Friday, August 5, 2011

Foreground Trees

August 8, 2013 Update:
I've been getting some questions on the Crepe Myrtle trees, so I added a couple of pictures of the trees in bloom to this post.
One of the trees in bloom:
Here's a closeup of the bloom. When these die off they have to cut from the tree. It's one fall gardening chore I actually like doing!

I want to work on some scenery - for a change of pace from track and wiring and also to have a place to pose some "finished" photos, especially around my bridge scene. The problem was I didn't have any foreground trees. So I decided my "weeknight" project - for those times when I had a few minutes in the evening - would be to build up some leafless deciduous trees. 
Last spring we had a bunch of landscaping done - and we ended up with several Crape Myrtle plants. These flower in the summer, one flower on the end of each branch, and the seed pods and flowers turn brown in the fall. To get the plant to flower again you really need to remove the seed heads from the plant. Here's one of the plants in the side yard - this was taken in late spring.
You can see the seed pods on the dried out bloom below - I kept these cuttings thinking they may make decent tree armatures. They do, but it takes a little bit of trimming. Of course, the seed pods have to be removed and the "droopy" ends of the branches need to be trimmed off as well.

Here's the "stripped" armature - ready to have the finer branches added:
I used the pieces of the fine Super Trees sold by Scenic Express applied one at a time and secured in place with hot glue - much easier than the CA I used to use to build up trees. I always ended up with little bits of SuperTrees on my fingers!!
Here's a tree just about ready for the paint shop (I'll paint them primer gray with a dusting of "Camo Brown" on the ends) - On this one I also plan to remove that oddball branch on the bottom.

I don't plan to make forests of trees this way. This is strictly for foreground "specimen" trees. But I'm pleased with the way the Crepe Myrtle branches make the trunk and main branches look more robust and the Super Tree foliage adds the finer branch structure. I've made about a dozen of these in the last week of evenings - which should be more than enough to scenic the bridge scene. That's tomorrow's project. 


Ted DiIorio said...

What's your adverage time from start to finish to complete one of these trees?

CVSNE said...


I haven't timed it from start to finish, but if I had to guess I'd say about an hour for one of the larger foreground trees. I work on these while watching tv in the evening.

Trevor said...

Nicely done, Marty. I like the hot glue idea. I'll have to try that myself.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I wonder if I could do one or two to give some variety to what I will eventually do for scenery. I still have a ways to go before I'm ready for trees.