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Looking for forum input on what you have used to make trees for your railroads. I have used Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express.
I liked the Scenic Express but have been unable to find them anywhere. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place. I liked the look of the Scenic Express it looked more realistic than the Woodland Scenics. Maybe the forum has some other recommendations or pointers I could use. Thanks
 

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Commercially, ScenicExpress would be my one & only. The realism is worth the cost, which I cannot say for many others.

But I’m looking at making my own deciduous. Previously I’ve made my own conifers, along with improving on woodland scenic conifers… but that really wasn’t worthwhile in the end.

I’m modeling late Autumn, so while I needn’t worry about foliage, the trunk and branch systems are plain to see, so for me it’s a different beast to wrestle than most folks contend with.
 

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I made somewhere around 300 trees for my layout. The vast majority are Woodland Scenic plastic armatures you bend into shape. With Woodland Scenic clump foliage. I also used a lot of Woodland Scenic Fine Leaf Foliage, which has a lot of tree size pieces. Finally, I twisted my own, using various twisted wire methods.
 

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I have used Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express to make my own. I have also used sedum florets, which also work well. For all of these, it's simply about investing the effort to make a realistic tree; I guess if you wanted to really mass produce individual trees, Scenic Express would be the easiest. But then, for large wooded areas, I use a few full trees at the edged, then puffball trees to fill the large forested areas.

For commercial, pre-made trees, JTT Trees are the hands-down winner. They're expensive, but worth it.
 

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Looking for forum input on what you have used to make trees for your railroads. I have used Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express.
I liked the Scenic Express but have been unable to find them anywhere. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place. I liked the look of the Scenic Express it looked more realistic than the Woodland Scenics. Maybe the forum has some other recommendations or pointers I could use. Thanks
I make my own mostly. I do have a few woodland scenics, and some plastic cheapies I bought from amazon. I model the Seattle area, so lots & lots of conifers are needed. Buying that many commercial trees would quickly bankrupt me, so I scratchbuilt them. The photos show some of my conifer trees, and the file explains how they were built.
Trees look more realistic when you can see through them. Look at a real tree, chances are you'll see the house, hill, or whatever else is past the tree. Trees are rarely opaque. My early conifers were too thick, and hard to see beyond. The last photo shows two of the old trees on the left & two new trees on the right. Notice the difference in "transparency." The materials are identical on all four trees in the last photo, just less foliage, and more air gaps, in the new trees. The same principal holds true for deciduous trees. A thick clump of foliage stuck on a trunk will look more like cotton candy, or the way a young child draws a tree, than an actual tree.

Traction Fan
 

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I make my own from Sedum grown as a border plant in most flower beds around . Cultivate it in late November or just wait until spring when it's even dryer. I know i have a thread in the "How To" section of the Forum. It's a fun process using Woodland Scenic Ground Cover and diluted Elmer's Glue. There' s a nice article in Model Railroader as well!!
Motor vehicle Plant Toy Vehicle Building
 

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I have tried all but the Scenic Express variety. Woodland Scenics has decent trees, but they're a bit spendy for a package of maybe six of different sizes, from about 12' down to about 3'. I have made my own using ground down to tapered wooden dowels, using a hobby saw to scrub the sides to look like bark, and then using those turquoise 'natural fiber' furnace filters from WalMart....at least they used to have those. Cut flat bits out of the filter, tease them apart into individual or thinner branchlets, and space them out along the tapered dowel. Then spray with 3M Product 77, or hairspray, and dip the branched part of the dowel into a plastic bad with at least two shades of 'flocking' or finely ground foam from WS. Shake, and overspray with another holding spritz of either spray product. Do't spray longer than a second at a time or you'll get whitish gunk over your nice flocking.

BTW, cover your tapered and scrubbed up dowels with a couple of shades of brown/grey before you begin to flesh out the branches and such.

I have used the sedum/yarrow/tansy types and find them to look a little goofy. I still have some on my newest layout, so I'm not disparaging anyone who still uses them.

The best natural armatures for oak and elm would be sage brush armatures. Almost all of us travel through deserts or arid places now and then. We can stop for ten minutes and collect a garbage bag full of the branch tips, especially those devoid of any meaningful vegetation. When planted, they can look thusly:



As for those dowel and filter trees (we mostly call them Aggro Trees after a long-since-gone poster who called himself aggrojones over on MR forums), my best so far (cough) are these (the tall one):



The other old standby, which CAN look pretty decent if done with a critical eye to purging those which are second rate, are puffball trees. I bunch up and round a pinch of poly fiber 'stuffing', then spray paint them from a distance (with gloves, natch) and immediately dip them into a bowl with flocking. This was my first attempt, and they'll have to do until I become embarrassed with them. They are behind the bridge on the hillside:

 

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I tried making my own trees using woodland scenic trees and foliage. Suffice to say it turned out like something I should be smoking instead of putting on my layout. So I've decided just to buy the cheap ones from China that you get 50 for like 10$
 

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I tried making my own trees using woodland scenic trees and foliage. Suffice to say it turned out like something I should be smoking instead of putting on my layout. So I've decided just to buy the cheap ones from China that you get 50 for like 10$

Conductorkev;

Painted, those cheapies don't look that bad. The first three photos show some cheap plastic trees that I bought on Amazon. You can see the difference that painting them makes.
One problem with them is that they are opaque. Most real trees (except for a dense forest of them) can be seen through. They don't completely block out the view of whatever's behind them.
The lower three photos show some trees that I scratchbuilt from cheap artist type paintbrushes for trunks and 3M Scotchbrite pads for branch& needle structure. In the forth photo you can see the difference a little airspace makes. The pdf. file explains how I made my conifer trees. The trees shown at the end of my file are early attempts, & don't look nearly as good as the later versions shown in the lower three photos. Besides a darker color, the difference is more air between branches. Perhaps you might try making trees again. It does take patience and practice.

Traction Fan
 

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I tried making my own trees using woodland scenic trees and foliage. Suffice to say it turned out like something I should be smoking instead of putting on my layout. So I've decided just to buy the cheap ones from China that you get 50 for like 10$
And are they any good, or do they look like cheap trees from China?
 

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The cheap trees from china that I get look like cheap trees from china. But they work well then you need tree density. Especially when you're doing autumn and about the only autumn trees out there (other than cheap trees from china) are the premium brands mentioned.

As said earlier... put the good stuff on the front row.

 
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