Friday, 13 December 2013


The selection of a backdrop method was made easier when Trevor Hodges posed his trials on his Blog 7mm Aussie on Word Press. The depth achieved is illustrated by the before and after photographs below which were copied from the Trevors blog with the article confirming the selection of photographic backdrops supplied by Haskell Models for Spicers Creek over any dreams of using painted backdrops. 

Mock up backdrops at Morphet Station [Trevor Hodges]

Mounting the backdrops.
The selected backdrop for the Spicier Creek is Barinore which will provide the best match to the tree line seen at Spicers Creek. These can be seen on MRRC web site - click here

The backdrops are printed on self adhesive vinyl which can be applied directly to the cove incorporated into the module and if you use the sky supplied this would be quite acceptable. However the size of the cove and use of a painted sky precludes this and based on previous experience a backdrop looks at its best when a shadow line is created and this requires mounting on a backing. This has another benefit in that it allows the backdrop to be reused on another layout.

The best material for a backing is 5 mm foam core and when it was found that it was available in black the choice was made.

To fit the vinyl place the foam core on a floor and start applying the vinyl  by removing about 30 mm of the adhesive covering and fix to the foam core. Next slowly roll back the covering to expose another 30 - 50 mm of the backdrop and using the palm of the hand to rub it onto the foam backing. The backing is rolled up and it supports the exposed adhesive before application to the backing.

Stop ever 250 - 300 mm and rub the area to ensure complete contact with the backing and repeat the above.

Once complete, cut the backdrop free from the sheet and flip over to fit the spacers. These are cut from scrap foam core. The first one is about 100 wide and is used to join the two sheets into one assembly. Using a new sharp [dangerous] 25 mm wide box cutter blade remove the unwanted portion of the sky by cutting into the mountains on the backdrop. Based on experience smooth flowing cuts following the printed mountain profile looks the best. Attempts that try to follow the printed profile exactly seem to always end up looking fake. At the base 40 mm was left extending beyond the backdrop as this allows the scene position to be adjusted in the module to achieve the best visual integration.

Spacers cut from scrap foam

Then about every 400 mm vertical spacer are added to the backing for the full length of the assembly. These spacer create a shadow when fitted to the backdrop and this enhances the appearance of the backdrop assembly when mounted on a painted sky. These should be about 20 mm short of the top of the mountain line.

The adhesive shown in the photographs is 3M adhesive tape 50 wide x 0.5 mm thick - hot melt works well here also.