This new 3' x 6' portable backdrop will provide improved viewing and photo opportunities on the layout, especially for scenes where no permanent backdrop is possible.
Eventually, the TMMC will be surrounded on three sides by a painted backdrop that will extend the illusion of Thunder Mesa country far beyond the actual boundaries of the layout. Unfortunately, even then, there will still be some viewing angles where no permanent backdrop is possible due to the layout sharing space with my studio and workshop. My solution was to create a portable, "roll-away" backdrop that can moved into position for operations or photos, and then shoved back into the layout aisle when not in use. Here's how it went together.
One of four swiveling castors that make it easy to move the backdrop. The three foot length of the feet is just right for fitting down the layout aisles. One of these days I'll get around to painting the frame flat black.
And here is the completed backdrop after a couple days of painting. My goal was to match the character of Thunder Mesa's scenery as close as possible without going overboard on the detail.
With the portable backdrop finished, now it's time to have some fun. With the backdrop moved into position to block my workbench, here's a view of Ambush Rock that was never possible before (at least not without Photoshop).
Wheeled around to the other end of the layout, here it is backing up the depot scene.
Here you can really see the difference a backdrop makes! The bottom image is from almost the exact same angle but the cluttered studio in the background completely destroys the illusion.
Creating the portable backdrop was a fun project and a good "dry run" for the much bigger project of building a permanent backdrop around three walls of the studio. In the meantime, it will provide that much needed sense of place in the world of Thunder Mesa. Thanks for checking in, amigos. Adios for now!
Number 6 steams toward McKennon Arch with a short freight in tow. The new portable backdrop adds a great sense of depth and distance to this scene.