To make model railroad scenery trees for winter scenes, or deciduous trees in particular, Paul Dolkos recommends finding some armature material that has a complex branching structure. The pieces he shows came off of real trees, so they do not have very many branches and are a bit too sparse for a model tree. Instead he uses a low growing plants which are much better armature. To further refine the armature, he uses more fine branching material like baby’s breath or supertree material from Scenic Express. To fasten these smaller branches in, he dips the tips into a pool of melted glue sticks in a glue pot sold at crafters stores, mostly used by flower arrangers.
As the fine branching material is added, it can become tedious. Paul finds that if he builds about six at a time, he can make model railroad scenery trees with this technique quite quickly. To finish up the trees, he simply sprays gray primer. In New England there are also a lot of coniferous trees. He goes on to explain how he models these types of trees. There are a number of pine tree armatures, including pieces off of an artificial Christmas tree. To bulk up the branches, Paul uses foam. The foam doesn’t have to be a particular color. He uses Emler’s spray adhesive to attach materials to the trees.
To complete the pine tree finish, he uses a flocking material of short nylon fibers. He applies this with an electrostatic dispenser and shakes it over the sprayed tree. The final touch is to spray the whole tree with a dark green spray paint. Paul’s favorite armature for pine trees is foxtail fern. This house plant continually replenishes itself so there will always be a supply to make more armatures from it. For expert tips and ideas for superior scenery or more tree making techniques.