Dan’s trees

“hello Al – great site – as winter continues in Eastern Canada I took to making evergreen trees they turned out pretty good – basically twisted wire and hemp rope sprayed with a clear matte paint or hair spray and the dusted with green dyed sawdust .

The trunks are pieces of drilled out grape vine as they have a very soft centre and the twisted wire is just slide through with enough to stick them in the foam base of my layout . this is my second batch so I thought I would send you a couple of photos – drying after dusted, in the snow :) and on the layout

best regards


“Hi Al.

What you need to make a working windmill: Tip off a instant glue. Drilled out tiny bit wider. An extension straw for lubricant’s. And roundish piece of plastic from anything.And another piece of straw not drilled, instant glued, to the plastic round piece.

You see it glued to a T shape. Make sure that plastic post slips into the tip and moves cleanly around.A sewing pin small.A piece of aluminum from a food container cut 1 1/4 diameter .each time you cut a fin take a sliver piece off the next in line to make that gap you see.And 3 long thin round stick’s sanded thinner.cut 3 3/4 inches long.and a piece of balsawood for the stand .

The rest of the sticks cut into beams to go around the tower legs for support.once done.Take a pair of tweezers and carefully bend the blades to catch the max wind and operation.


“Hi Al

These are photos of a small HO scale machine shop (1.5″ x 3.0″) fully detailed and lighted inside. It was a resin kit modified to fit the space available but still is a credible building. It took me three evenings (total of 16 hours) from start to finish.

I have a scrap (I call it a BITS) box full of resin and white metal castings (some painted when I feel like doing something small in one evening like painting castings) made over a period of time that I dig into for all my detail parts in case anyone is asking.

I build these small buildings from time to time when I have run out of steam (pardon the pun) and do not feel like taking on large month long projects. It is these small buildings that keep me going as well as inspiring me to do bigger and better. They also help to populate the layout fairly quickly.

Thanks Al and keep ’em coming.



(Brian’s last post is here)

And here’s a little scene my boy scratch built with his print out scenery:

That’s all this time folks.

If you’re heading off to ebay, don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet.

Keep ’em coming.



15 Responses to Dan’s trees

  1. Nice trees, Dan.

  2. This is all very good information on the trees and to make the windmill keep up the good news realy enjoy all of this.

  3. I would love to see a breakdown (step-by-step) of Dan’s trees; the hemp rope idea sounds unique! Brian’s buildings are quite impressive–I’d love to see more of them as well!

    A lot of these tips are inspiration for the rest of us on a budget; I am always amazed at how many different ways a tree can be made, or how to make a building, rolling stock, or locomotive look better than what you can buy over-the counter. Thanks to you all!

  4. I always enjoy seeing the creativity of others. What I think are often missing on layouts are people – there are often too few! But does anyone have any suggestions about removing “manhole covers” from people after they have been painted or filling in the gaps between the bases if they are not removed? Any thoughts.

  5. Manhole? Do you mean the plastic stand that the people sit on.If yes I use a very sharp crafter’s knife to remove the plastic stand.Cut carefully on the bottom of the feet.Thanks for the windmill comment was fun building them.I did 3 versions.That building is super nice.Love the interior ,tree’s are great as well.As for people I always add people to any building or what ever it may be.green houses lots.Try that windmill works better than static plastic you pay tomuch for.Would love to see others version of it too .

  6. The craftsmanship on display is great to see. I have learned so much about building things using a collection of items most people discard. From a fellow who once could compete, you have inspired me. I have a tremor in both hands but I am going to try to see what I can come up with. You guys are the best. Ed

  7. Like the machine shop that’s a good one !! keep up the great work .

  8. Hi Ed.Sorry about the hand tremor’s.I get them sometimes and I have to lay off for awhile.Im getting on in years .But not giving up yet.Keep your chin high my friend.Do the best you can,even if its to ask for help from other’s.Do so.Just direct what you want done.Keep building Ed take care.

  9. Thanks for the how tos just what i want for my layout the machine shop is great i like small buildings.

  10. I’ve been trying to find a good way to color sawdust but
    have not been successful. would love to hear dan’s method.


  11. Excellent ideas. Great to share these with other modellers.

  12. Bill the way I color sawdust is probably not the best but it works first I sort the sawdust by size through a series of screens or strainers . Then I have an old blender which I fill about half full of sawdust then I add tempra powder paint or liquid paint available at any craft store add water to get the tone of green or earth color you want ( remember to put the lid on the blender) then turn it on until the mix is an even color .
    From trial and error I have found the right mix so there is not to much liquid but enough to let the blender work .

    I then pour the mixture on a cookie sheet and let it dry out turning it over every once and a while . I have a detached garage with wood heat so the drying goes fairly quick . hope this helps

  13. This one again. Nice trees I always feel I need more trees.

  14. Love the trees and the detailed Leviathan Manufacturing building…

  15. The way I color sawdust is with cloth dye, just like you would using the dye to dye clothing. To dry, I use old cardboard. Before this site and got the tip of cardboard U let it dry on newspaper four sheets thick. I so enjoy this site

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