Hide Holes with Model Railroad Landscape

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When building a new model railroad scene, you may encounter a situation where your track must travel outside the backdrop. This might be because you want to create the illusion of a tunnel or you need to change levels for some reason. No matter why you want to put in the hole in your railroad backdrop, it’s important to be able to cover that hole so it doesn’t distract your viewers or take them out of the scene.

There are a number of ways to cover a hole in a backdrop, including using structures such as industrial buildings to completely block the hole. While this often works for urban scenes, it’s usually unrealistic to have a warehouse on a hillside in the country, so for this kind of situation we have to utilize something else. Our favorite option for rural scenarios is to “plant” common model railroad landscape to make it seem as if there is no hole in the backdrop. In this video, we teach you how to use model railroad landscape items such as trees, shrubs and undergrowth to hide those unsightly holes in your scene.

Simple patchwork with model railroad landscape

To demonstrate the proper technique for hiding backdrop holes with model railroad landscape, expert modeler Tom Lund walks you through the step-by-step process for hiding a hole caused by a track switch over in one of his scenes. First he shows you the hole that he needs to patch, which takes up a fair amount of blue sky backdrop, then talks about the layout of his scene and some of the challenges you might encounter while completing this patch.

Also in this demonstration, Tom introduces some of the standard “hiding” materials you can find at your local craft or hobby store, including common model railroad landscape components, and shows you how to glue them into your scene with regular tacky glue. Items such as tall spruce trees are excellent for taking away attention from the higher parts of the hole, but it’s important to fill in the spaces around the trees with groundcover, undergrowth and other model railroad landscape implements to ensure the trees look natural. With Tom’s expert tips on hiding backdrop holes, you’ll never have to worry about whether that gap is noticeable. Here’s a hint: it won’t be!