This topic may be one of 1st impression. I never heard of it before, but the concept makes perfect sense.

I recently purchased a backdrop of an urban scene with a bridge over a body of water and with blue sky and clouds. It's a very nice backdrop. However, where I want to put it is in an awkward place. Specifically, it is behind the washer dryer in the laundry room in my basement were a main line crosses a bridge, over a body of water, on one side of which is my Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and on the other side is the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. So the body of water would be the Harlem River.

I will give you before and after pictures.

This is before:

20191130_104023

This is after:

20200222_124733

IMO, the style or type of layout one has determines whether what I have done with the backdrop works. Since my layout has Postwar tubular track and 022 switches and many Postwar accessories, almost everything on my layout is a caricature, not a scale model, of the real thing, including my homemade baseball parks. With such a caricature style Postwar layout, I think my backdrop works.

I've very interested in what other Forum members think of my kitbashed backdrop.

What did I do to kitbash it? Since it was made of presentation paper that was easy to cut with a scissors, I cut it to fit in the spaces where I mounted it using double stick tape.

Have any of you folks ever kitbashed a backdrop? If so, I would love to see how yours turned out.

Incidentally, I have additional pieces of  the original backdrop that I can mount in other places on the layout.

I will post additional pictures and videos of  the kitbashed backdrop later on in this thread.

Arnold 

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari
Original Post

Arnold,

I like the backdrop and think it is a huge improvement. Is it a photograph of New York City? Let's see the part behind the left side of the erector set bridge.

I have resisted putting backdrops behind my two layouts, although they would improve any photos that I take. I don't want to disturb, paint or hang anything on the walls. And, if I mount a backdrop to the rear edge of the table, track cleaning will be more of a nuisance than it already is... So - no backdrop.

MELGAR

Have you given any thought to applying blue and white paint to the copper plumbing to help it blend into the sky? Wrapping the black piece with brick paper to simulate an industrial smoke stack?  John in Lansing, ILL

20200222_124807

Mel, the above photo shows the backdrop to the left of the Erector Set bridge.

I don't remember if the backdrop specifically shows a NYC scene, but I don't think so. When I ordered it, I said that I wanted the backdrop to show an urban scene with a body of water and blue sky with clouds, and that a NYC scene with those features would be ideal, but not essential. Then, I was shown about 7 or 8 backdrops, and picked this one. I'm very pleased with it.

Incidentally, when I initially cut the original backdrop into pieces to make it fit, I initially thought I butchered it and that my kitbashing (maybe I should call it "backdrop bashing") effort was going to be a failure. However, I struggled with it for a couple of hours, tried different things, until finally settling on what is shown in the photos. 

Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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rattler21 posted:

Have you given any thought to applying blue and white paint to the copper plumbing to help it blend into the sky? Wrapping the black piece with brick paper to simulate an industrial smoke stack?  John in Lansing, ILL

John, I had not thought of your ideas, which I think are very interesting. Thank  you for sharing them. I will mull them over. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Here is a video showing a diesel freight train passing my Yankee Stadium, crossing the bridge with the new bashed backdrop, passing my Polo Grounds, and crossing the bridge again:

Mounting the backdrop was not easy. It involved putting a wooden board on top of the washing machine, climbing on top of the washer and board and kneeling on it while I threaded the backdrop between the wall and the pipes. This involved pulling the pipes a tiny bit away from the wall so the backdrop could slide through. While doing this, the thought occurred to me, what on Earth am I doing, I hope I don't break the pipes and cause thousands of dollars of damage to my house! LOL.

I also had to kneel on top the washer and board, and on top of the dryer, to apply the double stick tape. All this kneeling was not easy on my knees. Also, this is an example of how it helps to be a bit of a contortionist as a model railroader, crawling under tables, squeezing into tight spots and, in this case, climbing on top of things. I am very grateful to be able to do this "model railroad yoga" at the age of 68. LOL.

Notwithstanding a few challenging moments, it was fun doing this project this morning.

Arnold

 

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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20200222_144554
Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Terrific, Arnold! I guess you have to be old enough to remember Bronx/Manhattan, Yankees/Giants in the 1950s to appreciate it fully. But that includes me!

MELGAR

MELGAR posted:

Terrific, Arnold! I guess you have to be old enough to remember Bronx/Manhattan, Yankees/Giants in the 1950s to appreciate it fully. But that includes me!

MELGAR

Thank you, Melgar.

My only recollection of the Polo Grounds was the Mets playing there in the early 1960s, not the NY Giants beforehand. I chose the Polo Grounds for my layout because it was just across the Harlem River from Yankee Stadium, and so close to the Sedgewick Avenue Station on The Put. 

I do regard Willie Mays as arguably the greatest baseball player of all time. Growing up as a child of the 1960s in the NYC metro area and obsessed about baseball back then, the greatest of all was either Willie, Mickey and the Duke, as the comedian Billy Crystal says.

