Products

FAQ

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


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.
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.
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.
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 have set the sizes to minimize the distortions on print sizes that are not exactly 4 to 1. We may also crop, copy and paste extensions and other “Photoshop tricks” so the proper scale is maintained with minimal distortion. If you need a longer scene we suggest you purchase multiple shorter scenes to cover the length.
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 some find it difficult to install long backdrops. 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.
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 can place backdrops you like in our “wish list” and then sort them so you can get an idea if any two or more backdrops may look good together side by side and if they would be compatible to be blended together (such as a mountain scene coming out from behind a city skyline).
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.
RailroadBackdrops.com now has three styles of backdrops:
1) Our Outdoor Durable Vinyl backdrops use a high resolution outdoor durable PVC digital print graphics vinyl used in the sign and display marketing industries. This material is weather and UV resistant, water proof, extremely tear resistant and it is impervious to humidity fluctuations. The backdrops are then coated with a 3mil matte finish vinyl over laminate to help protect the print from weather, UV color fading ,scratches and damage from most modeling materials.

2) Our Outdoor Durable Vinyl Self Adhesive (peel & stick) backdrops use a high resolution outdoor durable PVC digital print graphics vinyl used in the sign and display marketing industries. This material is weather and UV resistant, water proof, extremely tear resistant and it is impervious to humidity fluctuations. The backdrops are then coated with a 3mil matte finish vinyl over laminate to help protect the print from weather, UV color fading ,scratches and damage from most modeling materials

3) Our Premium Polypropylene backdrops use a high resolution 8mil thick polypropylene digital print graphics film used in the sign and display marketing industries to print the backdrops on. This material is water proof, extremely tear resistant and it is impervious to humidity fluctuations. The backdrops are then coated with a 3mil matte finish vinyl over laminate to help protect the print from scratches and damage from most modeling materials.

4) Our Premium Polypropylene Self Adhesive (Peel & Stick) backdrops are the same as our Ultra Pemium line, but we add a self adhesive (sometimes referred to as “Peel & Stick”) backing so you can simply peel of the protective backing film and stick the backdrops like you would a large vinyl graphic or huge bumper sticker…..be careful to properly align the the backdrop before installing as the adhesive is very aggressive and you pretty much only get one chance to install it. You can go here for video instructions on installing them.

5) Our Presentation Paper line are printed on a water and smudge resistant 46lbs commercial presentation paper like those used in retail marketing displays and promotional posters so you can get our full line of beautiful photographic scenes at an economy price. These are perfect for temporary installations or installations where you are sure there is no chance of damage from your scenery or other modeling work as these prints are NOT laminated.

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 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 PVC Vinyl and then have a 3mil protective vinyl over-laminate so neither the ink NOR 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.
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!
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 and some paints are permanent if you get them on the prints. Most paints can be wiped off the laminate with mineral spirits or 70% isopropyl alcohol. Usually sculpt-a-mold and hydrocal can be soaked with water and/or alcohol and then gently washed away.
YES! You can use a damp sponge, rag or paper towel to clean most any gunk that gets on them simply by wiping it if. For more stubborn stuff usually 70% isopropyl alcohol will get it off.
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 or anything painted with latex paint. If applying on latex paints it is always best to use a NON latex primer before you apply your adhesive. While you can also apply our backdrops to cardboard or foamcore 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.
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. 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. DO NOT glue to any latex painted panel unless you first prime over the latex paint with a NON latex primer or clear coat.
Yes, all designs are available in "peel & stick" and "non adhesive" versions. 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 watch our installation videos and/or read installation instructions before deciding what type to purchase.
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.
NO, RailroadBackdrops.com is the ONLY manufactures to offer a choice of the sky and cloud background. Our "Blue Sky 01 Default" is show in the pictures for consistency on the website; however, you can choose any of the skyscapes we have in the "Skies & Clouds" section to be inserted behind the main design of your backdrop at no additional charge. If you do not select a skyscape the "Blue Sky 01 Default" will be used.
Yes. All of the skies in a given category will blend continuously and we have transition skies you can use that will blend between categories such as a blue sky to thunderstorm transition.
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.
Yes, 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.