Here you will find all the questions and answers about Photo Realistic backdrops for model railroads 

Should I install the backdrops before I do my scenery and structures or after?

It is usually recommended you install backdrops BEFORE you do your scenery or structures. If you wait until the scenery and structures are in place you may not have the working room to get the backdrops behind them, getting them cut to the proper fit or worse yet break a few structures while installing them. Since our Ultra Premium backdrops are not damaged by most modeling materials and won't fall apart like the competitors when you get your scenic cement or water/glue/alcohol solution on them you can be safe installing them before the scenery.


What if my walls are longer than your standard lengths?

For longer walls simply order multiples of a scene(s) or you can order several different backdrops that total your wall length. (i.e. if your wall is 32 feet long you may want to purchase 4 of our 8 foot sized backdrops) and we can custom blend them for you so they will look like one natural continuous scene. There is no extra charge for basic custom blending. There is an additional charge for extensive blending or Photoshop editing.


Why is there a white border around my backdrop?

There is a white border approximately 3/16" on the top and bottom of the print because this is the space the printer mechanism uses to roll the material through as it prints. It can easily be removed with sharp scissors or a sharp hobby knife, breakaway blade knife, utility knife or razor blade and a straightedge. The backdrop height is measured to the paper edges top to bottom and not the print. The actual print will be about 3/8" short of size ordered.

On the left and right of the print there is a white border the printer uses for infeed, outfeed and to identify the job. Once these edges are removed the length of the print is the length ordered.

There is an option at checkout for a modest fee you can choose to have us trim the borders off for you.

What if I need backdrops over 36” tall?

We can produce the backdrops to virtually any height, but they will be “tiled” in horizontal panels to bring you up to the height you need.

How do you adjust the size for different scales?

All of our panoramas are built at an approximate 4 to 1 proportion (i.e. 48” long for every 12” of height). We can stretch and condense these to some degree without distortion, but we can only change the sizes a small amount to minimize the distortions on print sizes that are not exactly 4 to 1. To adjust for the scale the height is determined for the proper scaling and the length is adjusted proportionately. An N Scale print will have a smaller scene and more sky that the same size O Scale print.

To lengthen a print we use a combination of techniques including cropping, copy and pasting extensions, adding elements such as tree lines, hills, additional buildings, etc. and other Photoshop tools so the proper scale is maintained with minimal distortion. For reference a typical N Scale scene can be 4 to 6 feet in length, Ho is 6 to 8 feet and and O Scale is 8 to 10 feet in length. If you need a longer scene we suggest you purchase multiple shorter backdrop scenes to cover the full length you need and we can custom blend them, usually at no additional charge, for you so they will look like one natural continuous scene.

Why did I receive multiple “panels” instead of one long backdrop?

To be able to maintain competitive pricing some longer backdrops (96”, 120” or 144”) need to be split into smaller panels to maximize the material use on our printers. Most railroaders actually find this as an advantage as it may be difficult to install long backdrops by yourself. If you do not want the prints to be cut into smaller panels please specify in the “Notes and Comments” section at checkout you DO NOT want the prints cut into smaller panels.

What do you mean when you say you can “custom blend” scenes together?

We can take virtually any two or more backdrops and use Photoshop to blend the backdrops together into one naturally looking scene rather than just having two backdrops arbitrarily butt up against one another. You just pick the backdrop scenes you want, select the order you want them in and we will take it from there. For more custom blending info click here.

What if I need something added like matching a river or road into the backdrops?

For a small Photoshop fee we can blend “elements” into the backdrop to match items in your scenery such as roads, rivers, lakes, railroad tracks, crossing gates, etc. so it looks like your scenery elements continue into the backdrop.

What material are your backdrops made from?

RailroadBackdrops.com now has four styles of backdrops. For information on all of our material types click here. 

Other companies claim their prints are water resistant and water proof, what makes RailroadBackdrops.com model railroad backdrop prints so much better?

While other companies claim their paper is water resistant or even water proof that usually means they use water proof inks. The fact of the matter is most of our competitor’s water proof inks can still easily be damaged by modeling materials such as alcohol and scenery glues and while water may not hurt the inks it will destroy the paper or cardstock they are printed on. RailroadBackdrops.com Premium Polypropylene and Outdoor Durable Vinyl lines of model railroad backdrops are printed with water proof pigmented inks on a PVC Vinyl or Synthetic Polypropylene Film and then have a 3mil protective vinyl over-laminate so neither the ink OR the film are damaged by water, alcohol, household cleaners, most glues, most tapes, plaster, sculpt-a-mold or most other modeling materials. If you don’t believe us watch the video.

If the film and ink are both waterproof why the vinyl over laminate?

Water is not the only modeling product model railroaders use. The vinyl over laminate will also protect the prints from UV color fading, scratching, alcohol, white glue, carpenters glue, scenery glue (even most home made recipes), most enamel, latex and acrylic paints, paint thinner, mineral spirits, most household cleaners, sculp-a-mold and even hydrocal Watch this video to see how durable our prints are.


Are there any chemicals frequently used by modelers that will damage the RailroadBackdrops.com model railroad backdrops?

