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.

March 20, 2012

Backdrops for Potomac Creek Station

Potomac Creek Station in coming along

I finished painting the backdrops for Potomac Creek Station. My intention for this area is to show a fairly extensive Army camp.  There is also a road leading into the backdrop that will feature a long line of soldiers coming to the station.

I first had to touch up the base sky color because  plaster and paint splattered it during scenery construction. Then I added a distant low line of white haze and clouds. Next came the terrain. I prefer to paint the terrain on the backdrop when the base scenery has been installed. That allows me to match the colors better.

I paid particular attention to the perspective. I avoided placing any large objects on the coved (curved) part of the backdrop. That helps avoid distortion when one views the backdrop from an oblique angle. It also makes the corner terrain look more distant.

To depict the forest on the backdrop, I used some of my model trees as a guide. That way the trees on the backdrop will look like the 3D modeled trees. I continued the road on the backdrop being careful to match the colors and get the perspective right. Adding a corner where the road hits the backdrop helps manage the perspective. I was very happy with the way the road turned out. The transition is quite effective.

Here is the scene with some of the unpainted trees back in place.

Overview of the scene in progress. Platforms, supplies, tents, log cabins - much more detail still to be added.

For the scene behind the encampments I used some prints from Brain Kammerer's artwork. Because there was a swale in the terrain I need to leave extra paper under the printed art to avoid an unsightly and hard to disguise line. This way the paper extends below the point where the model terrain hits the wall. Then I used my paints to blend the print with the foreground scenery. I can't say enough how useful Brian's artwork  has been. Thanks again to Brian.

To create the illusion of a bigger camp. I used a scaled down photo of my model huts on the backdrop.

I built just 7 model huts. I laid them out in a company street. Then I  took a picture of the huts looking down the street. I printed the photo, cut it out and put it on the backdrop on top of Brian's artwork. Voila - 7 huts just became 14.

I printed Brian's background scene at a smaller scale making it look  further back.


  1. Bernie, great work! Not only you do a great modelling job but you also paint very nice. It blends in very well.

    You inspire me a lot! Keep up this great modelling.

    Grtz from Holland,


  2. Bernie-

    Beautiful job blending the various components of the backdrop- very effective. The 7 huts into 14 trick really works well, as does everything else in the scene.

    Tom Patterson

  3. Very nicely done. Great job blending.