Jump to content

Tree Building using plastic armatures in 4mm scale


Recommended Posts

Yesterday, I made a start on the smaller tree for Tyteford Halte. I started with a plastic armature from Woodland Scenics pack of 28 deciduous trees (TR1122) this was one of the smallest armatures included in a pack of various sizes ranging from 3"- 5". The first two images show what the tree looks like out of the pack and where I intend placing it on the layout. As the tree will be hard up against the backscene, I will attempt to bend all the branches forward, should still end up with a scale height of just over 20 feet after the sprigs of seafoam are attached.

 

 

 

30.jpg

31.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I next immersed the tree in hot water to make the branches pliable. I was then able to bend the branches forward and into the shape required to allow the tree to be placed up against the backscene. The tree has now transformed from being 2D to 3D. I next drilled 3 holes in the base of the tree and inserted 3 pieces of copper wire, 2 pieces sticking out sideways to represent tree roots and one piece  centrally to help anchor the tree when being inserted onto the layout. The completion of this stage was then to add the deep gap filler, directly from the tub for the tree trunk areas and roots using my fingers and then diluted with rocket glue and applied with an old brush for all the branches. This process puts on all the texture needed to simulate the tree bark. Construction time so far 25minutes,

I then allow the tree to dry thoroughly (24hrs), this is purely because when I add the washes of paint it can soften the filler if done too soon.

32.jpg

34.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The next stage was to glue on sprigs of seafoam to the ends of the plastic branches, didn't take too long - about 45 minutes.

I used same method as before, which was superglue gel with a powder accelerator sprinkled over the join to instantly bond and secure the sea foam to the plastic. Several washes of black brown were then applied to all the trunk and branches. I will leave the application of weathering powders and detail painting to after the foliage has been added, as I will only then need to address the areas which remain visible.

Foliage tomorrow...

 

35.jpg

37.jpg

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Managed to sprinkle on some foliage this evening, I used the same colour as for the diorama tree, oak leaf from the green scene collection which is an olive green colour and then some darker green scatter for a bit of contrast. This tree is destined for Tyteford Halte which is modelled on July/August time.

The final stage will now be to add some finishing paint details and weathering powders to areas of the trunk and branches which remain visible.

I will post some images after the tree gets planted which will involve some final tweaking to fit it in. It seems that after an initial offering up, the tree will now be located to the right of the lamp hut as a wee more space is required.

38.jpg

39.jpg

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad to report that the smaller tree is now planted on Tyteford Halte, to the right of the lamp hut - just about squeezed it in without too much of a haircut.

I've included a side shot of the tree to show the low relief profile which allowed me to locate the tree almost right up against the backscene. This is not apparent when viewed from the front as shown in the  wider shot.

What next.... maybe that silver birch as a practice piece, but it will need to be with wire this time.

41.jpg

42.jpg

40.jpg

  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark that tree looks superb! It looks equally stunning close up or on the layout, the texture and colours on the back look just right great stuff! 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Well I said I would have a go at a Silver Birch (Betula pendula) is the variety I will attempt to model. Due to the slender trunk and wiry branches of this variety of silver birch I am not able to use plastic armatures or seafoam and instead, will construct from wire instead. So the title of this thread no longer makes sense, apologies for that but I didn't want to start another thread just for this tree.

 

I've put up a few images to show the early stages of progress. I should also mention that this particular tree is more suited to 7mm scale, so now the title of the thread is completely meaningless, apart from the tree bit :huh:.  I'm using wire similar to florists wire, 4 lengths twisted together for the main trunk and single lengths of wire to form the branches. The single lengths of wire used to form the branches are simply bent around the trunk twice to hold them in place and then secured with a blob of superglue gel. 

I then applied the deep gap filler as before which was no problem on the trunk areas but very tedious for the branches as there is not adequate surface areas for the filler to adhere to.

