Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Fred’s been back in touch – thsi time he shows us how to paint clouds on model railroad backdrop.

“Hello Al just a few pics of the backscene and and Mt Wilbury.

This was a bit an experiment and trial and error. The wall of the shed is is boarded inside and insulated with XP’s foam then covered with thin polystyrene wallpaper liner.

This is then with covered homemade gesso( PVA ,granite dust , white emulsion) this for the base then various fillers and model paste applied with paint trowels and brushes.

The basic ideas were sketched with watercolour pencils and blended in, when I was happy with the look I’d leave it for a couple of days.

When next going into the shed I’d see how it grabbed then made changes as required, when fairly happy with it then applied acrylics with brushes sponges and trowels sometimes mixed with more filler and gesso.

The foreground rocks and plaster, modelling clay and real stone and rocks.

So far so good there is still a lot to add and maybe alter what still doesn’t take my fancy.

A long process but a real challenge.

Anyways many thanks for your postings many of us find these little nuggets of information most helpful.



Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

A huge thanks to Fred for shwow us how to paint clouds on model railroad backdrop.

What I love about it is it’s a really good way to add some personal touches to your layout. With a bit of practice, anyone can paint clouds. And as Fred has shown us, it looks great.

If you missed his excellent making trees tutorial, it’s here.

And Ken has done a backdrop painting tutorial too.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own layout.



19 Responses to Paint clouds on model railroad backdrop

  1. Brad Bourne says:

    Love your unique look, and where this is going is anyone’s guess. But I can’t wait for the next post! You have fascinating skills and ideas. Thank you for the peak.

  2. Bill Wiles says:

    Thank you for your photos and descriptions. Have to start yetbut lack of space hinders proposal of what I would like to do.

  3. J S Friedman says:

    Your backdrops are a creation of dreamscapes. How wonderful for isn’t model railroading all about combining imagination/dreams with the practical limitations of human skill to create form and function.

  4. Bill Holt says:

    totally AWESOME !

  5. Jeff says:

    What I love about this is that it just proves that what everyone wants to get out of a train display can be anything your imagination dreams up. I think it’s great to see things like this with so much imagination. I love the backdrops and the castle is very cool! It gives me ideas thinking I need a castle on my eventual layout now!

  6. george zaky says:

    I watched your video over and over then had to see the tree video to get a better indication of who you are. You are an artist and creative genius. To me this is what it is all about. What do you call it? Modelling trains, train layouts, ???
    There are those who bought stuff and very handily and creatively assembled a layout that really looks nice. Some great ideas come out and there is a lot to be admired.
    Then there is you and some others that are so outstanding and it comes out as pure artistry. Again what do we call it- Trains on a pallet, a canvas with trains, sculpting with trains? To create such stuff is a talent so I am going to call it ” Modelling Art Club” MAC. Dont get me wrong, guys in the HOF belong in the MAC and there are others but I jump when I see art, imagination, creativity and then trains.
    And a big thanks to Big Al
    Be safe and well
    George from LI, NY
    I would rather see creativity by someone who like me who is gorilla fingered, half blind, and shaky then a display of Woodlands stuff.

  7. Graham Smith says:

    Fantastic sky there Fred, very ‘Turner-esque’ in style, and I can almost see John Wayne driving a stagecoach round the mountains. Also loved the tongue in cheek ‘mini Mount Rushmore’ by the tunnel entrance. Is there a secret code for which politicians the heads are?
    All very ‘avant garde’ and a great reminder of the fun side of model railway building and not to take life too seriously.

  8. TOO COOL,awesome!!

  9. Rob McCrain says:

    This backscene is the most original I have ever seen. Such artistry. The 3D effect gives it such depth. It really pulls you into the scene. I love the use of materials too, mixed media really works to create a land and sky that makes a huge impression. How clever it really is. Bravo, Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  10. Bob From Towson says:

    FAR OUT MAN!!! Thats how things looked to me in the 60’s !!!

  11. Erick says:

    That what mines is going look like.!!!

  12. Mike Childs says:

    Tremendous backdrops Fred! I wish I had your imagination and talent.

  13. Charles Eyster says:

    There is definitely no shortage of diverse raw and advanced talent in this group of people. It’s such a pleasure to open each and every daily email. Thank you all for the contributions and ideas and for being a part of this global mind trust. Kudos to all!

  14. Bob with two N scales says:

    You are very artistic and creative Fred! As to the ceiling panels, no one has even attempted a guess how you have created them…and I won’t be the first! So how have you magically created a mysterious sky?
    Bob from the US with two N scales

  15. Tim says:

    That takes backgrounds to new heights. What fantastic use of your God given talents. Simply awesome!

  16. Walt says:

    Absolutely amazing backdrops!
    Thanks for the work!

  17. Peter Briggs says:

    Fred, this has the feeling of greatness, your foundations are awsome, please hurry nad finish so we can al see the results!!!!! No, really take your timr and have a ball

  18. Fred says:

    Many many thanks for all the great comments.

    Regards Fred

  19. Steve Baker says:

    The example of the castle in front of the backdrop is awesome – but it really needs some more appropriate lighting to avoid the castle casting a shadow onto the backdrop.

    Shadows cast onto distant objects is one of the most obvious ways to break the illusion. In general, consider lighting your layout like a movie set with “fill lights” the fill in those shadows and “key lights” that provide the main light source to emulate sunlight from a strong single direction.

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