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Author Topic: wanting to make realistic trees without woodland scenics involved  (Read 1876 times)

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« on: February 10, 2011, 07:55:02 PM »

i am looking for ways to make really realistic trees without useing woodland scenics  tree stumps and etc        more in the way of homemade

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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 09:41:37 PM »


Wow! I'll bet there are as many ways to make trees as there are modelers who make them. Sometimes you can luck out and find ready made trees for cheap. Sometimes you can find inexpensive commercial materials. And sometimes you just have to cobble them up yourself. I assume the latter is what you're interested in.

The sad truth is that you will still have to buy some commercial materials, at least ground foam, lichen, polyester batting or clump foliage. The easiest thing to do on your own is the framework of a tree -- the trunk and branches. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find weeds or small shrubby plants which you can dry and use for your framework. Use florist wire or bare copper wire (fades to brown) to adjust the shape of your frames and hold branches where you want them. Some plants (weeds) even have parts which can pass for the foliage so you only have to deal with color and/or add ground foam to make your weed trees look like trees. In any event, dry your materials upside down in a dark place for the best results. If your natural materials don't have a "canopy" you can use lichen, clump foliage or teased out polyester batting. Follow those up with the ground foam. Or, go real cheap and leave your trees bare like it's winter or go almost as cheap and use very fine dyed sawdust or blenderized dry real leaves for your leaves. If you dye things, use much darker and grayer/browner colors than you think you need. Things in nature tend to have fairly dull colors. The green which looks just right on the side of the Rit dye package will look positively incandescent on your layout. The exception is fall coloration but even that is somewhat duller than you might choose on a color chart. Don't ignore the possibility of adding realism by outrageously trimming some trees to make way for electric or phone lines, just like we (unfortunately) really see in our neighborhoods.

So that should get you started with deciduous trees. Pines are less complex.

The easiest thing is to purchase large, shaped chenille trim at a craft or fabric store. Cut into tree pieces and you're done. You can add ground foam for better appearance if you want. Or, get some bottle brushes, trim them to shape with a scissors and cover with ground foam. The difficult thing with this techniques is that you have to find black brushes because there really isn't a good way to recolor the nylon bristles. If you want to do a little more work, cut lengths of hemp or sisal rope, separate the fibers, position them between two pieces of wire, twist the wire to trap the hemp and spread out your new branches, and then trim the resulting bottle-brush-like thing into a pine tree shape. Paint, add ground foam and you're done.

For both kinds of trees, have some variation in the colors of ground foam on every tree and also have different main colors on groups of trees so it looks like you have different species. You can add to this effect, at least with deciduous trees, by making your trees in different shapes, basically balls, cones, vases and columns. Also, recognize that foreground trees and trees in mini scenes which will attract close inspection need to be well detailed while those in the background and in less conspicuous places don't have to be such good lookers. Don't neglect a few dead trees or branches for realism. These shouldn't be found in a park or yard, though, unless you're modeling a decrepit or spooky house.

These are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing. I strongly suggest that you look online and in recent model railroading magazines for specific plans and materials.

Good luck with your horticultural endeavors!
                                                                                                     -- D
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 10:39:42 PM »

Our club uses branches from small bushes. Pick them to about what size you want, dry them, spray them will clear hairspray, sprinkle different colors of ground foam. You your imagination or look at threes around you. Some do fall colors. Don't forget, shrubs.
Adjust the size to what scale you model. I use HO and multiply or divide by 87.

Below is a link you can look though for some ideas. Take yur time. This is suppose to be fun.

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