I will need to come up with a quicker and better solution for the thin branches. I did a little research and have ordered a product called plastidip aerosol spray which I'm hoping will add a surface to the wire which the filler will stick to.

 

This is very much an experimentation for me and so I have jumped the gun and started to add a few lengths of teased out polyfibre tree netting in an attempt to replicate the weeping foliage. Early stages show some promise, so I will keep going a bit further before turning my hand to painting the distinctive bark patterns. That's going to be the showstopper I feel, if it doesn't look convincing then, at least I know why others buy ready made silver birch :lol:

 

 

 

 

20210126_190015[1].jpg

20210128_172544[1].jpg

20210201_184609[1].jpg

20210201_184856[1].jpg

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great start Mark. I've seen some really big Silver Birch so it might be ok for 4mm. Have you read the Gordon Gravett book on tree making, I'm sure there's a bit on silver birch's in it?

What was the polyfibre you've used? 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, sb67 said:

Great start Mark. I've seen some really big Silver Birch so it might be ok for 4mm. Have you read the Gordon Gravett book on tree making, I'm sure there's a bit on silver birch's in it?

What was the polyfibre you've used? 

Thanks Steve, much appreciated. I measured the height of the tree and its topping out at a scale 50' in 4mm scale, mature silver birch grow to that height I think, so your correct it could be used in either scale. I have a copy of Gordons grassland and landscape book (highly recommended) but not his tree one unfortunately, so I will push along using the trial and error technique.

I have included photos of the polyfibre, made by Polak, a quick internet search should return a number of UK stockists selling this stuff.

 

It comes in a number of different grades and shades of green and has many uses in landscape modelling, I used some of it to drape over the stone retaining wall in the tree diorama. Just cut off strips and tease out to the desired shape and then glue in place. You can apply it directly over static grass to look like clumps of weeds or undergrowth, have it trailing over gates, railings walls and sides of buildings and/or structures and climbing up trees etc to resemble ivy - loads of uses. The only problem it has, is when you tease out the material a lot of the scatter gets dislodged and comes off leaving areas a bit bald. I rectify this after gluing it in place by giving it a quick spray with some scenic glue, hairspray or matt varnish and then sprinkling on some more scatter material on the baldy bits.

20210202_111516[1].jpg

20210202_111634[1].jpg

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a go at attempting the distinctive bark patterns, mainly on the trunk using black/grey paint and a 000 brush. Then I dry brushed a green colour, mainly up one side of the tree and then added some tea dust for texture. The tea dust when dry will need to be blended in by painting white and black/grey. A final going over with white weathering powder will probably also be required if any of the colours are too strong.

 

More branches are required at the top half of the tree to fill it out a bit. The plastidip spray arrived and after a couple of coats of the stuff on a test straight piece of wire, I am able to coat the wire with a brush on filler mix to add some fine bark texture. I am going to remove the foilage netting that I have applied previously as it was just to see if it would work and then apply it again more precisely. Here's a couple more progress pics.

20210206_160811[1].jpg

20210206_161049[1].jpg

  • Like 3
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'm slowly venturing into the unknown with the silver birch build. I have now twisted single strands of very thin copper wire onto the main branches, the idea that they will serve to support the hanging lengths of polyfibre. I then coated everything with plastidip spray (word of caution, do this outside where there is plenty of fresh air and still wear a mask).

I then attached some lengths of polyfibre again to see how it looks, so far so good. The thin now white wire helps support the polyfibre but the white shows through in places, so before I continue any further, I will paint these wires green to camouflage them. Hopefully, that will do the trick. Here's a few more progress pics. 

20210210_213045[1].jpg

20210210_213156[1].jpg

20210210_213236[1].jpg

  • Like 2
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, StuartMc said:

Love the bark - very convincing.

Thanks Stuart, very kind of you to say so. Its all a bit 'make it up as you go' with this one, hopefully though I will end up with a convincing looking silver birch tree.

 

All the best

Mark

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I attach evermore hanging green stuff to the tree frame, I find myself thinking; good job I've nothing on for the next 'month of Sundays' because that's about how long its going to take.

