Backdrop Delima

I’ve started on some of the backdrop for the Wildcat Valley. I really think I should start at the back and work toward the front so I don’t have to reach over finished scenery. As I began researching photographic backdrops on line, I found that I could have some really nice scenery using this method. The only problem is I could no longer afford track.

Next option!! I remembered I had purchased a CD from Larc Productions which had some printable backdrops. Looking at this further, these backdrops are printed on letter size paper and butted up to each other as they are glued to the wall. There were some good looking sets on this disk, but I could not see the stitched together pictures with joint lines looking that good.

So I decided I’d have to paint the backdrop myself. Going to be a lot of work! I had painted the backdrop on my last layout and it turned out decent, but I’d need to step up my game for this layout.

Sky and Clouds First

I started by rolling on some primer, then blue paint that I thought would make a nice clear blue sky. I had watched some you tube videos on the subject and one that struck me was done using sponges to paint the clouds. I tried this on a scrap piece and decided to give it a go. This is the result.

Next I added some background mountains and trees, and it was time to retire for the evening.

The next day, I surveyed my previous day’s work and decided it needed work. I adjusted the clouds a bit, adding some gray to give them some dimension. I also modified the distant mountains to make the furthest a little more gray. Then added some more haze at the base of them. I lightened up the forest area and started adding some foreground trees.

I’ll probably go back in with some darker paint in the foreground mountain here and there to add a little more interest.

I also started working on the major feature of this area, a waterfall behind three bridges. Originally I had planned on a wooden trestle for the top bridge, but I needed a clear span of about 16 inches or 116 scale feet to cross the double track section below. Not going to happen with a wooden bridge. I ordered a Central Valley Model Works 200′ Parker truss kit which will cover the full 27 inch span I need. They were using these in the early part of the 20th century so it will fit my 1920-30’s time frame. Won’t be as dramatic, but much more realistic.

I started with plywood, up top is a creek running from the backdrop to the falls area. Added two more levels of plywood below. I started cutting and stacking foam. I’ve watched Luke Towan and a guy at Woodland Scenics build waterfalls
on YouTube a few times. I hope I can end up with something half as nice.

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