Subway Dreams

Model Railroad and Subway Buildings

Innovative Way to Save Space, Time and Money

Some of Our Structure Backdrops

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New Ordering Choices:

  1. Standard Kit - This is where you receive 5 prints that you assemble together. (This is how we've done it for 15 years.) This is shipped in a stay flat envelope.
  2. Single Sheet - Your print is on a Single Sheet.  It will be the same length as the standard only that is 1 sheet, rolled and mailed in a special tube.
  3. Single Sheet w/Adhesive - Your print is on a Single Sheet with an adhesive backing.  It will be the same length as the standard only that is 1 sheet, rolled and mailed in a special tube.

 

Custom Made Buildings and other Structures

 

Buying models for model Subways and Railroads can be expensive, depending on the detailing. There is a model of the original Pennsylvania Railroad Station that is made by a train engineering company and the price runs over $3,500.  NO JOKE.  The model measures 43" wide, 17" tall, and 15" in depth.  That's a lot of space for one building. If you need a building like that model, try a backdrop, you can buy it from us for a fraction of the cost.  By using a backdrop, it creates more room for you to make or place other things, not only that, they are realistic looking, they are easy to use and fun to make. Not everyone has lots of room for large models, especially in O Scale.  Make the desired scene you want,  without worrying about how much of your valuable layout space you would use.

We have our own Pennsylvania Railroad Station on a backdrop as well, it is realistic and looks great, the size is 43" wide and 17" tall.  Oh, you say that is still too big, that's ok we can shrink it down for you to your desired size!  What's more, there is no charge for this service. See if they would do that for free! LOL. 

 There are other models out there that costs lots of money and some that are rather cheap, but none of them are as highly detailed as our backdrops.  Our backdrops use real textured tiles (graphic art tiles, not real ones silly!),  such as brick, cement, blocks and many others that we have specifically made for the backdrop you want.  You can mount our backdrops to foam board, wood, Plexiglas, chipboard and there are many other materials to choose from from.  You can order more than one and make your own 3D building front. 

NONE OF OUR WORK IS PRINTED BY INKJET.  ALL WORK IS LASER PRINTED FOR A SHARP, HIGHLY DETAILED AND CRISP BACKDROP.

Pennsylvania Railroad Station

These are a few samples of buildings we have made and that are also available to sell. Check out all the details in each of them, we make them as realistic as it can get. If you have a building you would like to see on your layout, just send us an email with your photo and we will get back to you within 24 hours and discuss what you would like done. It is as simple as that. You would be surprised at how great these look on a layout as background fillers and free standing in between other models and scenery.

This is a backdrop of the original Pennsylvania Railroad Station. It measure 43" across and 17" high. This is considered O Scale and if you need it to be smaller, just let us know when you purchase it and we will resize it for you for no additional charges.

 
Click on the picture for a larger view

$55.00


Apartment Complex

This is a backdrop of an apartment building located at 32-76 42nd Street, in Astoria, NY.  We gave the address so that you can Google it and see it on the map in street view. Our building is highly detailed from the brick work to even having curtains and shades in the apartments. It measure 27" across and 11½" high. This is considered O Scale and if you need it to be smaller, just let us know when you purchase it and we will resize it for you for no additional charges.


click on the picture for a larger view

$28.50


Chicago Union Station

This is a backdrop of the original Pennsylvania Railroad Station. It measure 32¾" across and 15¼" high. This is considered O Scale and if you need it to be smaller, just let us know when you purchase it and we will resize it for you for no additional charges.


click on the picture for a larger view

$44.00


Assembly Instructions

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People use them in many different ways. We intended our backdrops to be mounted on a flat and stiff surface.  The most common item mounting materials used are Foam Boards.  They are readily available in hobby shops, office supply store and craft stores. While this is the easiest of ways to do it, there are many different way in which they are used. The following are example of how our customer have used them:

  • Mounted to Balsa Wood - What's great about balsa wood, is when using a "Grade A" sheet, you can bend them through different processes (check the internet for bending balsa wood).  Stations are not always straight, they are on curves and if you have a station placed on a curve, this would probably be the best and easiest way to do it. If you go this route, please bend the balsa wood first before Applying the graphics to it.
  • Mounted to Wood - If your station is on a straight section, then you can use wood to mount them on. If you have wood laying around, you can use it, instead of going out to buy anything else to use.
  • Mounted to Cardboard - People have done it.  We do not recommend it, because cardboard tend to loose it's stiffness during humid conditions and will start to bend. Use it if you are doing a temporary layout, in order to save money, otherwise don't use cardboard.
  • Mounted to Plexiglas - People sometimes use Plexiglas as a backing around their layouts.  If this is your case and you need a station at a particular section, you can mount them the the Plexiglas.
  • Mounted to Bass Wood - This is an excellent choice.  It is stronger than Balsa Wood, but requires a little more effort to work with than balsa wood. you can bend Bass Wood as well (check the internet for bending Bass Wood).

