MRA Editors

Using Model Railroad Scenery to Disappear Roads

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Duration:   6  mins

Forced perspective can be one of the most useful tools the model railroader has at his disposal. You can add a great amount of depth to your scene and create impressive illusions with proper angles and well placed model railroad scenery. These illusions are often necessary for building a convincing model if you are working with a scene that calls for the model railroad scenery to “disappear” tracks, roads or other pathways into the backdrop.

One important illusion model railroaders often use for rural scenes is the “disappearing” road. There are a number of unique benefits offered by this technique, which we’ll learn about in today’s lesson.

“Disappearing” roads with model railroad scenery

To help you make an angled road “disappear” into your backdrop with the help of model railroad scenery, expert modeler Tom Lund shows you how to use hillsides and forced perspective to give a gravel road in the scene the illusion of trailing off at the horizon.

In order to do so, Tom first talks a bit about the concept of forced perspective, and then demonstrates the best technique for using model railroad scenery such as rocks and hills to hide the end of the gravel road in the scene. Of course, the road doesn’t technically end, because thanks to a little paint on your backdrop, it follows the hills off into the sunset.

In previous videos, we’ve introduced some simple methods for painting model railroad scenery that adds depth and intrigue to a scene. One such method is the stippling technique, which allows you to quickly introduce greenery to your backdrop to give the illusion of a grouping of trees or forest. After you’ve painted a hillside vista onto your backdrop and led the gravel road from your model railroad scenery toward the horizon by way of forced perspective, Tom shows you how to use a stiff brush to make the “disappearing” act seem a little more natural. With his expert advice, you’ll be able to make any road disappear!

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