Photo Backdrop

Built By: Torsten K

Description: My first T-Trak module, built mostly so I had a backdrop to take pictures of my trains (hence the title). I chose T-Trak because I had a lot of Kato tracks around, and I liked it so much that I built some more since. The overall design has a bit of variation to allow experimentation with the camera, but nothing too visually exciting so the focus stays on the rolling stock.


I accidentally mounted the tracks a bit too far in the back because I miscalculated their placement. They are now 58 mm from the front edge instead of 38 mm. I kept this for all other modules I built because it gives me more room to work with in the front.

Construction: I don't know what this method is called in english (in german it's Spantenbauweise). It's the one recommended by most german-language books on model railroading. I plan to try others to see whether this really provides any benefits. It involves first building a frame out of boards that match the planned landscape (with additional boards for the tracks and so on):


Then I put paper with wires in it over the framework to create the actual landscape and form the details. This is one of the more expensive ways of creating the "skin", and I went with others later.


Special rock compound to create a rocky wall.


Finally some greenery created using various kinds of Woodlands Scenics turfs and various trees and some ballast. The ballast color doesn't quite fit, but it's close enough that you don't really notice.


Lessons learned:

  • Not adding power drops was a mistake, because that way I can't take pictures of trains with lights on all that easily.
  • The rock compound is very brittle and shouldn't be applied to a flexible surface like the paper. Adding a layer of normal plaster underneath solves that issue nicely.
  • Add turf first, plant trees later, because otherwise it's really difficult to get the turf under the trees. Seems obvious in hindsight.
  • The track that is too far in the middle was a mistake, but I like the look and have kept it since.
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