I'm looking for ideas how to model disappearing streets/roads in an urban setting.  I'm stacking 3 different scales of building flats to create a forced perspective but need ideas how to model street scenes that gradually narrow.  I haven't found of these types of scenes offered by the various companies that make backdrops, except maybe for Scenic-King.  Would love to hear or see your ideas.

Chad

Original Post

The only way that I have seen the continuity of roads from layout to  backdrop really work is to hide the transition behind the crest of a little hill just in front of the boundary. 

Pete’s suggestion is a good one.  Also, I make my roads (and canal) wider at the front of the layout, narrowing toward the backdrop. JohnA 

Hey Chad.....here is what I did in one area of my layout that I had a roadway going nowhere. Unfortunately, it is not an urban setting.

The road crosses under two bridges and then "disappears" into a tunnel portal. I lined the road with trees to further make the scene darker and cut the roadway narrower at the portal. Putting the road and portal on an angle also helps to disguise the fact it goes nowhere. Obviously, the inside of the portal gets painted black.

The trick is to fool the eye to see what is not actually there with good placement of buildings, scenery items, cars, etc.

Hope that helps.

Donald

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Last edited by 3rail

I gipped these photos years ago for the purpose of saving what I thought was an exquisite idea of forced perspective.  Apologies to the layout owner.  But, if you inspect the photos at layout/wall transition, a pretty convincing look is achieved.

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 This area is on a narrow shelf. Where you see the transition in the road is the end of the modeled buildings. It just turned into a blue wall. I bought some flats on eBay. Really had no clue as to what I was doing. I staged everything on my kitchen table with the flats propped up, autos in place, sidewalks and such. Shot some photos.   Tried different placing things at different angles. Finally decided the best way to make the road disappear was to have an intersection. Took what I had to my local Staples and the girl there helped me out as far as getting it sized correctly. Printed it out ona heavy paper. Not great. Better looking than the blank blue wall though.

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Last edited by Dave_C
@3rail posted:

The road crosses under two bridges and then "disappears" into a tunnel portal. [...] Obviously, the inside of the portal gets painted black.

 

Yep. Excellent advice.

There is also the old "mirror trick".  This scene is flat against a wall. There is only one car:

mirror

 

 

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The California Museum of Science and Industry (now California Science Center) had an O scale diorama layout that was about three feet deep. Here's how they handled roads using forced perspective, using 1:64 cars at the rear. The road at the back of the diorama (left side of the second photo) was a chain-driven highway using Matchbox cars (1:64) moving along at a slow pace. It was a work of art, now long gone.

Post_Card_CA_Museum_Layout_1Post_Card_CA_Museum_Layout_2

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Simple hillside in a corner. First photo taken from over layout.  Viewers see front of yellow vehicle at diner:

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Last edited by wbg pete

Chad, you asked about disappearing streets in an urban setting. I have 5 in a city scene that disappear, the buildings are a mix of flats, full and partial buildings. At one end of the city the road enters a tunnel in a hillside, at two other points the roads disappear behind buildings. Consideration of building placement angles combined with possible viewing points is important to get the result.

 

 

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Last edited by AmFlyer

I am loving the replies to this whole post!

You and me both.  I am seeing some very inventive and excellent approaches to the problem.  I'm taking lots of notes!

George

I've seen for urban modeling the recommendation to have streets run at an angle and deadend to a building, as AMFlyer shows in particular in his last photo.  Dave C has a good photo as well of dead-end into a building.  Running streets at an angle makes them look longer.

I am working on a similar setup but don't have it nearly ready for a photo.  This technique is well discussed in the book "Building City Scenery for your model railroad" by John Pryke if you want to pick up a reference. I've used his book for many good urban modeling ideas.  I've attached a prototype photo I am basing my setup on that shows a real world example. (Boston, across from South Station)
prototype

Whatever you do, please post the photos so we can see the results!

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Last edited by EmpireBuilderDave

Thanks everybody for your suggestions and ideas.  My challenge is the stack of flats I'm using is just exactly that, flat, maybe a 1/4" thick, so in essence the backdrop is 1 dimensional, if that makes sense, so I'm very limited in what I can do.  The only solution I can think of is to find photos of street scenes where the buildings fronting the street gradually narrow or shrink (much like Dave's photo in the latest previous post), and sizing the photo to fit the space dedicated for the street scene that fits between the flats and the 3 dimensional buildings that will be in front of the flats.  The other idea that I've been thinking of doing similar to Donald proposed which is having the street disappear under a bridge railing or tunnel and then add building flats above that railing so it looks like the street disappears into a canyon of buildings beyond the bridge.  I've been searching for such photos online, and have found some that might work with some modification, but I'm not a graphic artist so I'm still searching.  

Again thanks everyone, and I will post photos of my final product.

Chad

 

The concept to study is called "vanishing point" - you have been shown some excellent examples - combined with point of view or perspective techniques , you can achieve the desired result

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