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Backboards - how tall should they be? - Backscenes - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 08:31 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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My new shelf layout is 3.87 metres long and 400 mm wide for half it's length and 500 mm wide in the "corner" half.  The space under the next shelf above it, is 350 mm high and there are curtains next to the narrower half.




Is there a formula which will show how high the back boards ideally should be?  350 mm seems logical to fill in the space under the shelf above, but it looks like it might be a bit tall, given the narrowness of the base boards.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:15 pm
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Wheeltapper
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Max

Before deciding the final height of the backscene I think you first need to establish what you are going to do with the scenic treatment adjoining the board . If for example you are going to have low relief buildings against the back the a different height would be needed from if the scenery was only ground level .

I am not aware of any formula - what usually dictates the height is whether access to track level is needed from the back (for example at exhibitions) but that doesnt appear to be the situation here .



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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:23 pm
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Sol
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Max, on an earlier version of the D&S, I used 8"/ 200mm high board to hide the storage -



That height should be OK for the trams.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:27 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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The layout is loosely based on our Tram Museum at St. Kilda, which is open, flat undeveloped land north of Adelaide.  There is a depot and car park, with the tram barn, offices, public area, toilets; etc.  At the other end is another terminus near the beach.  The tracks run through scrubby bushland.  So I guess that means they'll probably just be sky.  :oops:



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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:30 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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200 mm, eh Sol?  I didn't think of going that low.  It will make the layout look longer, won't it?  That's good, thanks.  I plan to make them lift off in two sections, so the reduced height will also reduce the weight.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:36 pm
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RJR
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If you plan to take low or track level picture/videos the low upward angle would benefit from a high backscene / skyline. Real sky goes up and up and up, in fact they say the sky is the limit.
Although Sols backscene is only 200mm he does have a sky blue wall behind that, where as you have a brick wall.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:54 pm
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MikeC
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I tend to think the higher the better. On my layouts the backscene was 22ins tall. At times I wished it was higher, because while it was more than adequate when viewed from side-on, the backscene quickly falls away due to perspective when taking end-on type of shots, so unless the camera is close to the backscene you'll have to crop them heavily to avoid that.

Mike

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 10:09 pm
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Wheeltapper
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If you are depicting open ground then I would agree with Sol that 9 or 10 inches would be fine for normal use . If its a photographic background you want then thats a totally different matter - one of the photographers on here would be better placed to advise,

 



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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 10:13 pm
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ddolfelin
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Impractical suggestions from Paddy McMurphy on his special day:

Knock through wall and use real sky.

Lower shelf so there isn't room for backscene.

Run trains in the dark.

Change curtains for sky blue.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 10:14 pm
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Alan
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Max

It all depends on the height of your highest building, then add some Sky, simples !!!!

But as Mike & John have already mentioned the higher the better as then all photos taken at any height and distance will have the benefit of the back-scene it all of the photo.

Ours on the HO layout is approx 28" high, this is because of the tallest building !!, but even Walnut End has backboards of 24 "

Like the look of the track plan :thumbs

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 10:44 pm
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ElDavo
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As tall as possible. In real life how far up does the sky go?

Cheers
Dave

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 11:09 pm
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rector
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If you've got the space, go high. When the OCR was located under a sloping ceiling I only had 10 inches of space. Now in the basement train room my backboards are 24 inches tall.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 11:22 pm
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Gwent Rail
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I'm with the "Tall Brigade" here, Max, as one of my pet hates at an exhibition is seeing an otherwise accomplished layout with a  ridiculously short back-scene.

On my exhibition layout the baseboards are only 12" (305mm) above the rail level, that's to allow some visibility over the back-scene from behind. On my former "never leaves home" layout, they were 24" tall, (610mm) and the landscape / buildings were much better suited and looked correct.

I've always tried to leave about 8" (200mm) above the tallest structure / hill / trees and consider anything less than that starts to affect the look of the overall effect.

As some have said, the sky goes up forever, so you can't make it too tall. paint it all blue and put in some fluffy clouds, it really does help with the overall look. 

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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 12:07 am
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xdford
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If height is the issue, then can I take a soon to be published on mremag H&T and outline a possible solution...

I made a memorial layout to a friend and made a backdrop for it using straight MDF. Because the memorial layout was an exhibition layout made from foam, placing the backdrop as a scenic block was difficult, in part because the foam gave way where the upright rods holding the backdrop were placed.
I overcame this in the end by getting a couple of plastic cotton reels and cutting them in half and gluing them in the base. The upright rods were fixed solidly to the backdrop in the location of the cotton reels in the foam base with very little give within the rod and there has been no trouble with the backdrop moving.

Doing this, you could have "several heights of backdrop"  and possibly different scenery on each one.  My home layout is about 12 inches tall and yes unfortunately I have a solid brick wall behind it but at viewing height it is OK. I had visions of being able to easily move it and possibly exhibiting it. So far it has been easily moved around the shed in different spots as well as two different rooms in the house! Oh well!

St Kilda has a lot of big sky once you have looked upon the mangroves which I presume are still there... the Adelaide hills are a bit far away from the coast area there...  maybe an Adelaide Parklands type scene could be an alternative background? 

Good luck with it Max!

Regards

Trevor


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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 03:18 am
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Marty
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Newcastle Emlyn's backboards are 600mm above baseboard "mean sea level". Lots of room for hills and sky. bigger is better in my opinion.



cheers



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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 06:47 am
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ddolfelin
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I expect you already know but a cheap hot wire cutter would cut down on the 'snow', Marty.
Good woodwork by the way.

Yes - tall backscenes for me too.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 06:54 am
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MaxSouthOz
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Thanks for everone's input.  I think I'm dithering because I've never had a shelf layout before.  The consensus seems to be that I should get as much as I can, so 350 mm will be the go.  Much appreciated. :thumbs



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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 07:24 am
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Marty
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ddolfelin wrote: I expect you already know but a cheap hot wire cutter would cut down on the 'snow', Marty.


Yup, thanks... haven't tried a hot wire cutter yet but it's on the list.

After discussions with the domestic goddess (sigh, yes dear) the current method sees me with blade in right hand and a running vacuum cleaner nozzle in the left. A re-useable vacuum bag dedicated to the railway room keeps the cost down.

It's quite effective and still allows me to carve the shapes I want.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 07:41 am
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ddolfelin
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They are very cheap, Marty.
I have a super-dooper type with a trigger instead of a button for about £5.
I've fitted it to a transformer but they work perfectly well off batteries.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 07:47 am
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ddolfelin
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This is an example.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Hot-Wire-Cutter-for-Polystyrene-Foam-terrain-scenery_W0QQitemZ400099391350QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Toys_Wargames_RL?hash=item5d27c83776#ht_994wt_941

Sorry to hijack, Max.



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