Friday, 13 November 2015

Improving rear layout views


I know that the rear of a model railway layout isn't as important as the front view, but try telling that to your wife when your layout occupies pride of place in your apartment. Fortunately, my wife came in very handy when deciding how I should dress up the unpainted MDF board that forms the rear view of my layout's backdrop.

The 1.5 metre roll was well short of my 1.8 metre backdrop, so matching the join lines was paramount.

My idea all along had been to paint the rear of my reversible backdrop in a colour that would complement the stained and varnished Australian Jarrah timber of my layout frame. But when I priced up the cost of painting the MDF board in any of the fancy suede-render-metallic-silk type paint effects that are on the market, I nearly died at the thought of paying between $50 to $100 for a 2 litre tin of paint. That was when my wife spotted the decorative self-adhesive vinyl covering at our local Bunnings Warehouse for only $4.25 a roll.

When applied smoothly to the MDF board, it instantly looks like a sheet of checker-plate steel.

The decorative self-adhesive vinyl covering comes in a range of patterns, and I could have chosen any design from fake timber paneling to rusted steel. I went with my wife Denise's suggestion however, and instead used the checker-plate steel sheet pattern. Applying it to the rear of my already painted 1.8 metre x 0.23 metre strip of layout backdrop became a 2 person affair. The roll was only 1.5 metres long and needed to be trimmed so that the join line in the pattern was perfect. Finally I rubbed the vinyl covering down hard with a clenched fist to make sure there were zero creases or air pockets.

The finished result turned a sheet of plain MDF into an industrialized piece of furniture in under 20 minutes.

When finished, I simply slid the now covered backdrop into position. There was no waiting for paint to dry between coats, no mess to clean up and Denise had her kitchen bench space returned within 20 minutes. Best of all, the rear view of my layout which is visible from our lounge room now looks like an industrialized piece of furniture. All up, this simple project cost me just over $12 which included enough vinyl covering to use for the lid of my layout which is the next project on my list. But as usual, that is a story for another day.


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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil