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Version 5 of The CB&Q in Wyoming

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  • Member since
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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, October 22, 2020 7:20 AM

I would leave that backdrop just as you have it. Looks great! The amount of fields in the foreground of the backdrop create the necessary depth to convey the vastness of the prairie. Don't sacrifice ground for sky in this case.

Also, you will be quite pleased that you converted your turnouts to spring loaded turnouts. I have Peco spring loaded turnouts on my new layout, and I love them.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, October 22, 2020 8:37 AM

I agree with Rich.  I think the backdrop looks fine.  To me, the amount of ground venturing "up" from the benchwork is consistent with how much ground you would see "across" the horizon when viewed at the angle you would be viewing the backdrop.

The third dimension of depth...along the plain.... is projected vertically in our two dimensional backdrops.  Can't get around that.

Reminds me of when I would drive east on the Chicago Skyway back to Indiana.  A high bridge over the (Calumet?) river provides a view to the industrial buildings below as well as Lake Michigan.  From the high angle looking down, and with no variation in the color of Lake Michigan and the solid clear blue sky to provide a point of focus, a quick glance made it look like a wall of water many times higher than the buildings was approaching the shore.

Took me a few seconds to realize that I was looking down and across miles of water, not at a tall vertical wall of water.  That wall of water shrank as I decended down the bridge until it disappeared when I reached ground level.

Edit:  Taking a second look, maybe the backdrop could benefit from a little less ground (field) between the tracks and the mountains....making the backdrop a little shorter....depending upon how high that second deck is and how tall you are. 

A quick way to say it:  IMO, the horizon line is the point where the field meets the base of the mountains, and the horizon line should be close to eye level, and never higher.

- Douglas

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Posted by Lakeshore Sub on Thursday, October 22, 2020 10:28 AM

Hi Mark,

I'm with everyone else about trimming off the bottom to get the foreground scenery closer to scale.

I did try your technique with the panoramic picture on my cell phone and i like what I got.   Have to get it printed out yet, but looks really nice.  Thanks again for the explanation.

Scott Sonntag

 

 

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Posted by NorthBrit on Thursday, October 22, 2020 11:15 AM

Some good answers by other members.

IMO  if you want the skyline to be far away then you need as much land as possible.    

Obviously shorten the land area brings the skyline closer.

Which is best?  I think only you can choose.

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by selector on Thursday, October 22, 2020 2:05 PM

Judiciously crop maybe the closest 20 feet of grasses, in scale, but that lower angle is so much better to me. Then, think of a blind, or a sub-backdrop, whether buildings, hedgerow, other vegetation, the odd taller tree, to take the eye away from the backdrop’s base where it joins.

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, October 24, 2020 9:59 PM

Thanks for all the different thoughts, everybody!

Oh come on, Bear! Haven't you ever seen a 30' tall barbed wire fence before? Just imagine the amount of meat you get from a cow that makes you build a fence that high! Dinner

Dave, I think your observations were spot-on. It looked even more out of whack in person than it did in the photos.

Rich, Douglas, David, I appreciate your thoughts. But from a standing perspective, the ground rose too much. And those out of scale elements near the bottom just had to go. Paradoxically, reducing the height of the backdrop seems to have the effect of pushing the mountains farther back into the distance. When I'm standing, the track is near my chin level, so the horizon just a few inches above that just feels right.

Scott, I'm glad the panoramic photos on your phone look like they're going to work out. Be sure to share your results with us!

Selector, The track is maybe an inch from the backdrop along the wall over Casper, so there's not much room for anything else in front of the backdrop, except at Hudson and the curved areas of the backdrop. There I'll add some 3-D trees and other shrubbery, and maybe one or two of those giant cows.

24 October 2020

So with the backdrop trimmed to final shape and temporarily installed, I took a few more photos to see how it looked.

Here's a train sitting in Hudson:

Looking along the wall behind Casper:

The train along the wall:

And looking at an angle at the nose of the train:

A couple days ago I picked up some hardboard (Masonite) for the fascia. After I permanently mount the backdrop I may install it, or I may do the scenery along the wall. Scenery shouldn't take too long since there's only 4" wide to scenic (counting the track!). After that I'll plan to tear it all down again to move (Ever since high school -oh so many years ago! - every time I start scenery I always wind up tearing it all down to move Sad).

