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Quiet earth (was: Exercise module for Plettenberg railroad in 1/22.5 scale)

Started by Hydrostat, November 08, 2012, 11:40:26 AM

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HI Volker.
I rember the ferns from our walk in the hills lovely.
Yes I leave Australia on the 9 March to Rome,then one week later to Amsterdam.
What a mess it has all been with Covid not to mention a few other small events.
Ontrax has had more than there share of bad luck but they have pulled through I really take my hat off to the modellers and the support of the museum that continually support the event.
For me to attend is a fairly major move ,having to balance rising air fairs and the threat of future events always makes it a nerve racking event,then it is the thought of 30 hours of travel,but hey it is part of the game -,cheers


Quote from: finescalerr on January 02, 2023, 12:30:21 PMSilly me; I think the original tree looks quite good. The new tree looks good, too. [...] -- Russ

Oh well,

better is the enemy of good, isn't it?

The tree's basic structure is wire of different diametres and a piece of a real branch. While twisting the branches from the 0.8 mm wire is already tedious work, forming the bark is a pain in the posterior. I tried different approaches from real branches (too brittle), painting the structure with a mixture of glue, color and sawdust (dried results differ heavily from in progress states) over wrapping with wire, cord or tape (gets rather difficult in hidden areas and thickens up thin areas to much) but finally ended up covering everything with modelling compound to have the typical even surface of hornbeam or beech. For the thinnest drilled branches a brushable mix of compound and water worked, but one has to repeat applications four or five times to cover the twisting effect.

The result was a well formed basic structure, but lacking all the smaller branches. I made them from sisal segments, which I glued to the wire with thick CA.

A lateral fixture for the tree makes work much easier. You don't have to wait until glue has set at each fibre: Adhesion is strong enough to hold the then free-hanging sisal fibres in place.

A thick coat of filler from a spray can and additional lacquer thickens up the very thin fibres and gives some strength. Color doesn't matter to much at this point.

Next step was adding 12 mm static grass fibres with spray mount and airbrushing everything with a somewhat suitable base color.

All attemts of using spray mount for the leaves failed. The result always looked - well - like at my last tree. Again, there's no fast lane in modeling my way. I carefully dabbed acrylic binder to the fibres and then scattered the leaves over the prepared areas. As far as I can see thre's just one product available, that comes close to the size of large scale leaves, at least of species with small leaves like hornbeams: Realistic Laub (foliage) I wish they would even offer larger ones, but I'm afraid there's no buyership

I added a crow's nest from small twigs and fibres.

I think this one looks much better than the last one (please excuse the bad picture taken under harsh light conditions):

The blotchy one:

And the leafy one:

To make a long story short: I was looking for a way to shorten the work involved in making large scale trees but didn't find one. By chance found some dry herbs during a hike alongside river Rhine. They may work in the background for rather young trees, but not at a close look.

I'll make it. If I have to fly the five feet like a birdie.
I'll fly it. I'll make it.

The comprehensive book about my work: "Vollendete Baukunst"

Bill Gill

Volker, Thanks for your detailed How-To for trees!
One of the huge remaining projects for my tiny HO layout is making hundreds of bare deciduous trees to cover all of one side of the layout. There are some conifers on that side and there will also be a few beech and oak trees that still have some dead brown leaves clinging here and there, but most will be bare and I want them to have enough fine branches and twigs to look believable.

I have tried many various natural plant materials that could pass as small "trees" or branches, but, as you noted, they quickly became very brittle and littered the layout with pieces breaking off just by looking at them.

I don't think I could make all the trees I'll need using your technique, but it is encouraging to see how good your trees looked even before you added leaves to them. I think I can stop after adding the small sisal branches and not have to stake the next step of adding the static grass.

It looks like you added the sisal pieces one at a time. is that how you added them?



yes, I glued them one by one to the thicker wire branches. Meanwhlie I found some better suited sisal material at a nursery supplier, which is stronger than the single fibres I used. I got them from a sisal rope. If you untwist the few strands of a piece of rope and dunk them in water for a few minutes they straighten nearly completely. I kinked them and glued the short length to the branches. I think for HO scale they work quite good.

I'll make it. If I have to fly the five feet like a birdie.
I'll fly it. I'll make it.

The comprehensive book about my work: "Vollendete Baukunst"

WP Rayner

Superb Volker, though I would expect no less. That is by far the best tree model I've ever seen.

Stay low, keep quiet, keep it simple, don't expect too much, enjoy what you have.


Although the results are superb, they come at the expense of your sanity. You have lost your cotton pickin' mind! -- Russ

Ray Dunakin

The new tree looks great! What material are those leaves made of? Is it paper, plastic, or something else?
Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


Ray, I don't know. I think the base material may be paper, but if so it seems to be stiffened by some supplement.
I'll make it. If I have to fly the five feet like a birdie.
I'll fly it. I'll make it.

The comprehensive book about my work: "Vollendete Baukunst"


Looking good.

Something I've played with with some success is to use various natural fibres as 'twigs', particularly silk.  I dye silk roving a suitable colour and then chop into suitable length twigs with scissors (not too awful).  Spray the armature with a suitable adhesive (I use cheap hairspray) and wad the silk fibres where you want twigs to be.  Shake off the (vast) excess and then hit with compressed air to orientate the fibres and remove unattached silk (a messy step as blowing slightly sticky silk around will flock surfaces in the airflow). 

The silk fibres will have uneven length and less rigidity than static flock which is useful. 

Even in 1:64 this technique produces structures that are more like petioles (leaf stalks) rather than twigs so best on an armature that already has fine twigs.  With practice it is very controllable and quite quick.

When adding leaves they tend to stick to the silk rather than the 'twigs' so you get a structure with twig-leaf stalk-leaf blade which looks great and is easy to achieve.  Silk is possibly too fine to be useful in 1:22, and a coarser fibre like hemp might work better.


Lawrence in NZ