I am sure there are many other materials out there that they can be mounted to, just be sure that they will be suitable for you use.

Contact us if you need help

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There are a couple of ways to do this (see cutting your backdrop), we recommend having the following:

  • A clear and clean work area (make sure that you have a cutting mat something down to protect cutting area on your table top so you won't cut or scratch your table top).
  • A good pair of sharp scissors (if you are really good with a scissor and can make real good straight cuts, you won't need the razor knife, ruler and clamps).
  • A self-sealing cutting mat.
  • An X-acto knife or razor knife.
  • A metal ruler (18" or longer, used together with the razor knife to make straight cuts).
  • A pair of clamps (used to hold ruler and paper in place while making straight cuts).
  • A can of repositionable adhesive spray (we use 3M brand "Repositionable 75 Spray Adhesive, if using another brand, make sure it says repositionable and won't bleed. Repositionable because in case you do not have it line up properly, you mover it around)
  • Mounting material as mentioned earlier. (foam board, balsa wood, etc.)

It is best that you practice cutting on scrap paper, before actually cutting out the backdrop.

Contact us if you need help

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There are 2 ways of doing this, we prefer the first way:

Using the tools mentioned in the previous section:
  • First make sure your area is clean and clear.
  • Have all your tools laid out
  • Place your self-sealing cutting mat in front of you, near the edge of the table.
  • Place the first page you are going to cut in on top of the mat.
  • Next place the metal ruler on the page and line it up on the edge you are going to cut.
  • Take the clamps and place one at each end of the ruler.  You are using the claps to hold the ruler and paper down at the same time.  As you tighten the clamps, make sure the ruler is still at the edge of the backdrop where you are going to cut along.  Adjust the ruler as needed before finally tightening the clamps
  • Before actually cutting the backdrop, I suggest practice using the X-acto knife and make cuts using the setup mentioned above, just to get the hang of it, especially if you haven't done this before.
  • So now just take your X-acto knife and make a cut straight along side the ruler, on the side you need to cut of course, from one end to the other, pressing firmly, with enough pressure to cut through the paper.  Excessive pressure could cause you to slip and slide away from where the cut should be.
  • Now just repeat this again for the other side to be cut of the backdrop. Do this for all the sides of the sheets and keep them in order or with a pencil lightly mark each the back of each sheet, 1 ,2, 3, etc.
  • The second way to do this. (not recommended)
    • Have good sharp scissor that can cut index paper.
    • Just cut along the edge that has to be cut.
    • do this for all of the sides.
  • Surprise! a third way.
    • If you should happen to have one of those large paper cutters, by all means that will do it!
  • We feel not everyone has a very steady hand that could cut a 12" straight line.  You may be able to do the short side OK, but the long side, as many times as I have tried, I have failed better than 60% of the time.

    Contact us if you need help

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    In this section you will learn how we mount the backdrop to the surface you have chosen. When using spray adhesives, make sure your work area is covered with a drop cloth or something equivalent to it.  If you're not careful with the spray, it will get on the surface of what you are using and could ruin it. So lets start:

    • Make sure your work area is clear and clean.
    • Make sure you cut and trim your foam board first (or what you are using). You should already have cut out your backdrop by this time. Do a dry run first. take all the pieces and line them up on your surface to make sure everything is OK and cut right.
    • Start by taking the first backdrop sheet and turn it over, make sure it is clean. You do not have to soak the paper with the adhesive, use it sparingly.  Go lightly on the ends. when you press it down and smooth it out, you do not want to much glue on the end, otherwise it will spread out from underneath.
    • once you are happy with its position, start with the next one.  Again try it without the adhesive first, then use the ahesive. Once it is down, DO NOT press it down until you are satisfied on its position and the line up. Once you are satisfied, smooth it out by rubbing it with a cloth, going in the opposite direction of the first sheet.  You do not want any excess to go on the first sheet.
    • Just repeat until you are all finished.
    • Now you are done with the hardest part.

    Now when placing the backdrop were you want it, you will need a base to hold up the backdrop, unless you are mounting it on the wall.  One way is to use a 1" x 1" strip of wood, cut to the length of the whole backdrop and mount the bottom of the backdrop to it and now it will stand.  Another way is to make small wooden right triangles about 4" tall x 2½" wide and ¼" thick.  This is a good way, especially if you made your backdrop on a curve.

