How to Make a Model Railroad Road Disappear

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One of the greatest tools of the model railroader is forced perspective. The illusions you can create with proper scaling and the right angles are seemingly endless, and these illusions can often be essential for a realistic model depending on the scene and space constraints with which you are working.

An important illusion that expert modelers use regularly for both urban and rural scenes is the disappearing model railroad road. The road doesn’t really disappear, of course, but rather leads into the backdrop and fades to a point on the horizon. This technique offers a number of unique benefits to your scene, particularly taking the problem of space constraints and making it a non-issue. Because we think this little trick is so handy, in today’s lesson we’ll teach you a bit about the methods necessary for making a perpendicular model railroad road disappear into the backdrop to give your scene depth and authenticity.

Disappearing the model railroad road

To help you learn the proper technique for making a perpendicular model railroad road disappear into the backdrop, expert modeler Tom Lund gives you an inside look at one of his recent scenes. In this model, Tom leads a model railroad road from the city out toward a hillside in the country, where the tarmac vanishes from view. To do this, he demonstrates the concept of forced perspective and scaling in regards to foreground and background objects.

As part of his explanation, Tom uses telephone poles and a perpendicular model railroad road to show how you can utilize in-scene figurines and a painted backdrop to achieve the illusion of a disappearing model railroad road that continues off into the sunset. To close out the lesson, he talks about a couple ways you can use forced perspective on your model railroad road to create a similar effect in a downtown city scene.

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