February 22, 2009

First Backdrop Installed

The first backdrop is on hand. Ken, the owner of Affordable Signs, is helping us install the backdrop. The first panel was 12.5 feet by 31 inches. Because it was so long, we needed an extra set of hands to get it in place. Alicia provided them. Once we had it lined up, we unpeeled the backing from the far right hand side by the door. We secured it to the wall using the self adhesive. That is all the glue we needed.

Then we rolled the rest of the panel back and slowly unpeeled the rest of the backing, rubbing as we went so that the backdrop stuck to the wall.

Ken used a plastic squeegee to help smooth out the backdrop. Note there is a paper tape covering the printed image. That helps hold the vinyl in place, and prevents it from stretching as you rub it on.

Here I am helping peel the backing. We used an hobby knife to trim the backing in sections as we unpeeled it.

The corner was a little tricky, as the curvature at the base was not the same as the curvature at the top. We used a hobby knife to cut two slits in the backdrop to allow it to conform to the varying curves.

Once it was secure to the wall, we peeled back the tape covering, and voila, the backdrop was up. I noticed a few spots where there were tiny imperfections on the wall, such as small bumps and grains of dried paint. These show up on the backdrop, because the vinyl is so thin. In the future I will sand the walls before installing.

It's best to install the backdrop before the track and models are present. Here I have added the pink stryofoam hill behind the tracks at Falmouth. The backdrop looks great. The clouds are especially good, much better than I could have painted.

With some still wet ballast down, we get a look at the backdrop as the scene startes to come together. Once the ballast/ground cover dries, I'll attempt to match the colors of the soil to the backdrop. The real ground in Virginia has a lot of red clay, so the predominant dirt color should be reddish brown. For the ballast and soil here, I used dirt I collected in Colorado and it needs a color adjustment. But, it has a nice texture.

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