Scratchbuilding Trees with Lou Sassi

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Duration: 6:59

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To start this video on scratchbuilding trees, Lou Sassi shows the tools he uses to make a typical deciduous tree with the wrap method. Today he is using wild oregano, beeswax floral tape, a good white glue, wire cutters, and wire. For colors he uses an inexpensive can of green spray paint which will be oversprayed with a variety of colors of Floquil paint using an airbrush. Artist tubes of acrylics are used for creating the bark effect on the trunk, as well as brushes to apply it, more tubes of artist acrylics to paint the trunks, and highball ballast.

He begins by wrapping the stems together using floral wrap when he is happy with the tree’s configuration. Carefully and tightly he wraps it around with his fingers. The beeswax will make it stick. Then he nips off the excess off the bottom with the wire cutters and adds floral wire up the middle with white glue for stability and to plant it in the layout later. Again he clips off excess with wire cutters.

Next is to add the artist tube acrylics to the tree. A brown paint on the paintbrush is applied to the trunk to hide the floral tape and create the effect of bark texture. If the paint is let to sit for 15-20 minutes it starts to solidify and will give an even better bark texture. After letting the paint dry overnight, Lou can spray the leaves with the green spray paint. A mix of Floquil paint in reefer yellow, Burlington Northern green, and coach green is painted on the trunk and branches with a variety of liquid artist acrylics.

He makes sure there is no uniformity in color because this would be unrealistic. It is sometimes good to add a bit of highball ballast to enhance the bark texture while the paint is still tacky. Watch the video to see how Lou creates Evergreen trees. For more tips for creating realistic trees or model railroad scenery tips, visit the Model Railroad Academy website.