Monday, August 14, 2017

What do you do with a 90’ tree?

I have come to the conclusion that what trees look good to you depends on the area of the country you live in. I have seen folks rave about trees made from weeds and to me they still look like weeds with something stuck on them. But then I am from the Middle Atlantic region and when I look at a forested hillside I don’t see any branches I just see foliage. When I look up my street I see no branches, just the foliage. Therefore, anywhere other than up front, puff balls seems to do a better representation in my eyes (we are just talking my opinion here).  To other areas of the county I am sure the opposite choices are more appropriate

Wanting to experience it for myself, I figured I would try the other side of the fence. I got a Scenic Express starter set and went to work. Never again! Way too much work and mess! When I was done I had 30 larger trees and 30 low pieces I may be able to “plant” in other places. (Although I followed all the included instructions, I think spray painting the tree trunks would be better.)

I had a couple of 90’ trees. Where do you put a 90’ tree on an N scale layout without it looking out of place? (I trimmed it down to ~70’.)

The second issue I have with these trees is that in spite of extra long soakings and follow-up spritzing with matte medium, they are still fragile. I have a 12’x17’ layout that was designed for operations and it is relatively high (54”) so there is no way they will survive being in areas where the operators have to  manually throw Peco sprung switches (and there are 50+ of them on the layout). That in turn means they will have to be positioned father back on the layout (which sort of defeats the reason you go to all that trouble in the first place).

P.S. I still want to try one of M.C.’s wire oak trees. I am sure they will outlast any operator’s arm! J


  1. I use the Super Trees, I've made 2 full boxes already. I cut the armatures down so I end up with 50-60 foot trees (correct for the area I'm modeling) each box gets me 100-125 trees. After trimming (but before painting) I soak them in a diluted Matte Medium. That helps with the fragility. Let the MM dry completely before painting. I plan on making another 400-500 trees using this method.

  2. I think Karl is right on. Take a 40' or 50' boxcar and use that for your measurements and cut down the trees accordingly. I feel for up front, standalone, or the start of a forested background, Super Trees or equivalent are really needed for the detail they provide but puff balls behind them work great for the canopy.

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  4. I really do not like them. I still think they look like weeds and they are a lot of messy work. They do not seem to blend in with any other trees (puff balls, Heki, multiple chinese cheapo-s (even after flocking), etc.).