magic !

  4. Robert Brady says:

    All that’s missing from that movie is some popcorn Rob .
    Very Nice.
    The Critic

  5. JACK MASARIE says:

    Great attention to detail. Plenty of variety. GREAT JOB.
    Shlack in NC

  6. Cary B says:

    Awesome background photos and train running Rob
    Happy holidays to you and family
    Cary aka cbgadget

  7. I am no Picasso, but I say you did a great job. Landscape art is tough. One day the sky and clouds are this color and the next they’re nothing like the day before. Great pictures, I am envious.

  8. Bill Holt says:

    amazing !!! good job

  9. Al, Thanks again for all you do. The posts start my day right. In the never ending
    quest for minniture realism allow me to offer a bit of related trivia. “The human
    hair strand is approx. seven thousands of an inch, side to side…..If you cut the
    hair side to side into five thousand pieces, each piece is one NANO Bit wide or
    maybe a couple of atoms. ” ..The question for hobbiests is, ” How small do you
    want to go???”….Hopefully, this post will provide a chuckle…….RJL

  10. Paul says:

    I check this site everyday and Without a doubt this is the best ever layout I’ve ever seen… The detail is spot on
    The streets and roads do not look cluttered. It’s a fantastic layout

    Very well done …not good for a Filet but for this layout excellent

  11. THOMAS says:

    Way to go Rob ! I like it when trains are running !

  12. That is beautiful, just to sit and watch the trains run with that backdrop is WOW! I am throwing this out here and just asking. Any of you ever used a raised backdrop? what I mean is like a topographical map will have raises for hills mountains and valleys so it has depth/dimension. I don’t want to offend anyone, but the level of work on a lot of these layouts?? WOW!!

  13. John Fraim says:

    Beautiful backdrop by Rob. Wouldn’t it be great if the backdrop could change to mirror various times of day and various weathers. The technology is probably already here. I envision a backscreen projector that would project various weather and time images onto a type of translucent backdrop screen. Haven’t seen it done yet but wouild add tremendous realism to layouts.

  14. Sting says:

    Very nice.

  15. Erick says:

    Awesome look good. I hope mine turns out that good.

  16. Marklin ed. says:

    Only one thing i think you have to do is make your rolling stock a little dirty. They look to plastic for me. THE BACKDROP IS OUTSTANDING

  17. KenG says:

    I love model railroads that tell “stories” through vignettes of buildings, people, scenery and lighting….and give a realistic view of the past.
    Very nice!

  18. Johnny says:

    I really like the Detail you are modeling. Makes it come to life

  19. Anton Bruce says:

    Those backdrops are gorgeous! If you painted those yourself – that’s IMPRESSIVE!!!!

  20. Ruben Simon says:

    Water stains on the wall under the air conditioner! Love it!!!

  21. Randy Geisick says:

    Rob, I recognized Long’s Peak well before I read any of your dialog. Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker were part of my daily western view for the first 30 years of my life. I grew up on a farm east of Greeley. I now live in Idaho, but next time I’m in Greeley, I’ll need to look you up.

    Randy Geisick
    Kimberly Idaho

  22. Phil Ozbolt says:

    I see this is in Longmont Co. I noticed the Gibson Mfr building. I own a ’41 Gibson tractor. The backdrop is amazing. Great layout. It would be great to see a over view of the layout to see the track plan.

  23. Timothy Morlok says:

    A comment on John Fraim’s : Years ago I also thought about using rear projection for backdrops, but one would need a large space and multiple synced projectors behind each side of the layout. With the evolving tech – flat screen TVs and wearable fabric computers we may in the future be able to have thin flexible projecting backdrops. I am currently modifying some of my photos to fit my background needs. By using the banner printing service at Office Depot. I can get a 8′ x 2′ scene on long lasting scrim vinyl for under $100.00 US.

  24. Great work

  25. What works of art these backdrops are! Never seen anything like ’em! Bravo!!

  26. Rod Dunn says:

    Super job !! Am I the only one that caught PizzaLand from “The Sopranos” ? Love it !!

  27. James Malins says:

    Great detail on the buildings etc all brought to life by the wonderful backdrops. Well done

  28. Greg says:

    WOW !

  29. GaryM from Long Island says:

    You are quite the artist

  30. Mike from the Great State of Texas says:

    I was taught that “If you can’t say something nice about something, than don’t say anything. Awesome job on the back drop and I liked the shiny trains.

  31. arayola says:

    All your Longmont town needs now is the old Butterball turkey factory on Main Street with a couple of rail cars and trucks with turkeys waiting to be processed.

    Congratulations, You have an Awesome Layout with your new back drop adding to your impressive Longmont town! 😎

  32. Rich B. says:

    Backdrops seem to be the missing factor these days done right at least. What a difference these can make and especially todays rendition. Dave also has captured this idea to a T. Used to have these scenery pop up books for the kids, imagine those incorporated into backdrops. Absolutely things look 3D and layered with distance. Love these ones where the “country road” continues up the wall. And a few are really done well with those.

    Just my observations only, Rich

  33. John Birch says:

    Superb backdrop. I wanted to do something similar and even took appropriate photos for the backdrop to my layout. Unfortunately for the past three years, I just haven’t been able to get myself to do anything to my layout.
    I love the superb detail everywhere.
    Well done.

  34. george zaky says:

    Awesome layout and sincere thanks for the time & effort to show us your handiwork.
    I am truly marveled and humbled when people with great artistic talents explain their view. When you said “too purply” I didnt get it. Then you toned it down with a wisp of white and Bingo- that separated the men from the boys.
    You are a master modeler and artist.
    Thanks for the ride thru town.
    Big Al
    A movie by the great FH, coffee, sunny morning! Super.
    Gracias Amigo

  35. Old Ben says:

    I love the layouts you have shown us.. Can you tell me how much money is needed to create one? Not counting your labor.

  36. Scott says:

    What a great depiction of Longmont and Longs Peak! I’m right down the road in Boulder and recognize so much on your outstanding layout. Working on my O scale in the basement and getting my G Scale in the front yard ready for the holiday season. Happy railroading!

  37. Don Waldron says:

    Thanks for showing your trains running. I am always surprised when someone spends so much time building realistic scenery but leaves their trains in pristine condition and not weathered. To each his own. 🙂

  38. robert dale tiemann says:

    love the diner and the step back through time. always liked the old cars and trucks.

  39. Randy Geisick says:

    That view of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker is pretty much the view I enjoyed every day for the first 30 years of my life on the farm east of Greeley. Next time I make the trip from Idaho to Greeley, we should connect.

  40. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Rob…….love your work…..scenes of the town are terrific along with the backdrop

  41. Jon Webb says:

    Remarkable and inspiring !

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