Archive for the ‘Trees’ Category


Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

These are some conifers I made to use on my modules during the Truro show. I “planted” them on “The Ridge” after the show.

These trees were relatively easy to make. I will take picture of the process sometime over the next little while and create a “how-to” to post here

The fire tower was the first structure I ever scratchbuilt. Being an ex-forestry guy it seemed like a natural thing to make.


The New Trees

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Well, the new trees turned out better than I had hoped. They received quite a few comments from the folks at the show.

The view looking down the road toward BigFoot Bridge.

In addition to the deciduous trees I was able
to create about 7 conifers.

Greg rerails a car at Hazard Bend.
The name is well deserved.

Perhaps I should start selling trees at shows? The only problem is that I like them so much it would be hard to part with some of them. But, if the price is right….!


Trees, Yet Again!

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Sorry for another post about trees so soon, but I had to share these ones.

I had read about using sagebrush twigs as model tree stems and tried to find an inexpensive source of twigs. All the commercial sources I could find were quite expensive. Then, one day I read a message from a guy in British Columbia who offered to send some twigs to someone else for the cost of shipping. I quickly shot him off an email asking if he’d consider the same for me. He said he would. A few weeks later a very large box arrived at my door full of fresh picked sagebrush twigs. The cost of shipping? Only $15!!

I made a few trees with them shortly after they arrived. Being the nice guy I am they ended up near a river scene on Derwin’s layout – Canadisle Rail.

Considering I’ve been on a tree making binge the last couple weeks it was inevitable I’d pull out a few more of those twigs. When you start making a tree you never really know what it will look like in the end. I’m always surprised that they rarely look like I picture them at the start of the process. They always look good, but not like I imagined.

These newest sagebrush trees completely floored me when I finally got the leaves on them. So much so that I’m not sure if I’ll risk taking them to the Truro show. Brian was in for a visit the other evening and his comment was that they were the closest thing to a real tree he’s ever seen. I hope you agree.

I used the same process that I use for all my deciduous trees. The only thing different about these is the realism of the stem and the branching structure.


Trees. More Trees!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Well, sticking with my resolution to have trees for my UMG modules at the Truro Train Show in October I have been fairly busy. I’ve spent quite a few evenings since MudFest making trees while watching TV.

Two groupings of future trees.

I use natural materials for tree forms. The trees in the background are made using the dried flowers of False Spirea. I harvest these during the winter when the old seed pods are very dry and crumble off the stem easily. The trees in the foreground use a type of plant that I don’t think we’ve identified yet. They grow in, amoung other places I’m sure, the field behind Jon Huneault’s house in Aylesford, N.S. They have lots of fine branches and look like a very bushy tree.In either case, I use Woodland Scenics Polyfiber for fine branches. Pull a small amount of the polyfiber off the bunch and roll it into a tight ball. Then start pulling it out, teasing it, until you have a very light and airy puffball. It should be teased out fine enough that you could lose it if you dropped it on the floor. I make a bunch of these, some small and some large for variations of branch sizes before moving on to the next step.

I put a fine coating of white glue on the branches that I will be attaching the polyfiber puff balls to. Then I either skewer the puffball with the branch or drape it over the branch. You can leave some branches leafless to simulate dead branches.

Remember the leaves of some real trees do not go around a branch in a perfect circle. You should also remember that not all trees are perfect globular forms. Real trees can have branches sticking out at odd angles and have clumps of leaves outside the main canopy of the tree.

The final step is to apply the leaves. I used to use cheap hairspray as adhesive to attach leaf material. It’s fine for trees that get planted on a home layout and never get moved, but trees that are transported for a portable layout need something more. Lately I’ve been using clear, mat wood finish (Varathane). It’s a little more expensive than hairspray, but I think it will hold up better.

I use different leaf material depending on the type of tree I’m attempting to replicate. I use regular ground foam for smaller bush type trees – ones that typically have smaller leaves. For larger trees I use a product I discovered a couple years ago by accident – leaves from Selkirk Scenery. If you’ve never visited Bill’s site before you should check out his “How To” links. He makes some incredible scenery!

A tree made with Selkirk Scenery
leaves and False Spirea stem.

Anyway, spread out some newspaper to protect the floor from the adhesive and to catch excess leaf material for re-use. It’s a good idea to have two areas of newspaper, one for spraying and one for excess leaf material. I start by spraying the underside of the tree and sprinkling a darker shade of leaf material over it, from the bottom up. This will simulate leaves shaded by the upper branches. Shake off the excess leaf material and spray another coat of adhesive to secure the leaves. Now, spray adhesive from the top down and sprinkle on a lighter shade of leaf material. Shake off the excess and spray another coat of adhesive.

Once the adhesive dries the tree is ready to plant.

It may take a few trees to get the knack of which colors work best for your layout, and your lighting conditions. Before you know it you’ll have a whole forest of trees on your layout.
I’ll have more on making trees in future posts.

Have fun making and planting trees!!!