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.

January 28, 2016

Diorama backdrop - Wolfe Street

Wolfe Street on backdrop
I finished the second portion of the backdrop tonight. This part of the backdrop depicts Wolfe Street.  I didn't have any good prototype images showing what buildings look like in this area, so I relied on the Bird's Eye view.  I drew the structures in Adobe Illustrator and composited the scene in Photoshop. I added the slight hill that leads to  Lee Street. Once it was printed and cut out, I added finer texture such as grass, weed, ruts using pencils, water colors, and acrylic paint.

Using a piece of flex track to mock up the loco works siding.
The actual siding will be hand land on wood ties.
An earlier attempt at painting a track extension on  a backdrop
The last remaining backdrop task is to paint the loco works railroad siding on the backdrop as it heads to Union Street. The test image below shows approximately where it will be. The final placement will wait until I get the actual track installed.

This is a very tricky backdrop interface to paint. I've done this once before and it works well, but only from one viewpoint- straight in. So one needs to use view blocks to prevent looking at the interface from oblique angles.
Laser Cut Pieces - No Mistakes!

I also started building the loco works. Again, there are no good photos except the Bird's Eye view. The ACW era QM Map shows the dimensions of the building's footprint, but no other data. Using those dimensions and the Bird's Eye view, I drew up this plan.

In a laser cutting first for me, the first draft of the building had no mistakes. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!

I quickly glued the parts together to see how it fits. I plan to use texture paper to add the bricks to this building. We'll see how that goes.


  1. Bernie, regarding the brick textures, do you print your own, or source them from a vendor? If the former, do you create them from a photo?

    1. I think I made my own from textures I found on line images.