There are several phrases used in this hobby that have long been attributed to the leaders of this hobby. Allen McClelland coined Good Enough, Tony Koester defined Layout Design Elements, and David Barrow brought Dominos to our lexicon.

I’m no leader, but I’m claiming Endless Horizons, at least in the realm of model railroading.

The idea, at least as I first described during my clinic back at the 2013 St. Louis RPM Meet, was to blur, cover, or otherwise eliminate the transition between the three-dimensional foreground and the two-dimensional background. That way, in theory, your layout appears to extend beyond the horizon when in actuality it’s only a foot or so deep.

On The Hills Line, these transitions take many forms; most notably with my use of photo backdrops. But there are some areas where tried and true scenic techniques still win out, especially where photo backdrops are unavailable or don’t contribute to the overall scenic design.

Along the Maiden Lane interchange in Iowa City, I have gaps of a few inches between several of the non-rail served structures. Rather than try to take or get appropriate photos, which wouldn’t add that much to such a small space, I’m using a method courtesy of another leader in this hobby… Lance Mindheim.

Lance has long espoused the use of Mirlon to create a distant tree line in a scene. When torn into ragged pieces, the marine-grade abrasive does an excellent job of softening the transition between the foreground and background. Add a few more foreground elements, such as scrub, weeds, or other bushes, and it becomes a part of a cohesive scene.

All in all, a great way to make your layout extend for miles and miles.

4 thoughts on “Transitions

  1. James

    I have decided that due to cost issues I won’t use photo backdrops on my future layout.

    These “ endless horizons “ will be a great idea to use on those pesky open areas that seem to crop up all over your layout

    Great idea and as always very well presented!!

    Liked by 1 person

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