I stared building a new tinplate layout after Thanksgiving last year.  After I finished laying track, I figured that the backdrop was the next task since buildings and other scenery are closer to the table edge.  I have close to 120 feet of wall that requires a backdrop.  My criteria included relatively low cost and not too labor intensive.  I started by picking a sky color and painting the walls.  The ceiling has recessed lighting that gives the impression of a lighter blue at the bottom and darker blue at the top.  The lighting effect eliminated the need to spray while haze near the bottom of the sky.  I copied Charlie Comstock's method of clouds, they turned out great!  The pictures don't render the blue or the clouds properly - the blue has more color and the clouds really look three dimensional.  I have two airbrushes that were my Dad's - a Binks wren and a Binks raven.  The clouds were airbrushed.  Three colors were used for mountains of varying distance.  Highlights and shadows were added with the airbrush, the tree effect was stippled on with a brush, and I finished with a few yellow highlights.  It turned out much better than anticipated and only took about six weeks.

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Thanks for the kind words!  I was trying to get something near the eastern mountain look and at least came close.  The cantilevered shelf isn't as strong as one with legs, but the room looks less cluttered and I have a "no storage under the layout" rule.  I am not too heavy, so the table will support my weight in the areas that are deepest.  I am planning on making a temporary leg that I wedge under the front edge for the rare instances when I want to get on the layout.

Here are three intermediate pictures - one after painting the three mountain colors, the second after adding highlights to the far mountains and shadows to the closer mountains and the third after stippling dark green.  The sky color is much better than the pictures show.

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I had not used an airbrush before painting my backdrop.  I have done a good bit of furniture finishing and a few cars with various type of paint guns, but not airbrush.  You could probably accomplish something as good or better without an airbrush, but you would need different techniques.  I am an amateur at painting backdrops - a mechanical engineer by trade.

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