Use These Helpful Resources To
Help You Build Your Perfect Model Train Layout
The Common Mistakes
use of simple props can add further to the illusion of reality. These
can be as simple as a scrap yard, trash cans, a phone booth, graffiti,
or some old shipping containers sitting by the railtrack, behind a
warehouse, on a wharf, on a train, or discarded in a field.
real life, shipping containers are a common feature of the landscape.
The 20ft and 40ft intermodal containers even get used for other
purposes. Some get converted into houses and workshops, or farm sheds.
There are even self-storage facilities that operate using 20ft shipping
containers. When you think about it, that is something a model
railroader could easily and effectively model.
real life these container self-storage complexs simply comprise of rows
of 20' containers (usually sitting on a concrete pad). They are usually
spray painted the same color and have unit numbers painted on the front
so that customers know which is their storage container. The complex is
likely to have sealed or gravel driveways between the rows and would be
surrounded by a wire security fence with probably some security cameras
mounted on poles. There would be a sign on the fence, a big gate, and
possibly a little office which could be made from a converted
well as realistic structures and props, a model railroad also needs
realistic scenery if the landscape is to look convincing. The are
various resources to help achieve the desired reality when making
roads, fields, rivers, ponds, mountains, bushes and trees. The article
below has some starting tips.
Do You Make Trees For A Model Railroad Scene?
most scenes in the natural world we would see trees and shrubs ranging
from small flowering types in a garden to towering cedar and redwoods.
Trees grow in a lot of different environments from singular trees to
massive forests, so it would be the same in a model railroad or
diorama. There are as many different types and sizes that would keep
modelers busy for a few years.
we do not have to model every tree as there are in nature. Most
railroaders limit themselves to just a few and these can be made from a
variety of materials from plastic, wire, rope, wooden dowels or a
combination of each. Then there is the yarrow weed that when dry looks
just like a tree trunk with branches. Each model shop carries a range
of ready made trees for people that don’t want to make their own, or
feel that they do not have the necessary skills. Even a poorly made
tree can be hidden in a forest and it will still look like a pretty
Do You Make Wire and Rope Trees?
simplest tree to make is a wire and rope pine tree. These are made by
laying teased strands of rope between two wires and by holding one end
in a vice and twisting the other end of the wires in an electric or
hand drill. As the wire twists up the tree takes shape and once the
twist is finished the teased rope is cut to shape with a pair of sharp
scissors. Colored paper is then wrapped and glued with PVA glue around
the twisted wires to form the main trunk until the right size is
reached. The teased rope is then either painted or dyed to a green
color representing the same color as an actual pine tree. I usually
roll the glued tree in dark green scatter material to form a more dense
type foliage. The cut unpainted trimmings can also be laid around the
base of the tree to represent pine needles.
Florist Wire Be Used For Tree Making?
wire I use is florist wire that they use to make bouquets etc it is
nice and strong and easy to work with. It is available on spools quite
cheaply at most florist shops or hobby stores. I use florist foam
available in blocks to stand my completed trees in to enable them to
dry more evenly. The wire can also be used for smaller trees by having
four or five strands formed into branches. I then twist the remainder
to form the trunks and I wrap the trunk in brown colored paper that is
glued on with PVA glue and then left to dry. For the foliage I use
green clump foliage threaded and glued to the wire branches. I then
apply some scatter material to the clump foliage. These are ideal where
a number are required between one to two inches tall.
you make a tree with more branches or more strands of wire then apply
PVA glue and put the branches of the tree into a box containing scatter
material. When dry keep applying glue and scatter material until the
required depth of foliage is required.
Do You Make Lichen Trees?
large clumps of small wild bushes I use lichen dyed to the right color
and then trimmed to look like bushes and glued in place. The beauty of
using PVA glue is that it dries clear and gives you time to work the
foliage to where you want it.
Pre-made Trees Worth Buying?
recently purchased some plastic tree forms from our local hobby shop
and these look quite realistic. To be able to bend the branches into a
shape to form a round tree I had to heat them in boiling water and then
hold them in shape until they cooled enough to hold their shape
themselves. I then coated the branches in PVA glue and I applied a few
coats of scatter material in different shades to represent the autumn
or fall seasons. In a packet of twenty five trees I got fifteen
different shapes which was fine as there are never two trees exactly
the same in nature. These trees are available in quite a few different
species from some that represent tall popular trees to some that
represent silver or black birch type trees depending on the way the
bark is painted.
Trees Be Made from Weeds and Natural Greenery?
For example; Yarrow weed grows wild here in New Zealand and a lot of
modelers use this weed. When the weed has dried off during the summer
the top pieces look like miniature trees with no foliage. At the end of
summer a lot of this weed is picked and hung up to dry.
Weed as dried in the summer sun
the autumn (Fall) once the yarrow weed has dried completely I spray it
with diluted PVA glue and leave it to dry and then glue some clump
foliage on the branches and sprinkle this with a darker scatter
material to make some fairly good looking trees. The yarrow weed can be
quite brittle and needs to be handled with care, the first spray of PVA
helps make the weed stronger. Some modellers leave the dried flower on
the weed and dye it with a vegetable dye of dark green and then glue
scatter material on the flower. These make realistic type trees as long
as the trunk is kept in proportion to the height of the tree.
Trees Be Made from Wooden Dowel?
trees from wooden dowel requires a bit more work as the dowel has to be
tapered as the main trunk and then small holes are drilled through the
dowel so that the wire branches can be placed in the hole and the a
couple of turns around the dowel and then cut to length. For each
branch you will want one hole and a couple of turns on each wire. With
all the branches in place I usually apply some Araldite (two pot glue)
to hold the wires in place and leave for a few hours to harden. Then I
apply clump foliage or layers of scatter material. These are usually
used for taller type trees and most modellers don't use a lot of them
because of the time it takes to make just one tree. I also use brown
scatter material glued to the trunk to look like bark. I usually keep
the higher trees to a height of about four inches in HO scale. The big
disadvantage with dowel trees is that they can look too straight and
therefore too perfect (unreal).