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Painted Eastern Mountains on the Backdrop

December 11th, 2008 · No Comments

Painting Backdrops for your model railroad

After reading most of the "How-To Guide" Painting Backdrops For Your Model Railroad by Mike Danneman and published by Model Railroader Books I decided it was time to tackle the next step on my blue backdrop. I took notes and also made a list of paints and brushes I needed to ensure I was up to speed on creating my mountain scenery. So with the list in hand I went to Michael's Arts and Crafts supply store Sunday afternoon and returned home with a mission, about two hours later I had my first layer of mountains chalked in and painted for the west and south sections of the lower deck.

Earlier in the week I had also printed out some images of Eastern mountain ranges including the Appellation and Blue Ridge mountains and applied them to the back of a large piece of foam board for reference material. Driving back from our Thanksgiving vacation through I-40 through the mountain ranges just east of the Smoky Mountains got me fired up and inspired to get the ball rolling with the backdrop. While I did not get to capture some images of the rock outcroppings I did get some ideas from one section of mountain where the outcroppings were at 45 degree angles and layered with sections of soil and rock. This reminded me of the technique some folks use with ceiling tiles, this will be the focus of another section of the layout scenery that I will used to help blend in the backdrop in a future project. All the reason more to get the backdrop started and finished sooner than later. I had already set up the backdrop months ago and painted an initial layer of sky blue and even put in a few clouds, now it was time to put in the mountains.

Following guidelines from chapter four in the book on painting Eastern mountain backdrops I first took some chalk and marked up a general outline of where I wanted the mountains to fit in. Starting from the bottom and working from the closest mountains I chalked in lines for each range, finishing with the distant and smaller appearing mountains. Then using some of the original latex blue sky paint I added a small bit of Payne's gray acrylic paint to darken and town down the blue slightly. Starting with the most-distant-mountains I used a number 8 round brush and stroked in the four or five distant mountains.

Then with the same paint I added more Payne's gray acrylic paint with the addition of some Hooker's green and a touch of Cadmium blue and hint of black, all the added tints are acrylic paints. Then I started painting in the next closest mountain ranges on the backdrop. Once these were done I went onto the next range of mountains and colors.

At this point I added more Hooker's Green some more black and some Cadmium blue and stirred it up really well then painted in the next-closest range. I ran out of paint on this range and had to start up a whole batch of sky blue and then finished the foreground hills with a deep green color that consisted mostly of the latex sky blue some Hooker's green acrylic, some Cadmium blue and a hint of black.

The finished results were captured the next day after all was dried in the images below, click on images for a larger view.

Background Image 1
Background Image 2
Background Image 3

The next step will be to add more detail on the foreground ranges with trees and scenery. Incorporate some scenery/backdrop transitions and then some work on the clouds should round out the backdrop project for this section of the layout.

Tags: Details · Fun · History · Model Railroading · Prototype

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