    Contact us if you need help

    Useful Information and Tips for Working with Different Paper Projects

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    A good pair of sharp scissors is one of the most important tools you will need.

    • Dull scissors can rip the paper, make uneven cuts, and they can be hard to control when precision cutting is key. You can also invest in scissor sharpeners.
    • Having a few different scissors for different tasks can also be helpful. Use one pair for cutting thin paper, one pair for hacking and cutting thicker paper and cardboard.
    • A pair of needle-nose scissors for cutting small details.
    • For cutting out tiny, delicate cone shapes, you might try a good pair of fingernail clippers. They can quickly cut out the tiny center wedges. The blades typically have a slight curve to them which is not too noticeable.

    Contact us if you have any questions

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    A favored tool for cutting small details and cutting holes is a craft knife (X-acto is a popular brand). It is simply a tiny, VERY sharp blade that comes to a point and has a long, thin handle.

    • In a good knife, the blades are replaceable, and many sizes andshapes are available.
    • These blades are very dangerous; one wrong slip, and they can cut you quickly and deeply. This is the voice of experience.
    • A craft knife can be your best friend, but it can't live up to its full potential without its partner, a cutting mat.
    • Don't use the plastic/acrylic cutting mats that you find in the fabric department of a craft store; use a mat that has a rubbery look and feel. They help keep paper from sliding, and are far cheaper. I recommend a self-sealing cutting mat. Cuts that you make in the mat "seal" themselves, so that your blade doesn't accidentally slide into an existing groove, suddenly shifting your cutting direction and possibly ruining your project.

    Contact us if you have any questions

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    DO NOT USE RUBBER CEMENT!

    Many people have, unfortunately, discovered that rubber cement loses its adhesiveness over time. This means your paper model will eventually fall apart. The glue fumes are also a factor. Every person has their own glue preference. Spray Adhesive is typically good - it's strong and permanent. Some people like to use double-sided tape, and some like to use tacky glues. Hermafix allows you to reposition pieces without tearing the paper.

    • Always dry fit (no glue) pieces before you glue them. It helps to know exactly where and how pieces will fit together so you don't run into any surprises.
    • It's typically better to use less glue than you need; more glue can usually be added with a toothpick or a folded piece of paper (used as a spatula). Using too much glue can be messy.
    • Spreading glue with your fingers is okay, but be extra careful with all of the extra glue that will be on your hands. Otherwise, you can use a toothpick or a spatula-shaped coffee stir stick (no shortage of these at McDonald's).

    Contact us if you have any questions

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    • Take your time; paper backdrop models are supposed to be fun and enjoyable.
    • You'll also get a better-looking backdrop that you can be proud of.
    • Keep your hands clean. Sweat, oil, glue, and other miscellaneous liquids can be absorbed by the paper, causing eventual discoloration, erosion, or a poorly constructed model.
    • Make sure your surfaces are always free of debris. 
    • Don't write or make marks on the printed side, you cannot erase it without ruining the backdrop.

    Contact us if you have any questions

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    • Cut pieces as you need them. Having multiple pieces can be confusing, and you can make mistakes. Additionally, it will allow the just-glued pieces to set.
    • For intricate pieces, cut the center areas out first. This will leave the outer areas as a gripping area, and reduce the chances of ripping the piece.
    • Also consider how you cut; cutting tugs on the paper, so you don't want to tug against a delicate area.
    • Study the backdrop carefully. If you're not sure where to cut, don't; look at the backdrop until you are reasonably sure.

    Contact us if you have any questions

    Feedback from our Customers at eBay

    "Excellent Item! Great Honest Service."

    Johnny I

    "Backdrop better than pictured, very knowledgeable and helpful"

    Morilloju

    "Great Concept, well worth it!"

    Vinunleaded

    "Terrific graphic background--impressive and great value"

    – pisaman

    "Love It! Great model, I have been looking for one so long, perfect on my layout."

    Glassinthebucket

    "OUTSTANDING! A must buy for all subway modelers!"

    – Walterwol

    "Take it from a retired NYCT Subway Worker - EXTREMELY DETAILED!"

    – exec3549

    "Commendable craftmanship, top quality product."

    – marathonmeister

    "Excellent work. Design was made to my specifications.

    – handatorres

    "AS A RETIRED NYCTA EMPLOYEE, I CAN SAY THAT THIS IS BEAUTIFUL, ACCURATELY CRAFTED!

    – patricej1616

    "Very nice item, and accurate--I know this station well. Thank you

    – ebjensen

    "I thought I was getting off the #7 at Shea, oops...Citifield. Great Stuff

    – javespe