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.


Ah, Scenery!

I have been completing the scenery at Park Head as quickly as I can because it is the area directly over Owen Sound. This will facilitate being able to start laying the track and building Owen Sound.

It has been a busy year for me.  My duties as secretary for the NASG and being the Clinic Chair for the 2022 NASG Convention did take up a bit of time (someone’s gotta do that stuff) but now I can do other things like continue the layout and perhaps do a few more posts.

Grass is growing everywhere from Hwy 6 crossover before Wiarton to the entrance to the helix.  It is actually long Noch grass which I applied using the Noch static grass tool.  I hear that there are better devices out there but I bought this quite a number of years ago and don’t want to change it out.  I found that it worked well and now the layout has a nicer look to it.  I will be adding weeds and shrubs once the trees are all in.

I also built two stock pens from ‘Boxes of Sticks’ kits, one for Park Head and the other for Wiarton.  This picture shows the static grass and manure pile around the Park Head stock pen.

Park Head Stock Pen
Park Head Buildings

You might notice that the buildings are coloured now.  I used a can of spray primer by Dupli-color that can be purchased from the Canadian Tire Retail store in the automotive department.  They have these behind the counter now.  The colour is red sandable and when it is wet, it is very close to CNR Red number 11 (Mineral Brown) which is the common colour for just about everything which is rolling stock and buildings.

After using the spray paint, I decided roofs were in order.  I checked the Internet to see how to model canvas roofs.  I tried a couple of methods that did not work for me but they do work for other people.  Jim Martin suggested cutting masking tape into the necessary widths, laying it on and then painting over with inexpensive acrylic paint.  I used the various photos I had that showed where the canvas/tape should overlap. It worked well.  Here are the pictures that show the steps.  I am happy with the results.  The freight shed and tool shed used the same method.  The outhouse roof did not need covering.

Park Head Station Taped Roof 1
Park Head Station Taped Roof 2
Park Head Station Taped Roof 3
Park Head Station Taped Roof 4

I mixed up some black and white acrylic paint to create a warm black and hand brushed it on.  I am happy with the results.

Park Head Painted Roofs
Crossing Hwy 10

The tracks coming in and out of Park Head ran through corridors of trees that separated the lines from the farmer’s fields. I have started to build trees using the Scenic Express Super Sage Tree kits. I had purchased a set quite a few years back and Trevor Marshall kindly gifted me a starter set just before he moved to Saskatoon.  As per usual, I read and reread the instructions.  They had some links to check out which I did. The tree branches are quite curly, very dry and brittle.  I tried two methods to straighten the tree branches. The soldering iron method worked well but the glycerine bath made them more pliable.

Here are some pics of the first line of birch trees just before Hwy 6 crossover.  Many more trees will be added as well as shrubs and other natural wild plants.  This stand is on the removable piece of Styrofoam which is in front of the removable backdrop which is in front of the circuit breaker panel.  I will have to train my wife, Terry as to how to remove these if I am not around and there is an emergency.  Or, I can just stay at home forever and play trains.

Treeline 1
Treeline 2

The trees have even started growing at Park Head!

They’re Advancing Everywhere!

I find building trees quite enjoyable and I have started building more.

I guess you noticed that ballast is creeping in.  It is not a task I enjoy; therefore, I will not cover it as it covers the cork roadbed.  Until next time, hopefully sooner than later.