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Trees and Shrubbery to Create a Lifelike Model Railroad


You are well on your way to adding the finishing touch to a lifelike model railroad with the addition of trees and shrubbery. It does not have to be expensive either. A lifelike model railroad includes weeds and grass growing in places where they are not wanted--just like in real life. Of course you can quickly create a lifelike model railroad through the purchase of pre-fabricated trees and shrubbery however these can be crafted by yourself with simple material like thin wire, modeling clay, fibers, and lichen. Let's look at some ideas for adding trees and shrubbery that make for a lifelike model railroad.

Creating trees and shrubbery for a lifelike model railroad starts with deciding the climate. Do you want the look of winter, forest, beachfront, or desert to be the climate of your model railroad? And, if your model railroad is large enough, you can have a mixture of any combination of these environments.

You can make your own trees for your lifelike model railroad. Get some thin yet rigid wire strands and twist them into a trunk. Then, with some needle-nose pliers, extend some of the strands to create the limbs of the tree. Cover all the wire with modeling clay and carve a texture in it to simulate a real tree. Paint the tree with a flat brown paint and finally attach lichen on the limbs in the color that represents the season you are modeling.

A variation of colors is needed to make a lifelike model railroad desert scene. The desert is full of colors like green, yellow, gray, and brown. One of the most common types of bushes in the desert is the mesquite bush which is green year-round. The yellow grass of the desert can be made from the strands of an old paint brush inserted into a hole so that they stand straight up. Any thin, wiry material can be used and painted in this case. You can also make cacti with thin wire and modeling clay. Use some very thin material like the paint brush strands cut into small pieces to make the needles.

You can make a lifelike model railroad snow scene with baby powder. Baby powder is perfect for making snow because of its fine granules. You can also pile it up to simulate cleared roads and snow drifts. Snow powder can also be purchased in hobby stores. If your trees are in the mountains, you might want to make the snow more “permanent” by lightly spraying the lichen on trees and bushes with white paint from an airbrush or just sprinkle on some baby powder.

Overgrown weeds and grass can be made from household materials. Grounds maintenance is rarely done around warehouse spurs and you can make your lifelike model railroad reflect the same. One way is to take clumps of fibers from old carpeting, coat them with glue, and insert into holes drilled on the surface of your model railroad layout. You can also check your local arts and crafts stores for dried flowers. Once you place the weeds in their holes and the glue dries, paint them with shades of green and yellow. The yellow is good for giving them a dried out look. Another coarse material that can be used to make weeds is the small strands from scouring pads.

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