The Yankees are in my DNA; my Italian American father's idol was Joe DiMaggio and mine was Mickey Mantle. Before the Mets, my 2nd favorite team before the Mets would be the Dodgers because of the greatness of Sandy Koufax, the charm of Ebbetts Field and Doris Kearns Goodwin's delightful book, Wait Till Next Year. But location is everything, so the Polo Grounds, not Ebbetts Field, gets the nod as the 2nd ball park on my model railroad. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

I'm old enough to remember the Polo Grounds when the Giants played there.   It was a mile to the center field fence.

 

Dennis

I'm retired. Now I work at being a pain in the butt.

I think it looks good Arnold. Not everything has to be scale or perfect in our little worlds.

I've been printing my own backdrops etc., from the interweb. With a small layout I'm not too concerned about perfection. My only limitation is the largest image I can print on my own is 11X17 unless I have them printed at Staples.

This is before on one side

2018-09-01 08.13.13

And after.

2018-09-15 07.51.18

With my current re-design on the other side I printed a couple of old factory buildings to go in front of the Ameri-towne building I'm making. I printed a larger backdrop to put behind these.

2020-02-09 16.59.582020-02-12 20.32.41

TexturesCom_Skies0325_M

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

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Excellent job, Arnold!  You certainly had to work your way around obstacles!  I think most layouts benefit with a backdrop to block out surrounding 'house' things.  The exception may be a postwar layout where the owner wants to display items on the walls to heighten the flavor of old layouts from days gone by.

I am doing something similar, but with a painted backdrop on sections of Masonite that I bought from a Forum member a few years ago.  His intent was to show the Ohio River valley with the hills above.  I won't have room above track level for the whole 4-foot high sections, so I will be able to cut off portions to fit.  I won't be using the river portion, and will be using the sections in a different order than he did.  Here is a photograph shortly after I brought them home.  

2017-11-02 11.49.45

Here are two sections that I did have cut and lined up for the mountains to match.  I slid one over the other to start moving things and cleaning up the mess before starting benchwork on the next wall.  It is tight quarters building an O gauge layout in an 11x11 room.  The other sections are leaning against the wall protected from scratching.

2020-01-09 09.46.45

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Wonderful contributions to this thread. I am now at my 31 year old son's engagement party, so I will savor your contributions and comment on them in detail tomorrow. 

At first glance, your backdrops look terrific. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Congratulations to your son and his fiancée! We are in the middle of wedding preparations for my son. He gets married in May.

Meanwhile, good work with the backdrop!

Chris

LVHR

Dennis posted:

I'm old enough to remember the Polo Grounds when the Giants played there.   It was a mile to the center field fence.

 

Dennis

Dennis, it was 483 feet.

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

RSJB18 posted:

I think it looks good Arnold. Not everything has to be scale or perfect in our little worlds.

I've been printing my own backdrops etc., from the interweb. With a small layout I'm not too concerned about perfection. My only limitation is the largest image I can print on my own is 11X17 unless I have them printed at Staples.

This is before on one side

2018-09-01 08.13.13

And after.

2018-09-15 07.51.18

With my current re-design on the other side I printed a couple of old factory buildings to go in front of the Ameri-towne building I'm making. I printed a larger backdrop to put behind these.

2020-02-09 16.59.582020-02-12 20.32.41

TexturesCom_Skies0325_M

RSJB18, I think your backdrops look great. They enhance the photos and videos of your trains and layout. Both of them are beautiful. The first one you posted blends in beautifully with the scene on your layout.

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

Mark Boyce posted:

I am doing something similar, but with a painted backdrop on sections of Masonite that I bought from a Forum member a few years ago.  His intent was to show the Ohio River valley with the hills above.  I won't have room above track level for the whole 4-foot high sections, so I will be able to cut off portions to fit.  I won't be using the river portion, and will be using the sections in a different order than he did.  Here is a photograph shortly after I brought them home.  

2017-11-02 11.49.45

Here are two sections that I did have cut and lined up for the mountains to match.  I slid one over the other to start moving things and cleaning up the mess before starting benchwork on the next wall.  It is tight quarters building an O gauge layout in an 11x11 room.  The other sections are leaning against the wall protected from scratching.