We have not been able to test all chemicals obviously, but we have found MEK, liquid plastic cements like Tenax, Same Stuff, Plastic-Weld, etc., Sharpie and other permanent markers are permanent if you get them on the prints. Most paints can be wiped off the laminate with mineral spirits, paint thinner or 70% isopropyl alcohol. Usually sculpt-a-mold and hydrocal can be soaked with water and/or alcohol and then gently washed away.


Since the backdrops are waterproof, does that mean we can clean them?

YES! You can use a damp sponge, rag or paper towel to clean most any gunk that gets on them simply by wiping it off. For more stubborn stuff usually 70% isopropyl alcohol will get it off.


What backboard materials are best to apply the backdrops to?

You can apply RailroadBackdrops.com model railroad backdrops to virtually any non-porous material or smooth, rigid wall board such tempered hardboard or masonite, mdf, styrene, aluminum, etc. We don't recommend applying it to masonry walls, foam board or bare plywood. If applying peel & stick backdrops or using a contact type or rubber cement on latex paints it is always best to use a 100% acrylic primer before you apply your backdrop. While you can also apply our backdrops to cardboard or foam board we don’t recommend these for any backdrop as they are not structurally sound and are not humidity resistant and subject to warping and bending. Here is a video installation how to on hardboard (commonly called Masonite), this same technique can be used for aluminum, styrene, expanded PVC foam or other rigid backing.


What adhesive do you recommend using to install your model railroad backdrops.

That depends somewhat on the material you are applying our model railroad backdrops to. Mostly any vinyl compatible wallpaper paste or wall paper glue, roll on liquid contact cement, industrial or sign grade double sided tape, Velcro also works well (especially if you may want to change or remove them at some point in time). We DO NOT recommend the use of spray adhesive similar to 3M brand supper 77. While it does work most of the time, contrary to what magazine articles and internet installers show, the spray glues can easily bubble if not installed PERFECTLY and they have shown over time to both bubble and peel the paint off your wall. Also make sure to use adequate ventilation. DO NOT glue to any latex painted panel unless you first prime over the latex paint with a 100% Acrylic primer or clear coat. DO NOT USE any liquid adhesives or paste on the Presentation Paper backdrops of they will wrinkle and bubble.


Are all of your backdrops also available in "Self Adhesive Peel & Stick" versions?

Yes, all designs are available in "peel & stick" and "non adhesive" versions. Our presentation Paper is NOT peel and stick. The "Self Adhesive Peel & Stick" model railroad backdrops have a very strong sign grade adhesive on the back and can be difficult to install if you do not have any prior experience installing things like window tint or vinyl graphics. We recommend you click here to watch our installation videos and/or read installation instructions before deciding what type to purchase.


Why are my prints developing “bubbles” after I install them?

The backdrop materials, print or self adhesive will NOT cause bubbles if properly installed. The 6 most common causes for prints developing bubbles are:

  1. Your surface was not properly cleaned and or prepared and the adhesive simply won’t stick to the surface because it is really sticking to the dust, grime, grease or incompatible paint such as latex paint not prime coated before applying your adhesive.

  2. You did not properly prime coat with a non latex primer before applying your adhesive over latex paint.

  3. If you used the “wet” method of installation you did not use an even and consistent pressure during the squeegee process and all of the soap and water did not dissipate and it left pockets of soap film where the adhesive now won’t stick.

  4. If you used the “dry” method of installing you did not use even and consistent pressure during the squeegee process and you have air pockets trapped between the adhesive and your substrate.

  5. You did not apply your adhesive evenly and there are spots that simply have no adhesive to stick to your substrate.

  6. You have significant temperature changes (such as a non climate controlled garage or basement) and the material is continually expanding and contracting which will eventually cause it to separate from the adhesive in spots and create air pockets underneath.


It seems all of the other backdrop companies use the same sky repeated on each backdrop, or worse yet skies that don't match from scene to scene, What about RailroadBackdrops.com?

NO, while the catalog picture shows the same sky for the internet feed ALL RailroadBackdrops.com backdrops are designed to be customizable for your railroad, so we offer a choice of the sky and cloud background. Our "Default Blue Sky Clouds 01" is shown in the pictures for consistency on the website; however, you can choose any of the sky & cloud selections we have in the "Skies & Clouds" section to be inserted behind your backdrop at no additional charge. If you do not select a sky the "Default Blue Sky Clouds 01" will be used.


Can I mix and match skies on different backdrops?

Yes. All of the skies in a given category(i.e. Default Blue sky or Deep Blue Sky or Overcast Sky, etc.) will blend continuously and we have transition skies you can use that will blend between categories such as a blue sky to thunderstorm transition.


What if I need a scene you don’t offer?

We have hundreds of scenes on the website to cover most situations; however, if we don’t have something specific please contact us because we have hundreds of scenes we have not yet begun to process and there may be something there you can use. IF the quality of photo is good enough we can also print you photos, usually for little or no extra cost.


Can I send you my own photos to make into a backdrop?

Yes, usually for no cost or for a competitive Photoshop editing fee we can do custom work and use your photos (assuming the quality and resolution are up to our print standard). We can also blend your photos with our existing scenes to enhance or modify them. Please call us directly at (800) 216-9202 and we will be happy to discuss any custom work with you.



Home Page   RailroadBackdrops.com

Email  RailroadBackdrops@gmail.com

ph : 800-216-9202 - 4400 Warren Road
Humboldt, Tennessee 38343

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