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How to make trees from a natural kit

A group of SuperTrees populates the hillside by Artz Lumber Co. on the HO scale Milwaukee, Racine & Troy. Cody Grivno explains how to make realistic trees using the Scenic Express kit.
Photos by Bill Zuback

If there is one thing our HO scale Milwaukee, Racine & Troy club layout can use more of, it’s trees. The 28 x 54-foot model railroad has some areas that are densely wooded, matching the Badger State setting. But there are other locations where the ground meets the sky-blue backdrop with nothing to mask the harsh right angle.

Over the years, we’ve used a variety of trees on our model railroad. We’ve planted commercial trees from dozens of manufacturers (January 2013 Model Railroader), used kits featuring plastic and metal armatures and ground foam (not the subject of a story, but there are a lot of them), and even turned to scratchbuilding trees using wooden dowels and furnace filter material (March 2011). This time, we gave Scenic Express SuperTrees a try.

In the ready-to-run world of model railroading, SuperTrees provide a nice, hands-on alternative for scenery. You get to make the trees to the size, shape, and color that you want, and you can rest assured you won’t find an identical tree on any other model railroad. And for around $1 each (not counting the flocking material), the trees are a good deal.

So get some SuperTrees, diluted matte medium, paint, and leaf flock, and get ready to make some trees. If you work in assembly line fashion, you should be able to knock out more than 30 trees in two evenings’ time.

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Two great beginner layouts.

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