Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Applying printed scene to the skyboard

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to have someone in the Ntrak club give me a left over section of scenic background from Backdrop Warehouse that was a good match for the what I wanted on the Hot Springs Junction module.

The sky board itself I had already built and painted and posted on in September of 2012.

The rolled up background scene was laid out on a large flat surface and the ends held down with some wood scraps.

The background scene was just over 72 inches long and I only needed 48 inches .  Also only about 8 of the 11 inches of height would be visible.

In the above photo I show Photoshop lines where I cut the scene.  I left it about 1 inch longer as I could trim any excess after it was on the sky board.

After looking at several sources on the internet about what adhesive and technique to use to apply these background scenes I decided to try 3M Super 77 spray adhesive.

Here is a youtube video showing this adhesive product being used in this application.

As I was going to have some extra material, I cut off a small section at one end of the roll and applied it to a painted scrap of plywood as a test to familiarize myself with working with this adhesive.

I placed newspaper on the work surface to protect it from any over spray.  I lightly sanded the primed sky board surface to remove any odd bits and get it really smooth and then cleaned it with a vacuum and damp paper towel.

Using a hobby knife I cut around the areas shown in this photo and was able to cleanly peel off the background material from those areas while the adhesive was still tacky.

I am really happy with the way this came out.  I'm sure that installing this product to a module sky board that can be laid flat is easier than working with it on a vertical surface so I'm glad I got to try it this way first.


  1. Perfect! Thank you for the overview!
    I'm looking at doing something like this in the near future. I just wish i could find Japanese backdrops - they don't seem to be easy to find.

    Thanks for the information!

    1. Hi Malcolm,

      Yes, I'm really happy with the way this came out and no I don't think there is much commercially available for Japanese prototype. I've looked but never seen anything in any of shops in Japan.

      Searching Google images for "Tokyo skyline panorama" does come up with some large scenes that maybe could be printed. I have not tried yet but do need something for my Musashi-Koyama modules.