Backdrop Part 1

Another productive weekend of layout building in the books.  I didn’t spend a lot of time on the layout, but the time I spent was productive, which is arguably better than spending a lot of time and getting nothing accomplished.

I finally decided on my backdrop material and height.  I’ve gone with 0.060″ Styrene sheet, and 30″ (approximately) in height.  When the foam is laid on top of the plywood surface, the backdrop will be more like 29.5″ above ground, but the 30″ height from the benchwork top gives me approximately 6″ above the backdrop of room wall.  I chose the height as my benchwork surface is quite high, at 59″ above the floor, and with some of the taller buildings and smokestacks in the industrial area, a lower backdrop may not always have been behind the buildings from normal viewing angles.  I am looking at some track lighting options to move light better around the room than the single fixture does for when there isn’t enough sun coming through the skylight, but I won’t be installing a valance from the ceiling or anything to mount lights to hanging over the layout, so the tall backdrop also helps complete the room.

IMG_6067.jpgEDIT: Picture I forgot originally, the two sheets rolled up in the back seat of the car for the trip home. Thankfully 4×8 sheets of styrene roll, as they wouldn’t fit in the car otherwise!

I went to a local plastics store Plastic World on Saturday and bought two 4’x8’ sheets of 0.060” thick styrene.  This is enough for all my backdrop with plenty to spare, but the full size sheets just barely leave me enough room to cut them in my layout room.

IMG_6081.jpgTrim nailed into the wall to provide support for the strene sheet. Don’t need a crazy huge structure, just enough to support the weight and hold it against the wall.

To install the styrene, I installed a framework of 5/16 x 11/16 baseboard trim on the wall, and glued the styrene to this.  I could have nailed or fastened the styrene to the wall directly, but the frame will be easier to pull off the wall and do less damage than if the styrene sheet was glued directly to the drywall.  Someday I’ll either want to take it down and build something different, or have to take it down to move, and I want the walls to be as easily fixed as possible.

For now, I am not putting any backdrop behind the staging traverser.  I know that is going to create a potentially harsh transition, but it is something I can re-visit in the future if it needs better blending into the layout.  I am still contemplating a series of 4′ long shelves in that corner above the layout for displaying more rolling stock from the collection on. That probably tells me I have too much stuff for display only, but for now at least I’m keeping the option open.

IMG_6083.jpgFirst 8′ length of backdrop including the curved corner in place.

It’s gotten too late to be hammering into the walls of our townhouse and bothering the neighbours, so for tonight I’m done with installing backdrop.  Another 8′ section will get me down the wall to the corner I boxed in earlier this week, and the fiddly bits of installation there.  I am hoping to have the backdrop up by next weekend when I am already planning on painting the two walls in each of our bathrooms that aren’t wallpapered that need a freshen up and some patching from the previous owners of our places poor workmanship (the towel rails were put in by someone with no concept of what a drywall anchor is and the drywall is wrecked and the rails are barely holding on!!).

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