Trees, Trees, Trees

Whether one is building a layout for the first time or for some with many under their belts, there are always hurdles to overcome.  At this point of the layout, it is building trees to form the tree corridors that the lines had to run through.  These tree corridors were the barriers between the rail lines and the farmers’ fields.  In order for me to finish the lower section of the layout, Owen Sound main yard, I need to finish all the scenery at Park Head and the beginning of the line going to Wiarton.  This installment is about making trees.

I used four different methods of building trees.  The most rewarding but time consuming was SuperTrees by Scenic Express.  The next method using Sedum was taught to me by Richard McQuade.  I finished off some trees which were started by Chris Creighton and finally some Woodland Scenics which were IMHO the least realistic but good enough.

I purchased a box of SuperTrees quite a few years back at a Boxing Day sale at one of the remaining Model Railroad Stores in the GTA but it was not until Trevor Marshall gifted me the Starter kit that I actually took notice.  So, I started out with SuperTrees.  They use armatures that can be used on their own but also trimmed and glued to tree branch clippings that act as trunks.  Unfortunately, the armatures are usually curled and there are two methods for straightening them out.  The first is a low temp soldering iron applied to the stem and the second is to boil them in water and glycerine, then hang them out to dry with weights.  I used both procedures to do just that.

SuperTrees Drying

The first SuperTrees I made were Birch Trees which were needed for the out cropping just before the line crossed over Highway 6 on the way to Wiarton.  These were made without the trunks.  I combined the fronds at their base with floral tape then added branches over and over using Quick Grip which came in the starter kit.  Then they were sprayed Krylon Chalk Grey and the ‘rings’ were added with an extra fine black Sharpie.  I used the provided SuperLeaves in light green colour.

Birch Stand

The trunks for the other SuperTrees I made were from clippings that I cut from various shrubs and trees around our property and from those provided in the kit.  Both worked well.  To install them on the Styrofoam, I drilled out the bottoms, inserted and glued brads or finishing nails with their heads ground off.  This method has proven to work quite well.  Note that the blue Styrofoam is way easier to insert the brads into than in the orange Styrofoam.  I had to drill out the orange Styrofoam to mount them.


I glued the SuperTree branches on the trunks using Quick Grip which seems to be only available in the US.  It works really well.  I have looked for substitutes in Canada but so far no luck.  It has been suggested to use thick ACC but it is not even close to being as effective however, is really great for sticking fingers together.


I painted the trunks and other trees with Krylon Chalk Brown outside the house and then highlighted the bark with an acrylic grey mix.  On the SuperTrees, I used the provided SuperLeaves in both light and olive green colours.  On the sedum trees, the Chris trees and the Woodland Scenics trees a combination of various colours of ground foam and Selkirk Scenery leaves were used.  I am not certain if Selkirk Scenery is still around.  The ground foam was attached using Quick Grip and the leaves were attached by spraying acrylic matt medium on the branches or ground foam.  I use cheap floral sprayers from dollar stores.  They seem to work better than the ones provided by the scenery companies.

Woodland Scenics Short Trees

Chris Creighton Trees

I wanted to make the tree corridors varied with different types including conifers except the area before the line crosses Hwy 6 which had Birch trees.  The conifers used were a combination of Bachmann, Woodland Scenics and others donated by Jim Parker who at 93 is unfortunately is retiring from the hobby.  Thanks Jim, anything to make things move along more expeditiously.

Here are some pictures of the results starting with the birch trees and moving down the line towards Park Head station.  I find them acceptable.

Birch Tree Grove Before Hwy 6 Crossover

More trees are in the works to complete Park Head and when that is done, the next steps will be adding fencing and telephone poles.  I am looking forward to that posting, pun intended.


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