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Experimenting making big trees

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  • Experimenting making big trees

    I've been experimenting making some big trees for my LCR layout, and the pics below show my first two attempts. Both of them have trunks made from whittled basswood dowelrods and are about 20" tall. After whittling to the general shape, I used a woodrasp to smooth down the whittle marks somewhat and also to provide the bark look. After rasping, I sanded the trunks to remove stray splinters and then stained them with an A/I wash.

    The tree on the left is the first attempt, which is using individual sprigs of caspia that I had apraypainted with Rustoleum camo earth. I drilled holes in the trunk and planted each sprig with yellow glue. After that, I used apray adhesive and sprinkled on Woodland Scenics coarse turf, Conifer in color.

    The tree on the right is the next attempt, and the branches are made with Sweetwater Scenery Coarse Foliage Pad. It looks a lot like a Brillo pad coming out of the package and you basically cut off a piece, separate it into layers, and then stretch it into a fluffy shape. After that, I skewerred it on the trunk and put a few drops off superglue in a few places of each piece to hold it in place. I then used spray adhesive and the WS coarse turf.

    Of the two, I think I like the one on the right the best. I think the one on the left looks too thin. However, I think I should have made the one on the right a little more airy looking, but this was the first one so was a learning experience. The one on the right was also much easier and quicker to make. What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Very well done eddie. Its hard to decide whic one i like best but i would love them both on my layout. One of these days ill get round to it.
    Owen Pass Lumber Company

    HO Logging Layout in a Shed.


    • #3
      The structures of each tree are very well done. I use the caspia method for my trees, and you may want to add a few more 'sprigs' to give the tree a little fuller look.

      As a FYI, I have also found that if you can lightly mist / spray paint the completed tree branches from the bottom with a dark earth color (Hold by the base of the tree trunk and spray the bottom of the branches towards the tree top keeping the paint off the trunk as much as possible) it will help with the 'shadow' effect which we see in nature, but don't think about. I have found that this extra step adds a lot to the tree which really helps to 'bring it to life'.
      -- KP --

      Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.


      • #4

        Good start with the trees, I suggest use both types. Thicker folliage ones further back, lighter airier caspia ones towards the front. Allows you to see through the trees, but gives the impression the forest is very dense. Can get a similar effect using the wire and rope spun trees as background fillers, but put 1 or 2 feature trees in front of them as features, and the attention is drawn to them, and the less detailed trees at rear fade back into the backdrop better. Hope this makes sense. Colouring is nice on the caspia pine trunk, a few more branches would still help them along.

        I must warn you though, after making about 200 pine trees, a freshly logged scene sounds really good to model!

        Dan Pickard


        • #5
          Great job Eddie! I think I like them both too!

          It is good to see that someone finally turned the

          branches "up", similar to all the trees here in

          Pennsylvania. Very few have the "downward" slope to them.

          I have started turning my tree trunks on the lathe,

          and then using a rasp for the bark effect. As soon as

          I get back to my cabin, I will post a couple pictures.

          Keep up the nice work!

          The Geezer

          soon as I get back to my cabin,


          • #6

            along the back ridge in this pic is what I meant about good forground trees, letting the air through to see the thick forest behind it. Wire and rope trees fill the foot of the backscene, but 2-3 better balsa trees draw the attention in the middleground.

            Dan Pickard


            • #7
              I like both, Eddie, though I have more inclination towards caspia trees. I also think you should add some branches to have it "fuller".

              When I make my caspia trees, I spray paint in brown the branches (before adding any foam), being careful not to paint the trunk. I then immediately add some foam, using the still wet paint as a glue. I generally use a lighter shade of foam on the top of the branches, and a darker on the bottom (holding the tree upside down). It's another way to suggest the shadows mentioned by Kris. I think I learned this trick in one of Paul Scoles' articles in the gazette.

              Nice scene, Dan, and very convincing stand of trees.


              • #8
                hey Eddie, thought I,d chime in on your trees; I think there both terrific, and I very much like Dans perspective of using the thicker ones towards the back and the lighter ones in front, I like both styles in representing the Northwest Cascade Forests, for there are thicker species and lighter species when it comes to foilage.The only thing I could add to the construction is to add a few dead limbs on the lower levels of the tree such as depicted for example on the trees of the "Red Rock Railroad" module,its a little more detail to futher the realism of the scenes were creating,great job! Randy.....heres a link to the "Red Rocks Railroad"

                Download Attachment: 122.jpg
                93.46 KB


                • #9
                  Both look like winners to me Eddie!


                  • #10

                    Originally posted by Tyson Rayles

                    Both look like winners to me Eddie!

                    Me to, they look great! I need about 100


                    • #11
                      Thank you all for the input, it is much appreciated! I really like the idea of combining both types of trees on the layout with the fuller ones in back and the more detailed thinner ones up front so you can see through them to the read fo the scene. Excellent idea!

                      And Dan, that pic is wonderful, that's exactly the type of scene I'm looking to capture. I've printed off that pic for inspiration and reference. Got any more?


                      • #12

                        Great job on the trees, I also like both types. So how many trees do you have to make?


                        • #13
                          Thanks, Lars. I figure about a hundred. Guess I better get busy, eh?


                          • #14
                            Looking good, Eddie. I think the one on the left gets my vote for most of the trees. The one on the right would be okay for backgrounds IMHO.

                            While you are experimenting with making trees, you should try TileGuy's way of doing it. I have a link for you. His trees are not quite right, being too dense, but the technique has merit. I think you could make good tops for your trees this way and it could save you some trouble.

                            Wire, masking tape, broom grass and drill technique

                            I have used this technique and was very pleased with the results. I like the way this one turned out.

                            The wire can take bends and that makes things more interesting. The trunk can be made thicker by adding layers of tape or tissue to the pre-drill mix. I used pieces of a witches broom I bought at Michales. You can use almost any fiber you like. Perhaps you can do this same thing with sprigs of caspia.

                            Don't forget you should have a few smaller trees growing here and there among the giants.

                            Christopher [:-clown]
                            Clowning around with trains.