Making Trees for Canyon Road

I wrote in November about starting the scenery for Canyon Road. Back then, I was working to straighten Scenic Express SuperTrees material and getting ready to make trees. Yesterday, I took those armatures and started adding SuperLeaf material and actually turning them into trees. On the diorama, the trees form the majority of the background to transition between the ground and the backdrop, so I needed to get them done sometime so I can fill in the scenery around them and finish the scene.

Supplies for making trees, and tress drying before they are installed.

I wanted these trees to be as simple as possible, in part because the Super Trees tree material is quite fragile, so I didn’t want to mess around trying to add any polyfibre bulk to them. I used a tried and true method of spraying with a heavy hold hair spray, and dropping down leaf material onto the armatures. For my trees, I mixed a variety of colours to create different shades of green and orange trees as this is a fall scene I am modelling. There are four or five different tonal varieties of mix across the dozen or so trees and large shrubs I made. After the leaf scatter is on, another shot of hairspray over top, and then set them aside to dry.

While they were drying, I ran the “electrical wire” on the telegraph poles that remains to provide power to the signals, and got ready to plant the trees. To plant them, I used a pointed awl to make holes in my scenery. I’m finding a downside of the way I did the scenery with plaster sheets here, you can’t just poke things into the scenery, you need to punch/drill a real hole to get them in, and glue them in place. Good to know for future scenery on projects.

Getting the trees installed on Canyon Road. Such a simple project but it so advances the look of the diorama in a few short hours.

I am pretty pleased with how the trees came out. Every shot of the diorama looks a bit better when I make progress like this. I have a variety of long grasses and other materials to work into the undergrowth and hillside to hopefully finish the scene as it looks a bit barren under the trees now, but that is a project for another day.

3 thoughts on “Making Trees for Canyon Road

  1. You have an amazing eye for detail! I’m new to your blog and new to model railroading. So new that I’m just in the learning and observing stage. I don’t even have any model trains yet but am thinking on integrating it into my HO slot car hobby which I am just now reigniting after 20 years. You may have explained this earlier in your blog or maybe it’s just understood by seasoned model railroaders, but I noticed that you diorama is just that, it doesn’t really connect to anything. Is that a new variation of the hobby or is it just something that is added for effect to an already functioning layout, or will it actually connect up to a working layout later?

    • Hi Steve,

      So, there are many different ways of building model railroads. I have both the full layout on permanent benchwork, and the dioramas I build. My dioramas are truly that, they are all designed to fit in ikea bookcases and built using the shelves as a base. It’s a throwback to where I was several years ago living in apartments where I couldn’t build a layout really, but wanting to work on modeling skills and have places to display models that aren’t just on a shelf or in a case. You could conceivably build them to be integrated into a layout later, I know many people who do, but I don’t.

      There are also people out there who build “modules”, or individual scenes and get together at clubs or shows to construct layouts and operate trains. These are generally larger, 2’ wide is the basic standard, and generally anywhere from 2’ to 8’ long. I am not and haven’t been involved in a club doing this, but generally in HO it seems the “Freemo” standard is the most commonly used standards for modules.

      Good luck with getting into model railroading, thanks for reading!


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