Using Model Foliage to Create Cluster Trees

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Jim Hertzog’s Reading model railroad layout is built on narrow shelves of about 12-16 inches, meaning the seams are fairly shallow. He developed a way to avoid running into scenic issues while working with limited horizontal shelf space. Because Pennsylvania has a very mountainous terrain, Jim was able to work vertically with the model foliage on the layout. The canopy of green foliage gives a background impression of a large hill creating the illusion of a larger space.

Model Foliage

In this segment of the Reading Railroad series, Jim demonstrates how to make cluster trees. Jim uses Woodland Scenic Foliage Clusters to make his scenery. His technique allows for quick model foliage coverage of large areas. Covering square feet at a time may create “spider web” glue strands, but Jim will explain how to easily deal with that. He also shares some tips on how to use various colors of model foliage to create a natural appearance of cluster trees.

Towards the end of the video, Allen and Jim discuss several scenic elements of the Reading layout. First, Jim reveals how much of the layout he has changed since he started building in 1998. Then, he explains how he accurately replicated the years of waste and mining activity of the Pennsylvania Coal Region in the 1950’s. Jim affirms that he put a lot of time, effort and money into the Reading model layout, so naturally he wanted the outcome to look as accurately as possible.

Through Jim’s dedication to modeling as close to the prototype of the Pennsylvania Coal Region as possible, he has developed numerous tips to creating realistic scenery. Model foliage is an amazing scenic element and there are many ways to incorporate it into your layout. Learning how to accurately depict a cluster of trees is just one of the ways to create realistic model scenery.

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