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Old 19th December 2010, 12:11   #21
Tedh
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 46
Default Re: Dark Oak

Well, I'm older now and got rid of the beard (too itchy - going for a pony tail instead ). Looking over the thread again started me thinking about trees.

Trees, in a way, are the bane of the model railroader. Oh, it's fine in Z, N, TT and HO (OO), but from there on things really start getting messy. You can get away with little or no bark detail in the smaller scales - just representative color wash and in HO a stiff brush stipple of lighter brown. Yes some look gray, but they are not. That's because 40 percent of the male population of this planet have a red-green color problem! What looks gray is actually brown, it has a bit more blue in.

I model in 1/4 inch scale, so trees need to have bark that has definition. The "thinking about trees" bit, was me wondering how many ways can I do that. First off I need texture, with depth. How about a bunch of wires for the trunk, boughs and branches, maybe epoxied through. Then, once ready, dip the whole tree skeleton in Hydrocal. A few minutes wait until it begins to harden, then with a course brush (slightly wetted) go over the trunk and main boughs until I have the texture of the parts that are not covered with leaves. The branches would not need that. The main bit is the trunk, which might need a couple of passes. I would have to look at a photo of a tree so I have a good idea of how the bark runs.

When it's completely dry, the fun begins. What kind of tree is it? Is it foreground or background? Do I really want to go through all this hassle for a stupid tree ? What I see on bark is dark and lighter as seen in the photo. I think I'd do the dark brown "shadow" first over all the whole thing. Then the lighter brown, semi-dry brushed on the surfaces so the deeper parts of the texture retain the dark for shadows etc. It all depends on the tree. Redwoods and Sequoias are more Red-Brown than Blue-brown. Most other trees are Blue-Brown. The shadows would all be dark (more black in the initial color). When it's all colored and dry, add the ground foam for the leaf representation. The bigger the scale the harder it is to have nice looking leaves or needles - I have yet to see a remotely good looking tree in G Scale.

Very few trees look good. The only ones I've ever seen that looked real, were done years ago by a guy named Robert Skeen in England. Trees were his hobby and he used a 'lot' of wire, soldered together (huge amounts of solder - solder?) all based on a photograph of a real tree. So the number and position of branches were near on perfect. Coloring and leafing was done with his own ground foam colored to the exact shade of that tree species. When I did some rolling stock on the old Yakima Valley Model Railroad, Robert (now departed)) did the trees. Ponderosa Pines and Sitka Spruce. They-were-beautiful! Only a few and looked fantastic.

So if you want trees, mess around some. Try different methods. See if you can improve on the method. Don't do hundreds of the silly things and end up not liking them (experience talking). Just play around with one at a time until you get the technique down - then mass produce, like an assembly line, your huge amount of trees.

Just some thoughts.
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