Saturday, November 16, 2013

Experiments with trees

I had a wish to make much better trees for future projects. Until now I have used Woodland Scenics tree trunks covered with clump foliage - fine from a distance but not a patch on some of the trees I have seen produced by other modellers.

Having looked around at a few "how to build trees" tips on numerous websites (and there is some excellent advice around) I thought I would experiment. 

One site suggested heather or sage bush so during a walk up Moel Famau I gathered a few bits of  broken off heather.  A few choice bits went into the microwave (as advised) for a few minutes, sufficient to kill any bugs or fungus but not enough to set them alight.  (The following picture is a serving suggestion only)

The bits were super glued together, roughly copying an ash tree.....

 ....followed by the addition of a few sprigs of sea moss. The joins were covered with Green Scene flexi-bark. The trunk looked a bit thin for the size of tree so that was filled out with DAS then painted with acrylics.

And a coating of Display Mount and Noch leaves to finish.

Time consuming, but I  am happy that this looks much better than earlier attempts.  Mrs Chas suggested using dried herbs instead of Noch leaves.  What a good idea!  I shall give it a go.   The next challenge is a generic conifer.

Addendum:  Geoff's comment below includes a link to one of his typically detailed master classes, this time on model trees.  It's a much better description than here!


  1. That looks very fine and far superior to most trees one sees on layouts. I like the idea of fixing seamoss bits to the trunks for extra delicacy.

  2. That's looking good Chas, top marks to your better half for suggesting dried herbs :-)

    I don't know if you have seen my earlier efforts, the next batch will be built along similar lines

    1. I have added that link to this post. I hope that's OK, Geoff.

    2. No problem Chas, the original idea was Paul Marshall- Potters and he wrote an article on his methods in the Railway Modeller.

      I made a few tweaks of my own and am currently experimenting with some new techniques for the next generation. I tend to recycle my trees and as better ones are produced my older efforts are moved into the background. Modelling is a continuous learning curve don't you think.

    3. Thanks Geoff. Yes, and sometimes it's a very steep learning curve but that's where I find a lot of the satisfaction lies. I'm intrigued to see what your next generation of trees look like. I think I will suspend too much further experimentation until I see them!

    4. Don't hold your breath then Chas :-)

      I am hoping you will continue experimenting and share your results with us, you never know you might come up with the ideal method :-)

  3. Nice result! I like the way that the foliage is biased to on side, giving it a more natural look missing from 'bought' trees. Looks like you've been studying nature. Nice and cheap as well using heather.

  4. Thanks, Iain. I'm hoping with a little more practice to improve on this one. I'm trying to work out how to avoid getting spray mount on the limbs so they are not covered in leaves too, which spoils the effect a bit.

  5. Thanks, Geoff. I hadn't seen the Penydd link but it would have saved me a lot of research time if I'd have had the sense to look! Those are lovely trees. I also didn't use an accelerator which must save a lot of frustration and trying to hold bits of sea moss in place with shaking fingers.

  6. Thanks, Paul. It's another good thing about this modelling lark that it has prompted me to be a bit more observant (and appreciative) of surroundings.


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