The Backdrop Question – Is Black Beautiful?

One of the main issues of micro railroading is to simulate the wideness of landscape. Hmm…how to achieve, if there are only a few centimeters in depth? If you are a gifted painter, grap brush and colors and paint your favorite landscape on the layouts rear wall. If you are not…better try a less ambitious alternative.  Ok, no backdrop is not the best choice, that´s obvious…

without-backdrop
…”Schnakenhörn” started without a backdrop…

May be a more neutral backdrop is a possibility to solve our problem? Let´s try a black backdrop. Not bad at all…isn´t it? I liked the dramatic look…but after some time I have had enough of the permanent stormy atmosphere…

backdrop-black-1

backdrop-sky-1
…”Krumme Fohre” changed from black to sky blue…

My next attempt was to use a panoramic photo as a backdrop. I am not quite content with reflections and edges, but overall (and for the moment) I like the naturalistic version more.

backdrop-black-2

KF Panorama schmal
…the same comparison..abstract or naturalistic…

The same story once more…Also “Grub am Forst” got rid of it´s black backdrop. The new one was a commercial backdrop showing a bucolic scenery. Unfortunately I wasn´t able to avoid problems with gluing. Using spray adhesive was not one of my best ideas…

backdrop-black-3

Backdrop-landscape-1
…”Grub am Forst” moved from black to blue, too…

There are two more versions left. In Europe the sky is often more grey than blue. So I tried light grey at my harbour station “Weserkai”. Looks more friendly and reminds me of a rainy day at the coast…

backdrop-grey
…grey may be an alternative…seen at “Weserkai”…
backdrop-mirror
…”Sioux Falls” – and now for something completely different: the mirror trick…

For the sake of completeness I have to mention the mirror trick. At “Sioux Falls” the mirror was used to make the layout seem longer. Ok, your choice. There is more than one way leading to Rome…

Cheers!
Alex

Save Your Time – Take A Switching Tour

Sioux Falls 2012 Signal Box

That´s one of the iconic micro layouts: John Allen´s Timesaver. Originally designed as a non-scenic training ground, the Timesaver transformed more and more into a scenic switching layout. My attempt was to build it as a small narrow gauge terminal somewhere in the Midwest of the USA. Once more I used 0n30 (1:48). The advantage of this narrow gauge scale is obvious: short trains but big scale. My Sioux Falls & Crater Lake Railroad tried some innovative techniques: a completely non-wood all-styrofoam baseboard as well as a mirror to fox the spectators. The styrofoam construct was very cheap, had a very low weight and was  – I have to admit – not very stable. The impact of the mirror trick was ambivalent: on the one hand the layout seemed to grow into the infinity, on the other hand the problem of perspective (as you can see). The trackwork was by Micro Engineering, locos and waggons came from Bachmann, all buildings were scratchbuild.
See you!
Alex