Model train backdrops

There have been quite a few model train backdrops on the blog over the years – but take a look at Jeffs:

“Hi Al,

Today I installed more ground work. I use sanded earth colored grout for the soil.

A mix of scenic express ground foam for the forest floor.

Glue all down with a 50, 50 white glue solution, I will let this dry and start to install trees and brush.

Have a long way to go.



model train backdrops

model train backdrops

model train backdrop with trees

model railroad backdrop trees

model railway backdrop

model railroad backdrop trees

model train trestle bridge

Now on to Mike:

“Hi Al,

About a year ago, you published some pics and explanation on the start of my layout. A year down the line, I thought you might like an update. I hope you like it enough to publish it.

Before I get into that, though, I would like to remark on how useful your blog is.

I am about to make some rocks for a bit of the layout that I won’t later be able to get to easily – I am trying to lay the majority of the track before doing the scenery where possible – and was considering the best way to do it when I read Eddie’s recent blog about using expanding foam.

This reminded me that when I first started, some 2 years ago, I had some expanding foam & put it aside for just this purpose but had completely forgotten about it! Thanks Eddie.

So onto my layout. Considering the limited amount of time I can spend on it, I am quite happy with the progress I am making.

I have had a train running to test all the track I have laid, using a borrowed ECOS 50200 but now have my own & am starting to programme for real.

As I don’t have the time to edit the video, like some of your contributors such as Dave – I really admire his work & wish he lived nearer me – it is in its raw state but hopefully OK.

I have also attached again the track plan, as I don’t think you included it last time.

On a personal note, I am still fighting the cancer & am reasonably well at the moment, although it has spread a bit & I am having a new course of treatment. I will win!

Anyone else out there with cancer, always keep your chin up & stay positive.


A close up of one of the stalls

The Diesel Yard with Coach Washer

Frederick St Station

The Garden Centre & Pumphouse

Track Plan

Thanks for the good work you do.


A huge big thanks to Jeff for adding to the model train backdrops on the blog – and to Mike too

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get going on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

26 Responses to Model train backdrops

  1. Sedat Nişancı says:

    Hi Mike, what you did is very nice. I hope you recover soon.
    Sedat from Türkiye

  2. Keith G Willoughby says:

    Hi Mike,
    Love the layout….. fabulous, The market is brilliant keep up the good work! And most of all a fast and speedy recovery! 👍

  3. Stephen Hill says:

    Jeff that is the most amazing backdrop I’ve ever seen , I am eager to see your progress as you go. That appears to be some serious display , the detail is incredible, great job !

    Mike , that is sone track design , very intense , will be excited to see those trains running . Looks great so far , don’t know how y’all do it , it all looks so real .

  4. DJfromNJ says:

    Jeff – Super job with the scenery. You are a talent!
    Mike – Glad to see the track plan! I’ve always admired your elevated market, getting more action from your layout, pure genius! MOSTLY, however, continued success in your fight. I’m sure all of Al’s readers are pulling for you too.

  5. Jeff Jundt says:

    My gosh, those backdrops look gorgeous. There’s a lot of talent there! It just adds so much to the already beautifully detailed layout scenery. Great job.

  6. Steve Teshoney says:

    Love your scenery. Adds so much depth. Can’t wait to see the finished product.
    Speedy recovery, beat the snot out of it.

  7. Berry Scruggs says:

    Wow! What a great addition to his layout.

  8. Charles Lambour says:

    Jeff, you are an artist in every way. Stunning!

  9. Dave Dahlstrom says:

    Beautiful work Jeff. Backdrop is one of the best I’ve seen. Please tell us how you make your evergreen trees and confirm the scale of your layout?

