Layout Progress #8

Sometimes advice can be so obvious it can feel like a chore giving it, but I am going to do it as I made a monumental cock up in Six Quarters and that is DO YOUR BACKSCENE BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY BUILD THE LAYOUT.

It seems obvious right? Yeah it does. How I wish I decided long ago on what the backscene plan was before tearing off and doing everything else.

My sister had planned to do the backscene following a change of thought against a plain grey wall, but when she saw how much had been done on the layout she shuddered and said she would do it on a bit of paper and I could stick it on. This terrified me as so much was already on the layout it would be super obvious that I had stuck this extra bit of paper down. Also she is super busy being an adult so it was some way off.

As I often do, I had a brain wave, a brain wave so clever I instantly impressed only myself. Of course I would do it, what I mused could possible go wrong?

Well it surely would go wrong, but my sister’s planned bit of paper would surely cover up my monumental cock up? What I did not remind myself was the last time I drew anything was when I was 7 and I sketched myself flying a spitfire over Dover Castle. No one could tell that from the unfathomable drawing, but that is what I meant it to be. It lived on the fridge until it was ‘accidentally’ binned circa Summer ’95.

So armed with some charcoal pencils and a £1.49 coloured pencil set I went for it. The brief was a backscene that took your eye off the stark grey but did not mean a viewer would shout ‘WTF?’ when he or she first looked at it.

My darling wife who can criticise me for walking down the stairs in a certain way looked at the layout and shouted said ‘SO WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME?’ which is the biggest compliment, trust me if it looked outrageous she would of said and she did not even notice until I pointed it out, then I think she even said she liked it.

However at 1500 I nearly took the layout outside and set fire to it as I was not happy, but since then I have dragged everyone into the spare room (post man, milkman, man in the wardrobe) and they have all said that in a impressionistic way its not obvious. Also Chris likes it and was dead against any rash burning. So following are some photos of it with it’s new backscene, some new weathered wagons (put a wash on the 21 ton hoppers), some waiting to be painted Knightwing bits AND some progress on the left hand side.

Note also the new pile of scrap metal (I really need to remove the flash line on the drum)

The reason progress has kicked off on the left hand side is I finally managed to make it to Pete’s workshop to get cracking on the building, we did not do as much as we thought we would as we chatted and procrastinated a lot. However at least I know the size of it.

In terms of locos at the foot of this post is a fixed up 08 shunter. The only model to get smashed in the house move over 2 years ago I managed to fix it with Plastikard and turn it VERY industrial.

And thank you folks, we hit over 10000 views this week. That is incredible as really this blog is a load of nonsense.

Backscene as a ‘whole’


New metal pile and backscene



Washed wagons and Knightwing loader


Zoom on the finished (well painting at least) Hornby new 21 tonner
Waste ground taking shape next to the hole. That car won’t live there, something more evil will.
Pete’s Workshop


Industrial 08 takes shape – Bits from RT models as always
Ignore those bent rods…

11 Replies to “Layout Progress #8”

  1. Olly,

    Do like the backscene, there is a moody subtly to it that hints that things are there without actually depicting them, so no burning is the plea from me.

    10,000 hits in a week; you don’t think it is because you describe it as “proper model railway porn”…………….???

    1. That might be the reason?! I forgot about that. I had a look at the backscene this morning with fresh eyes and it was not as awful as i had feared yesterday. I am really looking forward to Manchester…

  2. Really like how the backdrop turned out. There’s this amazing tone that washes a mood completely across the layout and subtly fades into the backscene without any apparent border. I love the effect. Well done.

  3. I’m going to add an accolade as well. It’s a small change, but the addition of something indistinct out there really anchors the layout in the landscape. Without, it seems to float. Nice work.

    Part of your success, that others (me?) could learn from is the use of colour pencils. These would have enabled you to control the intensity in a way that you might have found challenging in paint.

    I don’t think it’s obvious that the backscene should be completed before the scenery in front. The two need to tie together to make a pleasing composition, both in shape and more importantly in colour.

    Also, I must say I enjoy the humour in your writing. It sounds effortless, but I’m sure it isn’t. 10K views in a week? It’s deserved!


    1. Rene, lovely words as always. 10k a week would probably make us A list celebs! That 10k is for 2016, which is double 2015s figures which I think shows how popular wordpress and modelling blogs in general are growing in popularity.

      In terms of the pencils, when my sister had looked at it she talked about paint and blending etc. I have no idea about painting, and I was seriously worried it would look quite bold and defined. I knew though that with pencils I had two options, one that ultimately I could rub it off with an eraser and two it was the only medium I knew I could smudge colours together using nothing more than my thumb. Which is what I did. Then there was a frustrating gap between the ‘drawing’ and the scene where there was lumps and bumps which pencils would not go over. I tried to touch this gap up with some dark grey from Tamiya and realised if I did this between the scene and the drawing it gave the impression of distant trees, you can just about see that paint line in the photos. To make it all ‘blend’ in the end I put some MiG ‘industrial city dirt’ powder lightly brushed over the top.

      I certainly agree about your words about the backscene, however I could of made it a whole lot easier and no stuck so many things to it!

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