Modeling Trees & Shrubbery

What are trees and shrubbery?

Trees and shrubbery are probably the most important part of your scenery. A tree could be as simple as a small citrus tree, or as large a one hundred year old oak tree. Trees come in all sizes and shapes, and could range in size from a small weed or shrub little more than a small clump of foliage, to a towering mass of branches and foliage.

Why trees and shrubbery?

It would be rare indeed to find any landscape that did not include some trees and shrubbery. A model railroad is nothing more than real life in miniature, so unless you were in the desert, or possibly on surface of the moon, there are going to be at least some trees.

When should you plant your trees and shrubbery?

The actual placement of trees usually starts after all the track has been laid, and most of the other scenery is in place. The planning however should start much earlier. Think about what trees and shrubbery you would like to include so that you can make room for them before you do the scenery. 

How to make trees and shrubbery?

Do research by looking at photographs or by actually going out and looking for real life trees. Keep notes on such things as size, color and location.

During the planning or building stage, start setting aside the materials that will allow you to make trees and shrubbery that will complement each scene.

Twigs that have been trimmed from a hedge or weeds that grow out in the real world, make excellent trees. With a little imagination and some Woodland Scenics materials, you can make some great looking trees.

Woodland Scenics also makes some realistic tree kits that can be made to look very much like the real thing. They come in a variety of sizes and types that should complement your model railroad quite nicely.

If you would like to scratch build your trees there are almost and endless array of methods that will work very nicely. You can wind strands of wire together and then open the strands up to represent tree branches. To this you can add Woodland Scenics materials much in the same way you would if you were building a tree kit. You could also carve your tree trunks out of a piece of wood, the possibilities are endless.

Lichen works fairly well for making trees, and comes in a variety of colors. It can be glued to the branches with white glue, and then trimmed with a pair of scissors to what ever shape you like.

Whatever method you use for your trees, they will look best if you paint the armature or tree trunks first. Don't forget to paint moss on the north side of the trees.

A tree’s foliage should be uneven and in clumps of varying colors just like in the real world. Start with the darkest color and work your way to the outside of the branch structure with lighter colors. This will give a three dimensional appearance to the trees and look more natural as well.

Tools and other equipment

1) Woodland Scenics landscaping materials in various colors for the tree foliage.

2) Woodland Scenics "poly fiber"

3) Woodland Scenics "foliage clusters"

4) Woodland Scenics "lichen"

5) White glue, super glue and accelerator, contact cement or Walther’s goo, and Woodland Scenics scenic cement.

6 tweezers, scissors, ruler, and a hobby knife



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