I shall persevere regardless, as its turned into a labour of love. Once all the greenery is attached, I will concentrate on further detailing of the bark where it is visible. So more pics to show, I'm about a third of the way there, hey ho :crazy:

20210212_174229[1].jpg

20210212_174256[1].jpg

  • Like 2
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold

Very impressive results. It's so obviously a silver birch! Thanks for the tip about the Polak polyfibre, that looks useful.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Mikkel said:

Very impressive results. It's so obviously a silver birch! Thanks for the tip about the Polak polyfibre, that looks useful.

Thanks Mikkel, I hope you find many uses for the polyfibre, I always make sure I have some in stock.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just seen your work, and I'm impressed. In the past I've favoured florists wire for making trees and discounted the plastic armatures as not being realistic enough. You have shown me otherwise and I now may well will consider using plastic in the future. Thanks for posting.

  • Agree 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Yan said:

Just seen your work, and I'm impressed. In the past I've favoured florists wire for making trees and discounted the plastic armatures as not being realistic enough. You have shown me otherwise and I now may well will consider using plastic in the future. Thanks for posting.

No Problem Yan, glad you found my tree endeavours of use. I also thought you could only get good results from using wire and I'm glad I had a go with plastic armatures combined with seafoam. If I ever get the space for a layout in the future, then the plastic armature method of modelling trees would be the choice for me, with maybe just one or two wire constructed silver birch.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a good stint at the tree today and its more or less complete now, just needs some additional detail here and there and the thin supporting wire disguised in some places. I've added a few images of how it looks now and a couple more close ups showing the bark detail on the trunk. This one will be destined for another diorama I think when completed.

20210214_155544[1].jpg

20210214_155639[1].jpg

20210214_160819[1].jpg

  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

With the tree now complete, I decided it needed to be displayed on a diorama as opposed to the other option of putting it away, then forgetting about in which case it would undoubtedly end up damaged. A rummage through my unfinished bits box turned up a half complete brass greenhouse kit and a yet to be started garden shed. Ahh, I thought, a back garden scene. So that's what its going to be and again it will be on an 8"square base, but this time foam board. I'm working on the greenhouse at the moment and its all in 4mm scale, the tree being a large silver birch at 50' tall. Here's a couple of images of the greenhouse still under construction as I'm adding additional microstrip to form more windows. 

20210222_191550[1].jpg

20210222_192300[1].jpg

  • Like 5
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Steve,

Yes, I have the tools etc. which go with the kit, you will know how fiddly they are to assemble and remove from the fret. Very difficult not to distort the brass and a lot of fettling is required.

I want to make two of the roof window frames and one window frame on each side as openers. Not sure if I'm up to the task but I will certainly give it a go. I have lots of ready made landscaping bits, foliage and plant stuff I've hoarded over the past couple of years as I had intended to model an allotment at some point, so this diorama will be a good excuse to use some of it in representing the garden features.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I managed to use some micro-strip to construct two window frames as openers for each side of the greenhouse. Next stage is to add additional glazing bars to the roof section and have a couple of windows in the open position. I appreciate that this isn't about the silver birch at the moment but the tree needs a home for it to sit in first, and it is still scenery :offtopic: 

I didn't think that landscaping a garden on a 8" square board would be too much of a challenge. The only thing for certain is that the silver birch, due to its size, will need to be roughly centre, after that I'm scratching my head on where to put all the normal garden stuff. Did I mention there's going to be a garage as well! Here's a few more pics of the green house with the windows opened.

20210225_225247[1].jpg

20210225_225431[1].jpg

20210225_225629[1].jpg

20210225_225804[2].jpg

  • Like 5
  • Craftsmanship/clever 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold

Looks good. Nice weathered look. That's one of the things I like about modelling: You can spend 5 days building a whole layout, or 5 days detailing a single structure. And the choice is our own.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.