Question on Centrally Placed Backdrops

Every now and then, MR magazine will feature a 4x8 track plan that has a curved
backdrop placed in the middle of the layout instead of along the perimeter.
Apparently, this technique helps create an illusion that the train is going
somewhere and not just running in circles. I like the idea because I was
thinking of building a layout in a midwestern setting, so using mountains or
other scenery to hide the train doesn't make sense.
The thing is, while it should look OK when you're facing it directly, I'd think
that if you walk part way around and look parallel with the backdrop, this
illusion would be totally destroyed since you can't conceal the vertical edges.
(Or can you?) Could anyone who has built such a layout comment on that? I've
never seen one in real life and the photos in the mag are typically closeups,
so I don't get a sense what looking at the edge is like.
Reply to
Loading thread data ...
I don't think these solid 4x8 layouts are a good idea. They take up much more space than that: because you can't reach 4 ft to a derailed car, you have to have maybe 2 feet clear behind it. Which turns it into 6x8 or even 6x10. or even 8x12 if you allow space in front of it.
But the biggest problem is that they are too big to be moved. Even a double bed brakes down or folds to be moved.
IMO it's far better to turn the solid 4x8 into 4 4x2 modules than can be moved individually.
You can build 1 2x16 layout along a wall, or make it L-shaped to fit a corner of the room.
Or else you can build these into a 6x6 square with a 2x2 hole in the middle. If you operate from the centre you can reach the entire layout to put derailed cars back on the track, nudge engines etc. And the layout can go go right in the corner.
Even if you operate it from the outside, the hole is still useful because you can use it to reach any derailments.
If you don;
Reply to
Christopher A. Lee
If, at the ends of the layout, the terrain, urban scenery, or whatever, rises to a significant height above track level (say 12") one does not really notice the divider when operating trains. I have a layout that is a variation on such a design and am very pleased with it. In my case, at one end of the layout the tracks pass through a "cut", with a treed hillside rising the better part of a foot to where it meets the end of the divider. However, at the opposite end of the layout I choose to curve both faces of the divider outward to meet the opposing corners of the layout. On each side the tracks enter a tunnel in a mountainside and run out-of-sight for about two feet. Of course, this "hidden" run is fully open and accessible from the back end of the layout for maintainence. This design is an ideal choice if you are modeling hilly or mountainous country (I'm doing New England) and affords a professional, diorama-like, finished appearance to the layout.
Reply to
Had a double sided backdrop on my last layout. It was made out of 2 sheets of 1/4" Masonite, glued rough surfaces together. The trick is to curve the backdrop so it becomes self supporting. The backdrop edges are then only 1/2" wide, and if painted the same sky colour becomes less-noticed if you know what I mean. Plus, if you direct viewers eyes elsewhere at the end points, it helps the illusion. Several ways of doing this, ranging from feathering the edges by use of trees that have no sharp edges, to a fine sell detailed model below the edge, and probably many others.
Steve Newcastle NSW Aust
Reply to
Steve Magee
Over the years I have seen a few of these centered backdrops that have a T or Y shape at the end, creating a short backdrop when viewed from the end of the layout.
Reply to
Ken Rice
Do you have some pictures of this layout on a website?
Reply to
To which D&Hfan asks -
Unfortunately, no. I've only used my computer to communicate with various forms over the years and never had interest in (or learned the necessary techniques for) creating websites or an online image repository.
Reply to

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.