• Welcome to Westlake Publishing Forums.


    REGARDING MEMBERSHIP ON THIS FORUM: Due to spam, our server has disabled the forum software to gain membership. The only way to become a new member is for you to send me a private e-mail with your preferred screen name (we prefer you use your real name, or some variant there-of), and email adress you would like to have associated with the account.  -- Send the information to:  Russ at finescalerr@msn.com

Main Menu


Started by Bill Gill, April 27, 2016, 10:28:03 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Bill Gill

At some undetermined time in the future Railroad Model Craftsman says it will run an article I submitted on weeds that are common along railroad right of ways.
This thread will show examples of different experiments making specific varieties of weed in HO scale. However, the techniques and materials are suitable for multiple scales.

One very common weed worldwide wherever the ground has been disturbed is ragweed. Ragweed comes in many varieties ranging from 2-3ft (0.6-0.9m) tall to over 20ft (6m) tall.

Bill Gill

Another weed found in many locales is aster. Asters also have several different kinds. Here is my HO version of New England asters

Bill Gill

and their prototypes

Bill Gill

The other weed I am experimenting with is phragmites, also know as common reed. This plant is also found in many places around the world. It grows in wet areas, in brackish water, in water up to 3 ft (0.9m) deep and even as floating mats on top of water I have read. The stalks can get up to 20 ft (6m) tall, though the height varies.

Although it is often considered an invasive menace, the plant has and had many practical uses in different times and places ranging from reeds for musical instruments, thatch for roofing, fencing for cattle, baskets, fishing poles and paper.

Here are some of my HO phragmites in progress. These two views show some of my plants in progress. When all are done, they will be planted much closer together than this.

Bill Gill

And here are their full size cousins

Ray Dunakin

Cool. I've always had a fondness for modeling weeds, shrubs and other wild plants, especially when I didn't have the limitations of outdoor modeling.

Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


Those look great Bill!
Eric Zabilka
Lexington, Kentucky

Bill Gill

Thanks Ray & Eric.
Here's one more look some finished reeds. Their coloring has been fiddled with a little after noticing how different the real ones look whether backlit or front lighting. These are "planted" at about the density they will be on a layout, but in reality they are still just temporarily poked into a piece of blue foam, which is cropped out of the photo to give more of an idea of the overall effect I'm aiming at.


Those are what you really do see along the road .. so common that your eyes usually pass over them
Ed Traxler

Lugoff, Camden & Northern RR

Socrates: "I drank WHAT?"

Chuck Doan

Thanks for the info Bill!  Should be a good article.
"They're most important to me. Most important. All the little details." -Joseph Cotten, Shadow of a Doubt


Bill Gill

Ed, Yeah, the reeds really are all over the place.
Chuck, The article seems to be shelved for the time being, but if anyone is interested, I can give some ideas of how the weeds were made?

Bill Gill

Well, this is embarrassing. After deciding to try modeling the deep yellow flowers that crowd abandoned fields and railroad right of ways in many areas, I did a bit of basic research: where, when, how tall. I'd read that goldenrod often gets the blame for allergies caused by ragweed and that the two plants are frequently confused. Add me to the confused list! The field book and online sites I checked led me to believe I understood the visual differences. Nope! The deep yellow flowers in this thread are goldenrod (Solidago), not common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia). So if you were sneezing when looking here, it wasn't me :)

Does it make a difference in modeling? Yup! Ragweed's flowers are a much less showy pale yellow green and some varieties of ragweed can grow to almost 20 ft (6m) tall. Goldenrod can stretch to between 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m).


Bill Gill

Moving ahead, here are two in progress photos of a quick mini HO display I'm making to accompany the presentation on weeds at the meet in June.

Yes, the track is not good, please overlook the huge spike heads. It was a scrap piece of flextrack that happened to be the right size for the scrap piece of 1/2 in. blue foam for the base of the display.

The foam was contoured with a rasp and then the entire surface was gently scratched up with coarse sandpaper to provide a little visual texture. The foam was painted with a mix of latex house paint and craft acrylics. No other 'ground cover' was applied. If all goes well, almost all of the 'ground' will be covered by plants.

The reeds will be planted in the mucky marsh -and part way along the ditch leading to it- on the left side above the track in the first photo. Below the track are some blackberry canes, goldenrod and New England asters.

The second photo is looking across the ditch from the marsh to the other side of the tracks. This view will vanish when reeds get planted in the ditch.

Bill Gill

Here are two more views of the display