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.