Eastern style forest & steep ridges
Several members have inquired about my trees and panels they saw leaning up against the backdrop. In the following posts I will try to explain. These trees ARE NOT fine scale modeling (for that I will gladly defer to Pete and Shamus), but simply my way to cover large areas in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable cost while getting nice if not great results. Now about those panels. Underneath them are staging tracks and I have about 4" from edge of tracks to backdrop. First I cut 2 long panels and scroll cut them across the top.


When I started to plant trees I realized a ridge that long wouldn't look right if the whole ridge stayed at the same angle. I made some V type cuts then on every other panel cut 2" off the bottom (the shorter panels would now lean in farther then the others).


To plant the trees on the "ridges" I used toothpicks. The ridges are 1/2" thick so the toothpick is at a slight angle leaning out. To correct this I put the toothpicks into the "trees" at a slight angle from back to front so the trees wouldn't be leaning also. The picture shows how severe the angle of the "ridges" are, 4" is not a lot to work with. However you can't really see it from that angle normally, if it would be viewed from that angle regularly you can shorten' the ridges to lower the angle.


Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
The trees are pretty straight forward. The still green fiber on the left is as pulled straight from the bag, in the right after gently rolling between palms of hand. The color is a little off in photo but they are black, rust (dk. reddish brn.) and dk. brown. I use whatever primer (cause it's flat and dries fast) that is on sale at the local auto parts or hardware store. I'm in n-scale so I make em' 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches tall (approx. 30' to 60'), in HO you would need 5" to 9" (to tall for toothpicks but you can get bamboo skewers at the grocery store). I use several shades of Woodland Scenics coarse ground foam. Burnt grass, Earth, Light Green and Dark Green (go easy on the Dk. Green as it can be overpowering). I DO NOT MEASURE, the forest is not all the same shade so I figure my miniature one shouldn't be either. I just dump some of each into a bag and shake well. Then grab the end of your fiber "tree" with the tweezers, spray with paint, stick in bag and shake like crazy. Do this of course outside or in a well ventilated area. I wear those plastic disposable gloves to save clean up time so once I pull it from the bag I take it from the tweezers toss into a box and repeat the procedure until I have had enough!! Usually about 45 min. will produce about 50 to 75 trees. Don't kill yourself worrying about the shape or bald spots. You will only be able to see the "tree" from a couple of angles once it's planted so you can usually rotate to solve the problem. If not trim with scissors, spray bald spots with cheap hair spray and dip in foam. To make Kudzu (could also be Ivy, Honey Suckle or whatever) I stretch out the fiber in to a thin mat, then do the same thing as the tree.


This photo shows the "finished trees". The one on the left was not painted but sprayed with hair spray then dipped. Unlike this photo on the layout they don't have the same shadowy effect but are O.K. to use if you widely scatter em'. You say you don't see a big color difference from one to the other? Great that's the idea, I believe the difference should be noticeable but very subtle for the most part. This of course is not the only way to do things, just the way that works for me. Hopefully somebody, somewhere will find something of use in all this. Goldth Goldth Goldth

P.S. Don't try to save money by stretching the fiber out too thin as it will sag or even collapse down on itself over time. Doing it this way a bag of fiber is good for about 100 trees so it's pretty cost effective as it is.


This last (yea!!!) shot is panned back so for better or worse you can see what the overall effect is when you use em' not only along the backdrop, but also in the middle and foreground of the layout.


One thing I didn't mention. When inserting the toothpicks if you cup the tree gently in one hand and "twirl" the toothpick back and forth as you insert it, it will do wonders for not crushing the tree. Also the only thing that holds the tree on the toothpick is gravity. Misngth

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
Here we have another classic tutorial from Tyson Rayles first posted back in June, 2002. Gee, that was around a half-year before I came on the scene :o and already he was teaching techniques that are as pertinent today as they were then. This is why we asked him if we could repost the entire thread here.
Thank you kind sir for your contributions to The Gauge and Big Blue and to model railroading in general, as well as for your everlasting friendship. Cheers
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)