Monday, April 13, 2015

"Tears of joy over new peninsula backdrop..."

The end was near for the bullnose backdrop. Perhaps sensing that its days were numbered, it began to lean slightly which made the ultimate decision to dismantle it even easier. After some basic mock-ups with cardboard, I determined that I wanted a more traditional teardrop, or balloon backdrop, for the end of the peninsula. The real questions were about how I would fabricate it and what materials I would use.

Since I had good fortune using the .040 styrene in my corners, I considered that, while also realizing that I then wouldn't be ripping more dusty hardboard, countersinking screws, spackling and sanding. The added cost was worth it. Sold! The trick now was designing a mounting system for this broad expanse that I would most likely be mounting myself.

The vertical supports for the backdrop capitalize on the grid ceiling system using those clips screwed into T-nuts drilled into the end of 1" x 2"s.

The vertical supports are hung from the ceiling and attached at the bench work for added stability, giving the backdrop and bench work some independence from one another. Intuition based on Murphy's Law told me that this may be a good thing. (Reality confirmed this down the road).

A skeleton frame was completed with 1" x 2" horizontal strips as well as flexible lath at the end of the teardrop. Lengths of plastic 'end caps' were stapled at the top and bottom of the frame 24-1/4" apart to hold the 24" styrene.

At this point I already knew that this peninsula backdrop was going to be preferred to my earlier one. Thank goodness! I was happy to live with the loss of real estate.

The end caps provided runners or channels for the 24" x 96" sheets to slide into and made the job relatively easy for a single installer.

Looking from inside the backdrop, the sheets are mated to one another by a 2" wide gluing surface and the tops and bottoms are stabilized further with scrap styrene wedged into the end cap channels.

The ends of the styrene expanse are mated to the sheetrock walls in the same manner as the corners were coved. While the ends are solidly anchored, the rest of the entire peninsula backdrop essentially is free floating.

The seams in the styrene sheets were lightly spackled and sanded, primed and painted. They are impossible to detect. I am over the moon with this outcome.

Happily, the single biggest improvement is that the layout now slowly reveals itself as the viewer walks around the peninsula. It expands both space and time. Veteran modelers surely already know this, but this is one of those mistakes that rookies sometimes need to make in order to really grow and improve. Duly noted. Lesson learned. Now it's time for my next rookie mistake. What will it be?

But first it's time to catch my breath. Posts for the first two weeks have come daily. Now we'll move to every-other-day for the rest of the month. We'll see you Wednesday for some 'ambience.'
True or false? The author's wife has suggested that the inside of the peninsula teardrop might be an ideal location for her husband's 'time out' when she deems it necessary.


  1. True.

    Jim - I'm really enjoying your blog and your layout. I look forward to following along. Keep up the great work!

    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:54)

  2. You've changed scales?... that's going to be a lot of work! - Jim

  3. Hi Jim - WHOOPS!
    But I wouldn't put it past me...
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:SIXTY4)

  4. Did you BEND those 1x2s around the curve?

  5. Good morning Gerry - The ends were fabricated with a man-made flexible lath, 5/16" x 2-1/4" that I doubled up to approximate the thickness of the 1" x 2"... the material is part plastic and part wood and is made to look like natural wood with fake grain... it is most evident in photo #5... it's available in the 'trim' section of most lumber dealers and box stores. - Jim