Backdrops and Wiring

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Backdrops, Design, Wiring
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Backdrop
Since the layout is in a closet, the backdrop was simple – at least to design! I didn’t have much choice. Walls surround 3 ½ sides of the layout with an opening in the middle of the front for the hinged closet doors. This is an unaltered part of the house structure so the backdrop is actually dry wall painted blue. I wasn’t picky about the blue – I had about a quart left over from painting a bedroom. I think it turned out pretty good.

Forming the backdrop is a combination of photos and building flats. These are layered in combination with full 3-D models to produce a density worthy of a crowded urban area. Each subsequent layout forces your eye to stop and focus at different depths, taking time and thus reinforcing the concept of depth to your brain. Standard forced perspective and selective compression techniques were used.

The photo backgrounds are various ones I found on the internet and printed on a color printer at work. Home printers produce good enough quality, but the one at my work was cheaper because of the ink. The skylines are of several different cities, but they ended up matching quite well. I had a lot fun searching on the internet for the different photos to use.

I attached the printer paper to the wall with … Scotch tape. Keep it simple and have fun!

Look for more details in an upcoming post on scenery.

Wiring
I love Robert Smaus’s wiring for his Port of Los Angeles layout. Something to the effect of “Two wires to the tracks. That’s it. It took me about two minutes.” I’m in the same camp. With such a small layout, I would most probably only be running one engine at a time. Also, I’m not ready to go the DCC route because of the cost. I have a bunch of DC equipment so the choice is easy. After initial wire up to get trains running, I did go ahead and divide the layout into blocks so I could have two on the layout at one time. An Atlas Connector did the trick with standard common rail wiring to break things into 3 blocks. A second cab can be easily added.

Since this won’t be part of a club layout (I didn’t build to any common spec and there is only a single mainline), I didn’t have to conform to any standard so I kept it simple. If I expand in the future, I plan on using some sort of modular wiring scheme with multi pin connectors between the modules. For now this is easy enough and meets all my goals.

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