I've never painted a Backdrop before...

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by EngineerKyle, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    Hi Crew,

    Well, my latest project involves refreshing a depot scene and adding a backdrop to it. Looking at my mirrors, I decided I needed to start redoing some sections of my layout. They may be fun and useful… but the mirrors do present one BIG problem. I’ve been reflecting on how to fix it, procrastinating, really.

    The problem is they show the unfinished edge of the table in their reflection. As you can see, I even stuffed colored cloth in the crack. It’s finally time to improve this. First I had to remove the structures. This depot made a nice impression, but I’ll have to freshen it up.

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    The area is stripped of trees, buildings and such, and vacuumed.

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    I found some scrap gator board that had an irregular shaped hole in it from a mountain project. This worked for the backdrop.

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    I hope this works. Ideas on how to paint and/or install the backdrop would be appreciated.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Not sure I understand - are you looking to make a better tranisition to the mirror? Or replace the mirror entirely?

    If you want to replace it completely, you can try 1/4" masonite, 0.060" or thicker styrene, drywall or whatever.

    There's a great tutorial in The Academy (link in my signature) on painting clouds by Gavin Miller. Definitely look it up if you are painting sky on your new backdrop.

    If you want to eliminate the "visual gap" the absolute best way is to get a mirror with the reflective coating on the front of the glass. Unfortunately, these kinds of mirrors are very expensive and prone to damage, since the reflective part is not proected by the glass. One other way to hide the gap might be to have the hill rise up, and then drop a few inches before it gets to the glass. I think this would take a bit of planning/experimenting to look right though - otherwise you'd end up with a funny lookin' double row of hills...

    Hope that helps.

    Andrew
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    How close is the mirror to the back of your layout?
  4. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    Russ and Mason,

    Thanks for your interest. I want to make a better transition to the mirror and the edge of the layout is no more than a centimeter from the face of the mirror. I never really liked backdrops. If a shadow is cast on them the affect is ruined. However, if I only put the sillouette of a hill on the mirror, like I am planning; I'm afraid the refection "on the far side of the hill" would really look off.

    Hmmm......
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    This just occurred to me...

    Why don't you paint right up onto the mirror? It would help to minimize the transition, and it would stop some parts of the layout being reflected. Perhaps adding to the illusion that the landscape continues, rather than is simply a reflection of the foreground. Extend your hills/landscape right up to the mirror, "soften" the junction with some trees or other irregular shapes, and then paint more trees on the mirror...?

    I have no idea if this will work...! ;) The part(s) of the mirror that are unpainted would be roughly equivalent to "open sky". I don't know if this would be useful or not - maybe by the time you did this, you might as well have put in a standard backdrop...?

    Andrew
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I would use a bit of 2 sided tape on the mirrors to mount a backdrop painted on something like foam core board. If you don't feel comfortable trying to do a mural for your backdrop, just painting it a solid sky blue color would help. You really don't want a highly detailed backdrop to draw attention away from your trains and scenery.
  7. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    Mason,

    I thought of that.... paint on the mirror seems pretty permanent if I screw up. I went with foam core like you suggested Russ.

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    I'll ballast while I'm in there. Note I'm trying the balllast AFTER some landscaping. I got spray paint on the mirror.

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    Now that ballst is more or less looking good, I'll spray it all down with some 91% alcohol....



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