Wesson All Model

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How to Make Homemade Trees for Model Railroads

Building lifelike dioramas around your model railway trains is nearly as important as the railroad itself. Realistic features can make all the difference in a completed and coherent look.

One of the easiest elements to add to most any diorama is trees. The thing is, most pre made trees are really artificial looking. They are plastic and often too vibrantly colored as to look lifelike.

After years of using the mass produced trees- which are often not cheap by the way, I decided to try to figure out how to make them myself. It took a lot of trial and error, but I can say with confidence that my trees are far superior to any of the plastic ones I used to buy.

Here is a step by step tutorial to make realistic looking trees that I hope will help you.

1. Observe trees in nature. The mass produced trees usually have brown trunks, but if you look closely at real live trees, the bark is more of a grey color. There can be areas of black and even green, where moss grows- particularly in shady spots. You also want to observe the height of trees relative to houses and buildings so you can get the proportion correct in your diorama.

2. First, use parts of actual trees. If you are lucky enough, you don’t need to go further than your own back yard. If you don’t have your own trees, visit a local nursery and see if they have any dead shrubs or tree branches you can use. Don’t go and pick live branches off trees in the forest. It is certainly ok to use fallen twigs and branches for your project.

3. Find a relatively straight branch that has a network of smaller branches coming off it. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect tree. Trees in nature are full of bends, twists and breaks. But because you are working with a diorama model, you need to choose a branch that is relatively straight and somewhat balanced. This will help ensure that it won’t tip or break once it is anchored to the ground.

4. Collect dried leaves, such as maple, oak or birch. I like to grind my leaves in the coffee grinder until it’s very fine, but not quite dust.

5. Spray the outer branches with glue and then roll in your ground leaves. Or you can use a paint brush to add glue to the branches. Roll in the ground leaves.

6. Allow to dry completely. Give the tree a gentle shake to dislodge any leaves that aren't glued.

7. If you want you can repeat this process as many times as you like, until you get the desired fullness on your tree.

8. Once dried, you can leave the tree as is, or you can gently brush some of the leaf clumps with medium green acrylic paint.

Add your trees in groupings or next to buildings, bridges and other structures. You can really have fun decorating your railway landscape with your very own homemade trees.

You can learn to build
model railway trains
on as grand a scale as you like. To find out more, visit http://buildmodelrailwaytrains.com.

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