Ray & Renee Grosser

The Soo Line - Making Model Railroad Trees & Realistic Scenery

Ray & Renee Grosser
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Duration:   7  mins

As we’ve seen in an earlier clip, the scenery on Ray and Renee Grosser’s large Soo Line layout features very lifelike scenery, and one of the most notable aspects are the model railroad trees which number in the hundreds. Each has been handcrafted by Renee, and she shares her secrets to making convincing deciduous trees using a product called “Forest in a Flash” from Jane’s Tools although there are several other model railroad tree products on the market (such as Woodland Scenics, Heki and Super Trees) which you could substitute.

Instead of using the armatures straight from the box, Renee snips off lower branches, and then combines the loose branches together with thread to make a thicker, more realistic tree. She also uses floral wire to add support to the trunk so allow it to bend and sway more realistically, using DAP Caulk or wood glue to bind the wire and plastic trunk together. When dry, she paints the bark two or three colors of gray and dark brown, noting that tree trunks in various shades of these colors.

Her final touch is bending the 4 or 5 floral wires outward from the bases and spreading caulk over each to add thickness, then painting when dry to create convincing looking above-ground tree roots. By following Renee’s easy tips you, too, can manufacture model railroad trees that will not only look great but earn praise from your visitors!

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