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, October 24, 2020 11:07 PM

Hi Mark,

I think the backdrop looks pretty good! I agree with your comment that it makes the mountains seem further away.

Pruitt
After that I'll plan to tear it all down again to move (Ever since high school -oh so many years ago! - every time I start scenery I always wind up tearing it all down to move ).

Say what?!? Are you planning on moving again?Huh? Please clarify.

I hate moving! I haven't moved in the last 33 years and I don't plan on moving until I absolutely have to. Ideally it will be in a pine box!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, October 25, 2020 10:50 AM

hon30critter
Say what?!? Are you planning on moving again?Huh? Please clarify.

No, but it always happens right after I start scenery. Every time I start scenery!

W-A-Y back in high school (1970's) I actually more or less finished some scenery on a model railroad.

And that was as far as I ever got with scenery. After that...

In Washington state in the early 1990's I got some hardshell finished and then had to move (no digitized photo of that one).

In Merchantville, on Version 2 of the layout, I was beginning scenery in late 2008 and early 2009. Then I was transferred by my company to South Carolina. 

After retiring and moving back to New Jersey and working happily on Version 4 of the layout, in 2019 property and state income taxes were jacked up over $2000 a year in 15 months, so I moved again.

So given this history, I'm expecting to have to move again for some reason. I hope not, but hey...

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, October 25, 2020 11:50 AM

25 October 2020

Here's a short video of a train on the tracks in front of the new backdrop.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Monday, October 26, 2020 3:32 AM

Pruitt
Just imagine the amount of meat you get from a cow that makes you build a fence that high!

Gidday Mark, The thought of a medium rare T bone of that SIZE works wonders with the Bears taste buds, Dinner the downside being to cross the paddock to bring the beast in, you’d require waders, (just in case!)Ick!
 
I hope you’re pleased with the back drop; I certainly would be.
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by ChrisVA on Monday, October 26, 2020 4:40 AM

Your printed backdrop is amazing! If you can post more details on  the process for this, it would be great.  

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Posted by Lakeshore Sub on Monday, October 26, 2020 9:15 AM

Hi Chris,

 

Mark had given me the directions on how he did it in a differenet thread.  Here are the directions.

 

Hi Scott,

 

This will be rather underwhelming (and long), I'm afraid.

First I photographed the area I wanted to make into the backdrop. I used my Galaxy Edge 7 cellphone camera. It's surprisingly good - 12 megapixels. I took about 200 photos, most just normal shots, but a dozen or so in panoramic mode. I'd never used panoramic mode, so I was learning as I go.

Then I went home and loaded all the pictures onto my computer, where I could see them on a larger monitor. I could see that many of them were not very suitable.

Next I downloaded some photo stitching software packages - the free and trial versions. None of them worked very well. I got blurry mish-mashes of the individual photos, none of which were at all suitable.

At this point I was pretty disappointed. I thought nearly the whole photo trip had been a waste. Then I decided to take another look at a couple of the panoramas.

I put them aside at first because they all came out looking like this:

(I shrank this way down from its original size - it was a bit over 12,000 pixels wide!). The files are large - about 33 MB for this one, with a total of over 24.5 megapixels. 

I didn't think this would be at all suitable - the road on either side is the same straight road. The panoramic function on the camera distorts the picture tremendously in the foreground.

Then I realized I didn't need - or even want - the near foreground. I wanted a section that began to the right of the "stop ahead" sign to the left, over to just before the road enters the picture in the right, and from slightly above the mountains in the distance to about the base of the post of the "stop ahead" sign. 

So I opened the panoramic photo in MS Paint (I was a bit surprised Paint would even open it) and cropped the image as I described above. I then blew up the resulting picture so that the height would just fit vertically on a landscape-orientation sheet of 8 1/2 X 11 paper.

Then I printed it out. It took 13 sheets of paper. I cut off three of the four edges - top, right side and bottom at the edges of the image. I left the left side (on all but the left-most page) so that I would be able to line up the next image to the left on top of the page, and using clear tape I aped them together and to the skyboard.

