Paint model train backdrop – Ed’s

Ned’s been touch with a paint model train backdrop post – he’s really gone to town on it and it looks great.

“We moved to North Idaho back in 2018 to retire and enjoy the quiet life. As part of my house design, I included a 24 x14 ft room in the basement exclusively for an O gage layout. The layout is inspired by the Milwaukee Road exchange and Hiawatha Trail railroad through Montana and North Idaho. I say inspired by to avoid the cranial obsession with attempting replicate Avery, Idaho – especially for my first layout. I picked O scale because I acquired our childhood Lionel trains a couple of decades ago. It grew from there.

The layout will be two levels. The upper level will be a trek through the mountains similar to the Hiawatha trail. By the way, the Hiawatha trail was converted to a bicycle “Trails to Rails” path a few decades ago. You can take a 15 Mile bicycle ride down through the mountains. The tunnels, starting with a 2 mile tunnel in Montana and ending in Idaho, are well maintained and includes traversing through or over 9 tunnels and 7 trestle bridges, very high trestle bridges.

The second (lower) level will be an interpretation of Avery, Idaho exchange where the Milwaukee Road railroad shifted from electric to conventional locomotives. While I will use most of the aspects of the exchange in the layout, I do not have the space or the experience to replicate what existed in Avery. Unfortunately, all of the aspects of the exchange were removed from Avery decades ago. Avery is about 50 miles from my house, a beautiful drive up the St Joe river.

I could not decide what years to represent or what season I wanted to present. So, I decided to include all seasons. The right wall of the room is winter and transitions from right to left to the left wall which is the Fall Wall. It will be an interesting journey. The tracks that appear in one or two of the photos is my test/learning track. It will eventually be incorporated in some manifestation into the full layout.



Paint model train backdrop

Paint model train backdrop

Paint model train backdrop

Paint model train backdrop

Paint model train backdrop:

Here’s the Pano – the actual size. Winter wall on the right – transitions right to left to the fall wall on the left.

panoramic view of model railroad backdrop

model railroad backdrop

HO scale scenery

HO scale wall scenery

Thanks to Ned.

I’m always reminded of Jeff’s post when it comes to painting backdrops:

Model train backdrops.

And Rob’s:

Model railroad backdrop.

Now on to Hall of Fame Dave:

“Hi Al,

well when I though that I had cured my track problems it started again further round the track, so bit the bullet and bought some new Peco track, taken up the Hornby Flexi which I show on here how poor it is for stability.

Pecp track now fitted, I am in the process of adding Mod rock to the banking and improving the scenics around that area.

Still got to do the ballasting and add the grass etc which I will show in my next video.



dave model railway

model railway bridge perspective

model railway

Dave’s previous post is here if want to get up to speed:

Track for model trains.

A big thanks to Dave and to Ned for his Paint model train backdrop pics and narrative. Very much looking forward to an update already.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

model train answers

14 Responses to Paint model train backdrop – Ed’s

  1. Claus (Pinetown, S. Africa) says:

    Ned, if you ever get bored with the RR, you definitely could settle as an artist. Wow. Absolutely stunning backdrop. Keep posting pics, as you go along.

  2. Brian Rockey says:

    Blimey Ned! That backdrop is sensational – brilliant work.
    Best to all
    Brian, Wokingham, UK.
    (GWR – Grandpa’s Wonderful Railway)

  3. Rich B. says:

    Blockbuster today, can see a twist with backdrop concentration and this really pays off. Trains… who’s looking lol. And Dave, just a masterpiece. He’s way advanced beyond just running a RR. Don’t think there’s any better and sets the standard for the more elaborate systems…

    Just wonder what all that unused space below and above these works could other be used for and then the garages?? Same boat here but I’m closer to eye level 4×8 w/yard extension. Yup, chairs, rubber tile, some shelves, cable boxes and spools. Perfect for junk collection. But wait, am using things now I’ve held on to for half-century or so.

    Rich, Regarding

  4. Brian Olson says:

    Inspiring! Especially like the underpass shot, adds even more perceived depth to the scene.

  5. Michael Hoover says:

    Thanks for the beautiful memories of Idaho. I was stationed in southern Idaho in the 70’s & 80’s. Your backdrops and layout reminds me of the beauty that’s in Iday. Especially in the mountains. Keep up the good work. Thanks again, my friend.

  6. Rob McCrain says:

    Lovely painting of your backdrops. Your skill and imagination are to be admired. I wish I could paint as well. I was particularly attracted to the bridge reflected in the water.
    I am certain you will get your track problems solved. Best of luck with it.

  7. robert dale tiemann says:

    really nice set.very nice terrain. really nice job.

  8. Mike Balog says:

    Ned: Your Background Painting are Totally OUTSTANDING… AMAZING Detail; and Realism is Just Photo and Museum Quality. “Bob Ross” would be Proud. How much time did it take to draw and paint each section of your background boards? Did you do these from actual photographs of the areas ? Wish I could Paint as well as you do. And other people consider me to be an “Artist”…. Can’t wait till you show us details of the layout build along with the background would be a great share on your part. From Middle of New Hampshire, New England, U.S.A., ~ Mike.

  9. Bob From Towson says:

    A regular Van Gogh !!!!

  10. Steve Ruple says:

    Ned, you are truly an artist, I wish that I had half of your talent in painting. Awesome job.
    Dave, you sure do have a beautiful layout, great job.

  11. Ned Kamradt says:

    Since it has been over 40 years since I attempted any type of artistic endeavor, I purchased a small Bluetooth Projector to help sketch the scenes. The projector helped save time and allowed scaling each key element to best fit into the full painting. Most of the painting is composed of parts and pieces of photographs that we have taken here or, in some cases, I downloaded from the internet.

    I started the painting on 30 December and finished, if anything is ever truly finished, in mid February. Now it’s time to start building tables.

    Thanks for everyone for the comments and special appreciation to Alastair for his efforts in hosting and managing this sight.

  12. Jeff says:

    Just wow!!! Absolutely beautiful!!!

  13. David Howarth says:

    Thanks to all regarding my track problems …its a never ending problem a lot of us face …over the 15 years I ahve been in to this Hobby , i think i have had to attend to track problems at least twice a year …all part of the Hobby …as they say …

  14. Jim Robinson says:

    Livin’ the dream!

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