A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

October 29, 2009

Potomac Creek Backdrop

I skipped ahead of track laying to paint the backdrop behind the Potomac Creek. The scene is too deep to reach from the aisle, so this section of the backdrop must be painted before the terrain forms are installed.

I used some prototype photos to get an idea of what to paint. I made a quick sketch to layout the overall scene based on prototype photos of the area. The four trees in the painting were actually shown in a prototype photo. The wood piece visible in the photo is the stand-in for the Potomac Creek bridge. The track will be about 12 inches off the river bed in this scene, about 60 per cent of actual height.

Next I adjusted some of the clouds on the backdrop, actually getting rid of some I had painted earlier.

Then I started painting the trees and ground with acrylics. I painted a lot of tree stumps and brush on the ground, as the troops and construction crews heavily logged this area for lumber and firewood. In the foreground I used some brighter yellow toned down with earth color to add grass detail. In general I painted the backdrop trees a little bigger than before as I didn't want this scene to look like a deep mountain valley. It's really just a sharp ravine in some rolling hills.

Next I need to paint the creek and the hill on the southern side of the creek. The creek will flow from the right to left on the backdrop, appearing from behind a ridge on the southern side (south is to the right on my layout.) When it transitions from the backdrop to 3D scenery it will meander back to the right, under the bridge. The complexity of this scene is really what lead me to hand paint, as I was not confident that I could achieve this level of perspective and view control with the printed backdrops. However, I plan to try the printed backdrops again on other projects.

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