I didn't do any image manipulation other than described above. The 12 megapixel camera resolution makes it possible to blow up the image by 2-3 times without significant pixelation of the image, even close up.

Next I'm going to take the image down to a large-format printer company (FedEx Kinko, maybe) and have the entire thing printed off on a single roll of good quality paper, at their highest quality print setting.

I'll carefully trim off the sky, then use spray adhesive to mount the backdrop to the skyboard. I'll probably do reversed images on either side of this one, which will give me nearly 30 feet of backdrop!

My last step will (probably) be to dullcoat the entire skyboard and backdrop to eliminate any glossiness in the sky (it's really cheap blue paint) and on the backdrop.

So in summary - cellphone camera in panoramic mode and MS Paint (about the most basic image software there is) to manipulate the image. That's all there was to it.  

 

Scott Sonntag

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, October 26, 2020 11:51 AM

Pruitt
Here's a short video of a train on the tracks in front of the new backdrop.

Hi Mark,

The scene looks amazing. I think that the ratio of train to ground to sky is very well done! You have made very good use of the long stretches of wall!

I'm glad that you were being tongue in cheek when you made the comment about moving again! Dianne said yesterday that she would consider moving to Barrie to be closer to our son and daughter in law. I like the idea of being closer to our family but I hate the prospect of upgrading another home just to take 20 minutes off the drive.

Keep up the good work! You are an excellent modeller!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, October 26, 2020 7:49 PM

Thanks, Bear!

Thanks Chris! I hope the explanation Scott posted helps.

Scott, thanks for reposting. You saved me from having to do it.

Thanks Dave! I just wish I were half the modeler the pictures apparently make me look like I am. In real life it's probably a bit underwhelming.

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Posted by ChrisVA on Thursday, October 29, 2020 6:24 AM

Thanks for posting the details of how you created the backdrop! Yes it was helpful.

Another question: What software are you using to create your layout schematics?
Thanks!

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 29, 2020 8:23 AM

Pruitt
I just wish I were half the modeler the pictures apparently make me look like I am.

You are too modest!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, October 30, 2020 11:11 PM

ChrisVA
Another question: What software are you using to create your layout schematics?

Chris, do you mean my track plan, and the images from that? I use CadRail for the track plan, and export sections of the plan as .jpg files when I need images. Sometimes I alter those a bit with MS Paint, but not often.

30 October 2020

I got the backdrop permanently installed a couple days ago. Big thanks go to my friend Kurt, who helped with handling the long backdrop sections. Yeah

I wound up using wallpaper paste rather than spray adhesive, because the paste allowed me to adjust the position a bit as I went. With the spray, there would have been no chance to make adjustments, and I'd have wound up with a wrinkled mess! No photos, since the backdrop looks the same as it did in the earlier photos.

So then I turned to other things. I started switching all my turnouts to over-center spring operation. I'm doing a few at a time, as the mood strikes. Here's a couple at the base of the yard throat that have been done. I'll either paint the newly-exposed part of the headblock ties and the throwrods, or I'll simply remove them.

I trimmed the hardboard to five inches tall and installed it on the CNW benchwork:

I removed one section today and painted it. It's sitting aside until the paint's dry. I'll reinstall it tomorrow or Sunday. Anybody care to guess what color I'm painting it? Big Smile

Also today I installed the tracks for the icing platform in Casper:

I'll be extending them another foot or so for the longer track, and bringing the shorter one even with it. That will give me a six foot icing platform, which is enough to handle 24 cars at a time.

And here's every reefer on the railroad parked on the icing tracks.

I'm gonna need to get a lot more reefers on the line!

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, October 30, 2020 11:58 PM

Pruitt
Anybody care to guess what color I'm painting it? 

How about bright pink with yellow polka dots? No eh!?!

Seriously, I'm guessing that you intend to use the wall colour but I'm wondering if that will make the scene look too 'thin'. I think that the raw masonite adds some foreground depth to the scenes. It is close to the colour of the scenery which I think is a desirable effect. If you want to paint it, perhaps some sort of lightly varied effect that mimics the prairie grass colours might work. Maybe even add in some foreground details like fence posts or a dirt road in a couple of places. Ultimately the choice is yours.

