Since my last post the main activity on the layout has been painting. I have given the fascia a coat of black, which really help to define the edge of the layout and frames the scenery nicely. I have also decided it was time to make a decision about which way to go with backdrops. I gave serious consideration to a photo backdrop. I think a very well done photo looks great, but if it hasn't been done well it can draw attention away from the modelling and not look so good. I discovered getting a good photo isn't as quick and simple as taking a few quick snaps with the digital camera. You also need good software to merge them all together, and what I had would only let me make a panorama 3 metres long.
So I decided to get some brushes and paint and have a go at painting my backdrops. My reasoning was that if it didn't work out I could still cover them up with a photo.
You can see my efforts in the photo above. My aim is to have a simple scene that doesn't have a lot of detail, but still leaves no doubt that you are in the hills of southern NSW. I have used artists acrylics in previous attempts at a backdrop with mixed results. I found it hard to mix colours accurately especially if I wanted to come back and touch up previous work.
The Modelling the Railways of NSW convention this year had a presentation by Ray Pilgrim about how he paints his backdrops on his layout Bylong. I was unable to attend but I was able to buy a copy of the notes. Ray recommends using Jo Sonja background colours. They are designed to cover large areas and I can recommend them as well. I have found them easy to work with and they give excellent results. They can be a bit hard to find (especially here in the country) so I mail ordered mine from Art Materials who also sell useful stuff like Celluclay, sculptamold and Copic markers. I used some of the artist acrylics I had to add highlights and shadows and I am pleased with the results. I won't win any art prizes but I am happy with how much depth they add to the scene.
This vista shows that scenery should soon be happening and I am currently trialing different techniques for the hardshell. I look forward to reporting the results in a future blog post.
Looking good, those Jo Sonja paints just seem to spread forever don't they. One thing that you must be careful about (first photo) is not to have hills that are too 'pointy', as when viewed along the layout, they will look like the Swiss Alps. Low and gentle is the way as per photo 2.
Ray, thanks for your comments. It is amazing how much a small amount of the Jo Sonja paint will cover. I hadn't noticed the pointy mountain until you mentioned it - rolling hills are definitly the way to goDelete
The effect of the backdrop and fascia in the room is really nice. Being 8500 miles away, I have no idea what NSW landscapes are like, but they look great to me. One of the advantages of the paint over the photo is that it might blend more 'naturally" with the modelling. I've always enjoyed the cover photo on your blog, and I think that shows what happens when you have a good blend of scenery, trains and backdrop.
thanks for your thoughts. I think you make a good point about blending modelling and backdrops. Hopefully I can get a good blend on the parts of the layout that I am building.
A splash of colour and this all starts to pop to life. Rolling distant hills look pretty good, and the black fascia neatens things up nicely. That second pic makes for a nice view down and around the bend. This must start to feel more fun and creative than track laying and wiring!
you wouldn't believe the difference a bit of colour framed by black makes to the layout. You are right this is much more fun than track laying and I can't wait to get some hills built and trees planted
Well done. Your choice of a photo backdrop is perfect for that stuff. This is an extremely practical presentation that gives great examples of how to have a great railways model.ReplyDelete