Adding Details to Model Railroad Backdrop Scenery

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There are a number of ways to add realism to your model railroad layouts, and one of the easiest and most useful is to create lifelike model railroad backdrop scenery. With a well made backdrop, the elements of your layout appear to continue off into the horizon and convince the viewer that there’s more to the scene than there really is. In a previous video, we showed you some expert techniques for making a basic blue sky backdrop with blue and white paint. Now, in this lesson, we’re going to teach you how to apply a variety of simple details to your model railroad backdrop scenery to quickly add depth and distance.

Detailing model railroad backdrop scenery

To help you dress up your model railroad backdrop scenery and give it some much needed depth, modeler Tom Lund demonstrates proper backdrop painting on his sample layout, and introduces a few expert techniques that you can use to make your layout appear deeper than it actually is. He begins by discussing the essential goals of model railroad backdrop scenery, and then picks up a brush and palette to show you how it’s done.

The first step in using model railroad backdrop scenery to give depth to your layouts is to add background landscape. To do so, Tom teaches you the proper way to use acrylics and solid brushstrokes to create distant hills. Once you’ve painted on rolling hills that appear to recede into the horizon, you’ll learn to fill out the hillside with a variety of trees.

When it comes to most model railroad backdrop scenery, the idea is to complement the central elements of your landscape rather than detract from them, so Tom shows you how to use the stippling method to utilize model railroad backdrop scenery as supplement and not focal point. With these techniques and more, you’ll be able to create a realistic model railroad layout that seems to go on for miles!