Modeler of the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Lance Mindheim believes it’s very important that model railroad backdrops aren’t too stark, since they cover such a large surface area. For the basecoat, he uses a very light blue and stays away from the sapphire colors. The next step is to paint a very distant horizon. Objects that are further away are going to be lighter in color, so he has chosen a very pale gray to paint a horizon with slight curves. With a darker gray, he goes in with a paint brush to add in some texture to give the illusion of distant tree branches. This line of trees is darker and lower on the horizon to make it appear closer. To add even more texture, he will add an even closer horizon with steel wool. He rips off longer strips from the steel wool, brushes them with a brown paint, and glues them on.
Lance has his own custom layout building business. Allen Keller asks Lance how he got into it. In his previous occupation as an insurance agent, Lance was able to retire earlier, so he wanted to find a hobby or occupation that he really enjoyed doing every day. He goes on to describe his experience with custom building. For more tips for designing stunning model train backdrops, like how to paint an inexpensive model railroad backdrop, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.