Big Country, Big Sky, Big Backscene

One of the basic rules of model railway construction is to lay the track into the landscape as opposed to building the landscape around the track.

Railways run through and over the land and laying the landscape first helps create the right overall sense of scale.

Another technique to making your railway seem part of the environment and have the right sense of scale is to upsize the back scene.

Usually, as I explained here, back scenes are around 9 inches high for N gauge and 12″ for OO gauge.

But they don’t have to be these dimensions and going BIG will completely change the visual dynamic of a model railway.

One layout that does this to maximum effect is ‘Montherme’ in N gauge by the Club Maquettisme Sedanais, seen above. Click on the image for a larger version.

The yawning back scene swallows the model below and makes the whole layout feel much larger than it is.

If you have space, a maxed out back-scene is well worth considering.

You’ll need to create your own but for big skies that really just a lot of pale blue paint.

What are you waiting for?

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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