Great Model Railroad Backdrops

A well thought out model railroad backdrop is an essential part of landscaping that should not be overlooked. Here is a guide for a choosing the best background for your train.

One of the blunders I have seen over the years is when a modeler has a beautiful train layout with lots of attention to details, and a backdrop that looks almost like an afterthought. It really detracts from the whole look. Don't fall into the trap of a haphazard background for your railroad.


Do It Yourself

Great Model Railroad Backdrops

You don't have to be a skilled artist to be able to paint your own landscape, but you do have to practice. If you decide to do it yourself, start by practicing on poster board until you are happy with your technique. Be sure to choose the right colors to give a seamless transition from 3-D to 2-D. Pick a spectrum of greens, browns, and greys that reflect the colors of the ground foam products you already use for your ground cover and rocks.

You can keep the background fairly simple and still achieve a great look. You basically need three elements: hills, sky, and trees. The hills should gently slope upwards and downwards, and they will be speckled throughout with various trees. The sky above will of course need clouds, so research pictures and basic cloud painting techniques online.

Use Digital Photos

If you have a flair for photography, you can create a custom backdrop using your own digital photos. Head to the great outdoors and find the right scene that you think would be an appropriate background for your trains. Set your camera up on a tripod to stabilize it and then take a series of side by side photos, taking care to capture the entire landscape. These can be printed onto wallpaper and adhered to the wall with paste. The results will be stunning. Be sure to ask for mildew resistant wallpaper.

Panoramic Wall Murals

A third option is to use panoramic wall murals scaled to the appropriate size for your railroad. These are professional photographs printed onto wallpaper or vinyl wall banner material. You can choose from cityscapes, mountainscapes, or scenes with rolling hills. Be sure to measure the length of your layout so you aren't left short. Again, if you're going for wallpaper, use mildew resistant.

You've spent countless hours on your model railroad. Invest a little time and finish the look of your entire layout with a great model railroad backdrop. Not only will it complement your existing scenery, it will be a grand finishing touch that really completes your railroad.

Great Model Railroad Backdrops

Find panoramic murals or create custom wall murals from your own digital photos on mildew resistant wallpaper at