  10. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Jeff: That’s marvelous work on the scenery, layout and the blending of both to be seamless.
    Mike: Wow, you too have a very large layout. I don’t remember your first entry from a year ago and perhaps missed the information, Are you running HO or OO? It could be N as well, I just can’t quite tell.
    Studying the layout plan, what is the scale of the plan? Are the squares 6″.
    Hope to see a video someday of trains running. Lots of operation here.
    I like the upper level market also. Tons of nice work done.
    Keep beating back that cancer Mike, we are all pulling for you.
    Anxious to see more of Jeff and Mike’s work.
    Dick (little r) from Hardin Mt USA

  11. Mr Ron from South Mississippi says:

    Best backdrop I’ve seen. Recovered from colon cancer. 3 years ago, so far, so good. PDF=1.0

  12. Charles S. (Chuck) Wertalik says:

    WONDERFUL backdrop! Never seen anything as good! I expect to see wild animals amongst the trees at any moment!

  13. Richard Stern says:



    What a Beautiful layout you’ve created. It looks like a master has been at work. Just fight keep fighting that cancer it can be one and I’m sure you’re one of them that have Can beat it. And when you do beat it good. For all of us!!


  14. OLDTAZ says:

    The backdrops are magnificent, as it’s been said I keep looking for the animals moving around in the forest. I like the way they blend in with everything. Are you sure we’re not looking out your front window. You are quite the artist. Keep it up and have fun doing so.


  15. Matthew Paladino says:

    Jeff – I have been a model railroader for most of my 68 years – in one form or another. From armchair to five previous layouts (one more on the board!) that progressed to various stages of completion. Work and moves were the demise of the lot of them.
    Almost without exception every article, book or seminar makes one point that cannot be denied: BACKDROPS make or break a layout.
    You, my friend, have done a magnificent job of proving that point to be true!
    Stunning; beautiful; Hope you post more pictures as you progress!!!

  16. ROGER TURNER says:

    Jeff, your backdrop is fantastic, one of the best I have seen. Excellent job of blending to foreground, hard to tell where one ends and the other starts.

    Mike, I love your planning and a great and busy track layout. I can tell you really enjoy working on your great layout and it certainly shows in your detail, which adds so much to the realism.
    I want to wish you the best of luck in your cancer fight. The tools available today to fight this terrible disease are numerous. This time 2 years ago I was recovering from colon cancer surgery. I had just started my HO layout a short while before my diagnosis. After a few days in recovery, when my brain was functioning better, i did a lot of thinking about what I was going to do next on my layout and it sure helped pass the time. some days, I only may work on my layout an hour or so, some days more and some days less. BUT I do try to do something every day.
    Again, best of luck to you and please send in more pictures
    .Roger in Kansas

  17. Brian Rockey says:

    Jeff, that is one of the best painted backdrops I’ve seen in the many years that I’ve been modelling. The scenery that you have merged into it is just brilliant – very well done.
    Loved that market stall Mike – amazing detailed vegetables. Well done.
    Best to all.
    Brian, Wokingham.

  18. william janmes palmer says:

    wonderfull job live close by ?

  19. Milton Robinson says:

    Hey Mike! I’m 76 and my cancer is currently in remission. Just like me, you still find time to enjoy our great hobby. Hope your future is long and bright.

  20. Rod Mackay says:

    Good luck Mike, we’re rooting for you!

  21. Rich B. says:

    This is really well done (1st shown) also and with the blending in of existing railroad feature. Believe what makes this successful is with the frontage, depth/distance just making appearance through it. Draws your eyes to see what’s on other side beyond I’d say…

    2nd RR scenery is well executed also, maybe too well detailed with distance. Not my call. Buildings with both are top-notch.

    Could look at these all day, Rich

  22. TJK says:

    Nice layout to both Jeff and Mike. All the best, wishing you a steady recovery.

  23. JC says:

    Hey Jeff,
    I like how you are blending things together and creating depth to your backdrop. It’s really looking good.

    Your layout is looking great too. Keep at it and stay positive. You got this and you can rest in the fact that you have folks praying for you.

  24. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Mike…… I am in remission from cancer…….you can win. Prayer are with you. And by the way, Love the market scene.

  25. Sam H. Maryland, USA says:

    That’s some background. I can’t imagine all the work that goes into just that, not counting the layout it self. Both of the displays really make me envious of the skills and talent displayed here.

  26. Nick K, UK says:

    Jeff – Great backdrops! Not sure Bob Ross could do any better. Nice job!

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