Quick and easy "filler" trees

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Gary Pfeil, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    I'm working on a stretch of shelf railroad where I have about 5" of space between the track and the backdrop. As is comonly done, I painted a tree line on the backdrop, then added lots of just trunks. Then I planteda row of trees, Woodland Scenic armatures with all teh branched bent front and side, so they could be placed against the backdrop. Smaller trees and some brush are placed in front of these to provide some hiding of the backdrop between trees. It is just about impossible (for me anyway) to achieve the intermingling of branches you see in real life, and hard to get the trees very close together as a result. So the smaller trees and brush are needed in such a narrow space. However, it seemed that I needed some filler between the tops of the trees too, as they were spaced to regularly and appeared to sparse. Here is a photo of the trees just sitting in place with just two smaller trees placed in front, while I was trying to see what I could do.

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  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    I decided I could use wire to glue the clump foliage to to fill in the spaces up top. I stripped some 14 gauge Romex, cut a piece about 2" long, and then twisted some 20 gauge wire around it to form "branches" You could of course solder these together but I took the quicker way of super glueing them. Then painted and glued on foliage. Here is one done and a couple smaller ones waiting to be painted.

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  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Here I am holding it just above where it will go, I will epoxy it in place. The bottom will be out of site, and it doesn't interfere with the existing branches.

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  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Here you see it in place and the smaller stuff on the bottom added. I've only added the one so far, i will add others.

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  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Got my new Atlas C420 today, here it is in a view showing off the tree line.

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  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Here's a closeup of the 420, it is really a nice model. I haven't yet added the railings as I need to first add the drop steps and I want to refer to a photo. The drop steps by the way come as two fiddly little parts allowing you to install in whatever position you want. Hence my desire to check some photos. Mine has sound, and I must say it is awesome. With no programming yet, even the address, I put it on the track, selected address 3, it sounds great. The headlights are dim till you turn the throttle one step, when you do so, the lights brighten, the engine gets louder, and the loco starts to move slowly. I've had to adjsut most locos to move on teh first speed step. Then again, this is my first factory installed sound loco in some time, it looks like they have got their stuff together.

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  7. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    GREAT IDEA GARY!:thumb::thumb::thumb: YOUR treeline looks FANTASTIC!:thumb: ...NICE engine too!:winki::mrgreen: .
    :deano: -Deano
  8. Flyboy41

    Flyboy41 Member

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    Great scenery. I love the relatively inexpensive way you accomplished it too.
  9. Uintah Dave

    Uintah Dave Member

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    Great Idea. Looks great too!
  10. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for that tutorial about how to "fill" a forest.
    Your new engine deserves such a well done forest as a background.
  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Nice improvement on the forest, Gary, :thumb: and a nice looking loco too!

    Wayne
  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Thanks everyone, it's a super quick project, yet adds quite a bit to the appearance. Now I have to do about another 8'.
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Gary,

    Looks great, and I like the idea of the trees right against the backdrop.

    But I have one question... why did you paint a whole bunch of trunks, but no tops, for your backdrop trees?

    Andrew
  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    That is a nice "cheat".
  15. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Andrew, they were an afterthought. I first painted the horizon line as a forested hill in the distance, thinking only that I didn't want all sky behind the trees. It wasn't until I had some trees made and standing where they would go that I realized that the area below the lowest branches of the trees needed trunks of the more distant trees. I did in fact consider carving some stripwood, say 1/4" square stock, and rounding the front facing corners roughly and glueing them to the backdrop, then extended that thought to drilling holes in it to add branches. But I was already going to use the Woodland Scenic armatures flat and with the lower foreground schrubs in place the painted trucks suffice.

    On other backdrops I've done I did indeed paint tops on the backdrop and that would have been a good idea here, frankly I didn't think of it! But I like the 3d quality of the little filler trees.
  16. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    These are photos of other backdrops where I did paint treetops. Funny how I can forget things that have worked in the past! Like always trying to reinvent the wheel.

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  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Gary,

    Thanks for that! Both the "3-D" and painted backdrops are great! :thumb: :thumb:

    Andrew
  18. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Your trees in the first shot look good, Gary, and some nice painting in behind them, too. I think I even spotted one of Bob Ross' "happy little squirrels" in there. ;):-D

    Wayne
  19. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Thanks Wayne, they are just sedum with ground foam on them. That scene was without trees for years and one day I decided to get trees in there, now. I had a bunch of the dried sedum from our garden and was only going to use it for branch material, as the plant is pretty much tops only. But here I just stuck them in the ground as is. The tree in the second photo is sedum parts installed in drilled holes in a piece of stripwood. There's potential there I haven't yet explored.