My 2 Cents

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, October 31, 2020 12:05 AM

I would have to agree with Dave that the Prairie Grass color would probably be a good choice mixed with the dirt color a little bit as you should

 

And with that said, I am finally hitting the rack at High NoonWink

 

 

TF

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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, November 1, 2020 2:19 PM

1 November 2020

Sorry to disappoint, but no polka-dots.

The fascia is Bronze Green, same as the train room trim color.

My wife like the unpainted fascia better, but I wanted the fascia to act as a bit of a frame for the layout. I'm thinking of adding a thin strip of moulding at the top of the backdrop, probably painted white. Whadda ya think?

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, November 1, 2020 9:25 PM

Pruitt
Sorry to disappoint, but no polka-dots.

Oh heck Mark!! You're just no fun at all!Smile, Wink & Grin

Pruitt
The fascia is Bronze Green, same as the train room trim color.

I think it looks good, but I'll play the devil's advocate. I think the prairie grass colour would look better. My reasoning is that while the green paint matches the details in the rest of the room, you are making a model railway scene and not just decorating the room. The priority IMHO should be what enhances the scene.

Pruitt
I'm thinking of adding a thin strip of moulding at the top of the backdrop, probably painted white. Whadda ya think?

Ummm, nope! Sorry to be so opinionated, but I think that would cause the scene to look too narrow, just like having the foreground grass too high. Real views of the sky aren't topped with white wood molding. Let the sky speak for itself. My 2 Cents

I hope you don't feel that I am being pushy. It's your railroad. You can do what you want (and I'm sure it will look good!).

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 9:10 AM

 3 November 2020

I just uploaded my latest construction update. It's a bit longer than most of them - I did a lot of different things to the layout this month!


 

 

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, November 7, 2020 2:13 AM

Hi Mark,

I sent you a PM.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, November 7, 2020 10:35 AM

Hi Dave,

I sent you a reply.

Mark

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, November 7, 2020 7:53 PM

7 November 2020

Well I bit the bullet and started on real scenery today! (I'll probably get an eviction notice or something tomorrow).

Using Celluclay as the base with a couple different colos mixed in, this is the result of about 45 minutes' work:

It's about 18 inches of "ground." To the left of the track are what are supposed to be dried ruts from where a MOW truck passed on a very muddy road.

We'll see how it looks tomorrow, after it's dry.

  • Member since
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Posted by "JaBear" on Sunday, November 8, 2020 2:40 AM

Mark, I am going to have to stop following this thread! My TV is hooked up to my computer so I can sit back in comfort to watch what I want but I made the mistake of watching your latest video update when her-in-doors walked in and also sat down and watched. At the end she said, and I’ll paraphrase, “Wow that’s amazing, he certainly has done his homework, when you start your layout, is it going to look as good?!!”

I don’t think I can live with the stress of her expectations!!

Cheers, the Bear.Sad

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, November 8, 2020 4:48 AM

I made the mistake of watching your latest video update when her-in-doors walked in and also sat down and watched. At the end she said, and I’ll paraphrase, “Wow that’s amazing, he certainly has done his homework, when you start your layout, is it going to look as good?!!”

Well, how long are you going to keep us in suspense, Bear, is it going to look as good???   Huh?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, November 8, 2020 11:40 AM

Bear, why stop reading the thread? Just stop watching the videos. LaughBeer

And please tell your significant other thanks for the compliment. Just keep in mind - the camera doesn't see all the warts.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Monday, November 9, 2020 3:06 AM

richhotrain
Well, how long are you going to keep us in suspense, Bear,

Gidday Rich, how long is a piece of string?Smile, Wink & Grin
richhotrain
is it going to look as good??? 
Probably not, my current inclination is that the first bit of the layout will be a yard on a peninsular, so no backdrop.Whistling
 
Mark, I really shouldn’t be such a woose, and be thankful her-in-doors supports my hobby!
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

 

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, November 12, 2020 11:47 AM

Hi Mark,

I sent you another PM.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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