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Layout In A Box – Demo Micro Layout Project (part 9) Backscene

Scale Model Scenery Demo Micro Layout Project

Part Nine

Following on from part eight of this series in which we covered the painting of the rails to give a more realistic look, we now look at adding depth to the layout with a backscene. The choice of off the shelf backscenes has grown hugely over recent years, from the likes of Peco’s Manyways & similar backscenes years ago we are now spoilt for choice. Photographic backscenes such as our bespoke ones here at Scale Model Scenery, to Gaugemaster, Peco’s new photographic type, I.D. Art Printers & many more cover virtually every type of scenery you can think of.

Of course, if you are artistic & good with a paint brush you can paint your own. We’ve seen many truly great painted backscenes over the years. Other option is to produce a backscene from using your own photos, infact we have produced one off custom backscenes here for some customers over the years. Other companies also offer a custom backscene service with converting your photos into a backscene. The home computer & a decent printer also opens up the scope to produce a backscene at home too!

The backscene we’ve opted for is the Berwick 1 from our own range. This can be found here:  

So letsnow look at how to install a backscene to our Micro demo layout. 

Lets get started…

Most backscenes come rolled up in a stout cardboard tube to protect them, so the backscene needs to carefully extracted from the tube. Once extracted, it needs to be flatted out. Unroll the backsene out on to a flat surface then place some heavy books on top to help flatten it out. It’s best leaving the backscene a couple of days with the heavy books to flatten it. 

Many backscenes come in sections which allow for easier installation, like the Berwick 1 we are using that comes in two sections.

In the image right can be seen the backscene being flattened out prior to fitting. 

Next job is to trim down the backscene to fit the height of the rear back board. First we cut a way the bottom white border & the left hand white border from the backscene. Next the height of the back board was measure & the backscene then marked out with the cutting line to suit the height of the back board. Use a long straight edge to act as a guide when marking out the cutting line, remember the old saying ‘measure twice cut once’.

For cutting out use a pair of decoraters scissors & take your time whilst cutting the backscene.

 For fixing the backscene into place we recommend using some wallpapering tools, these being wallpapering smooth over brush & wallpapering seam roller. These help smooth out any lumps should them appear whilst fixing the backscene into place. These can be picked up in DIY shops, tool shops, decorating centers, Argos, Wilco, supermarkets, Ebay, Amazon amongst others.

The glue to use for fixing the backscene in place, comes down to personal preference as to which one to use. We use the excellent Deluxe Materials View Glue which is purpose made for installing backscenes. It has a good working time which allows the backscene to be repositioned if needed, it also dries wrinkle & crease free. SMS team members have used this glue with excellent results on our own personal layouts.

The glue can be found here:

Other glues to look at is wallpaper paste such as Solvite, 3M spraymount amongst others.   

With the backscene face down on a flat surface, apply a thin even layer of View Glue to the non printed side. Make sure that you go right to all the edges. 

With the backscene face down on a flat surface, apply a thin even layer of View Glue to the non printed side. Make sure that you go right to all the edges of the backscene with the glue. To hang the backscene, start at one end & line the edge of the backscene with the edges of the back boards. Use the smooth over brush to flatten the backscene against the back board & also smooth out any air bubbles. Work the smooth over brush on the backscene into the corner & then out of the corner.

It’s important that when taking the backscene out & away from the corner, that it finishes perfectly straight at it’s other end. Otherwise when the next backscene section is added, it’ll run off at an angle which will really show by the time it reaches the other end of the layout. This is the last thing we need as it’ll spoil the effect we’re going for.

When placing the next section of the backsceneup to the first one, make sure the images on both backscene sheets line up with each other. Once the second backscene section is glued into place, run the wallpaper seam roller over the joint between the two sheets. Any overhange of the second backscene at the other end of the layout, trim the excess off to fit.

With the backscene face down on a flat surface, apply a thin even layer of View Glue to the non printed side. Make sure that you go right to all the edges of the backscene with the glue.

For the openings for the track to gain access to the fiddleyard boards, we need to make an opening in the backscene. Mark out on the rear side of the opening a X. 

Then cut on the X mark lines so you get four triangles. The bottom triangle remove completely  as shown on the right.

You may need to apply more glue to the rear of the three remaining triangles. Then fold & glue down as shown in the photo right. 

Leave the backscene a day or so to allow the glue to fully dry. In the photo on the right the completed backscene can be seen after fitting. You also may notice that the yard along the front has started to receive it’s black ballast. More on that in the next part to follow…

Part 10 coming shortly.

Happy modelling. 

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  1. wicky0570

    Another brilliant article. Loving reading these and seeing this micro layout develop. Very inspirational. Even though I have just finished another layout, reading these is making me want to make another!!

    • Iain

      Thank you, Martin. In the process of doing the next article as we speak & we’re on track for completion or thereabouts of it for Warley.

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