Freerails Home 
Freerails > Model Railroad Forums > Scenery > Illuminated Backdrops

Freerails IS ACCEPTING new Members ... To join Freerails ... See how to Register as a Member in the 'Joining Freerails' Forum

 Moderated by: .  

Joined: Thu Aug 21st, 2008
Location: Colorado USA
Posts: 222
One of the layouts I've always been inspired by is the "Wharf Street" Sn2 layout by Bar Mills Scale Model Works. I found on their site last night several shots of it along with a page or so description of different facets of the layout.

The layout is absolutely beautiful, but what really surprised me the most was the use of an "illuminated backdrop". He mentions it towards the end, but it can be more easily seen in these two photos:

So my question is -- what in the world!?!? I've been into model railroading for years now and haven't ever seen anything like this. I'm assuming the idea is that the glow on the backdrop gives the scene more depth? Any other reasons?

And what would be used for the actual light part of that? The first thing that came to mind was those LED strips that you can get on ebay (like this:

Anybody know any more about illuminated backdrops?

Herb Kephart

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Great modeling, lousy backdrop effect.


W C Greene

Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8253
Well, I think the backdrop looks OK, my buddy Mopman has a far better one and it doesn't have any exotic lighting effects. But then maybe I am prejudiced. Poor old me, I don't have any backdrops, just trees and Muj's house.


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 244
The low lights behind the scenery I've seen a number of times, but usually used for either sunrise, sunset, or night effects. Not so mush a daytime effect as on the Bar Mills layout, where the effort in those pics goes a bit un-noticed.

Have seen blue rope lights used for a night time horizon glow, or a dark orange rope (or paintd fluro even) for nice sunset/sunrise glows coming over the horizon.

Its other use is to try and wash out backdrop shadows from the main light source, created by foreground trees and structures, but I've usually been able to work around this problem with the backdrop painted to suit where those shadows might fall.

Dan Pickard


Joined: Thu Dec 29th, 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 108
The principle is commonly used in theatre, where a 'ground row' of profiled scenery masks your lighting battens that up-light your cyclorama, or back cloth, to give you varied effects, including sunrises and sunsets, and other effects. It gives an added dimension when carefully used.

Always worth looking at theatre......

UltraBB 1.172 Copyright © 2007-2016 Data 1 Systems