2020-01-09 09.46.45

Mark, my original backdrops I created in the mid-1990s were also sections of Masonite that I painted. That's another way to go if one either has artistic skill, knows someone who does, or is willing to learn. I learned from reading books about scenery that included a chapter on painting a backdrop. Here is a sample of a section of Masonite in the background (the blue sky, light green trees in the distance and darker green tree, all behind the red caboose parked on the siding and the trees, rowboats and scenery in the foreground) that I painted:20190709_052633

Because of my lack of artistic talent, I needed to paint the Masonite boards many times to get it right, using acrylic paints. This was in contrast to my older sister, who stunned me one day with her artistic skill. After telling her I was struggling to paint a mountain on a poster, she literally picked up a brush and painted a beautiful mountain in 5 seconds. Here it is:

20190111_062734

Mark, I think the backdrops you have, painted on sections of Masonite, are beautiful; they will help you create a gorgeous layout. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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Thanks Arnold.  I had to do something since the CEO wouldn't let me paint the walls blue

Congrats on your Son's engagement.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

It's 1927 on the Putnam Division of the NY Central.

Ten Wheeler providing express passenger service to the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium:

Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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20200222_170519

I really like what you did Arnold! I'm almost to the point where I am going to be doing backdrops. I need some inspiration.

George

For those who have not yet made or purchased a backdrop for your layout, there are several important things to keep in mind.

Whether you make your own or purchase one, a backdrop can be a very creative thing to do. Painting one is obviously creative. Finding or selecting one to purchase, and making it work on your layout, including possibly kitbashing one like I did, is also a very creative activity.

When painted or mounted, a nice backdrop can tremendously enhance the appearance of your layout and the photographs and videos of your trains running along it.

Do not assume you need artistic or technical skill to create or mount a backdrop. I was a poor or, at best, a very mediocre, student in art class in grade school. Considering this, I am amazed at how attractive my painted and purchased backdrops turned out on my layout.

I know my artistic and financial limitations, and they have not prevented me from achieving my goals related to my backdrops. For instance, I know I can paint a simple backdrop: sky with clouds, trees (both in the distance and close up), rolling hills and mountains. I learned how to do this from reading model railroad books and magazines on scenery, using acrylic paints and painting over and over again until I got it right. 

Can I paint a backdrop of an urban scene (showing a big city or houses/structures in a small town or village)? I never tried it, but I doubt it. For that, I purchased backdrops.

Most recently (during the past several months), I have purchased 2 beautiful backdrops from RailroadBackdrops.com, which is one of our Forum sponsors. I dealt with James Adams of RailroadBackdrops.com, who was extremely helpful. 

The 1st one I purchased from RailroadBackdrops.com is mounted behind my Polo Grounds:

20191112_211932

Here is a photo of the same backdrop a little further to the right:

20191113_052954

This one fit perfectly, was easy to install and was affordable. RailroadBackdrops.com, which advertises on this Forum, offered Forum members a very nice discount that I took advantage of when I purchased it.

The next backdrop is the one I kitbashed, which was the inspiration for this thread. Here are some more  photos of it:

20200222_124800

This one is a little to the right:20200223_080051

And this one a little to the left:

20200222_091440

The only reason I needed to kitbash it is because of the weird places I wanted to put it: behind the washer dryer, under and over a bridge, and in between the house-related obstacles shown in the above photos.

Again, James Adams and Railroadbackdrops.com offered me, as a Forum member, the same generous discount. Also, with this one, he went the extra mile, exchanging emails with me and speaking to me on the phone when I told him my interests and needs, which he fully accommodated by providing me with the kind of  backdrop I wanted, which was rather unique. After I spoke to him, he got back to me within a few days later sending me an email that attached 7 or 8 possible backdrops, one of which I selected.

I am a very happy customer.

Incidentally, all of my experiences purchasing from Forum sponsors, to date, have been excellent. Arnold

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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A simple kitbash of a backdrop that improves its appearance is to cut off the white border, which they usually have in my experience. Take a look at this backdrop I bought several years ago:

IMG_0162

I wish I cut off the narrow white border (that can be seen on top of the backdrop) before I mounted it on the wall. 

It is in a very difficult to reach position and it's been mounted using double stick tape for a long time, but I hope to deal with that white border by either cutting it off or painting over it. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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Additional photos of recently Kitbashed backdrop of urban scene with body of water. I cut the backdrop into several pieces to mount it around window and between the house-related obstacles:20200226_213244

20200226_213257

Arnold

 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Your backdrops look great. You did a good job working around all the obstacles. 

I really like your baseball scenes. They must have taken quite a bit of time to complete.

johnf posted:

Your backdrops look great. You did a good job working around all the obstacles. 

I really like your baseball scenes. They must have taken quite a bit of time to complete.

Thanks, John.

As I mentioned earlier this evening on another thread, the key to making the baseball scenes was good scenery materials for the grass and infield dirt (Woodland Scenics), good baseball figures (Kramer Products and Scenic Express), Popsicle sticks glued together and painted with acrylic paint for the bleachers, and chicken wire and painted cardboard for the fencing.  These items and enough space for the field is all you need to make a nice baseball field.

The front wall of my Yankee Stadium is kitbashed from a 2 stall engine house using a dremel tool. The stands for my Polo Grounds is painted bass wood cut using a razor saw. Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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