How to make model train trees

Hall of Fame Rob has been in touch with a very simple way to make model train train trees.

They look amazing too – and the ‘how to’ video is only 6 minutes too. Well worth watching when you see his pics:

“Hi Al,

I thiought you might be interested in this.

I took an 11 minute video and compressed it to 6 minutes. It is all about a method for making trees.

The method can be adapted to a variety of types of foliage. In the video I demonstrate one type.

The way I have demonstrated is using ground scatter as foliage for your tree. This works for many types of trees. It is inexpensive and easy to do.

I have really enjoyed my adventure in tree building and it has certainly enhanced my layout. My biggest problem is making them small. I must admit I struggle with getting the size down to what I think would be an ideal size for my 1:76 layout.

I recommend one tries building several trees at a time instead of just one. When you put all your eggs in one basket, then that is the result you think you must live with.

When you build several trees and vary them as they are made, you get a variety of results.

Like me, some will be great, so will be so so and some you may wiasah you could start over.

The materials for these foreground trees are relatively inexpensive.

You can certainly build these for less than you could ever buy the expensive prebuilt one for.

With practice you will find you are making trees that are much more interesting and better models of trees that can be bought commercially.

Trees in seven Steps

1) Build wire armature

2) Add smaller branches with loops

3) Use modeling paste to disguise the wire and bulk up the trunk and major limbs

4)Paint Trunk and major limbs

5) Add fine branches (static grass)

6) Cut loops and shape

7) Attach foliage

Note: Use Liquitex Matte Medium as glue for flexible long lasting results

Rob McCrain – Farland Howe”

model train HO scale tree

model railroad HO scale tree

HO scale tree model train

model railroad trees

model train tree scenery

model train tree by church

model train tree ho scale

model railway tree by tunnel

A big thanks to Rob – you can see more of his excellent model landscaping here:

Model train landscape

Now on to Bob.

I usually just direct people to ebay when they are after something, or want to sell something, but in this case, I thought I’d post:

“I was wondering if you know of anyone who may have a right hand HON3 # 6 switch they are selling.

A friend of mine is needing one to finish his current HON3 layout.

I’ve been trying to help him with this, but it seems like an endless trail of not in stock.

He has cancer and would like to see him finish this project.

Any help, leads or info, would be of great help.



Please do leave a comment below if you can help.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you poke boredom in the eye and join the fun, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

17 Responses to How to make model train trees

  1. Jim Donovan says:

    Those trees are some of the nicest I have ever seen. Thx for sharing

  2. DJfromNJ says:

    A great tutorial from start to finish. Thanks for sharing!

  3. David Howarth says:

    nice job with the trees Rob

  4. Paul says:

    Nice trees and thank you as I am doing a logging camp and trees are next on my list.


  5. Stephen Hill says:

    Rob , as always priceless info … thank you . Awesome idea , will be trying this , certain mine will not look as real as yours . Don’t k ie how you do it sir … simply amazing stuff .

  6. Richard Smyth says:

    Those rees look fabulous. A wonderful technique
    The video was great but the music was too loud I couldn’t hear what you were saying!

  7. John hauser says:

    Thanks for sharing your technique to create trees, most enjoyable to watch and you have a very real skill with these.

    John Hauser

  8. John Duryea says:

    Always enjoy Robs posts. He does things so professional and is a great example of how to do it right. Great looking trees and I’ve seen Robs tree make before and this was perfect timing as I’m trying to finish my layout, after letting it sit with just track down.

  9. Richard Mackey says:

    Hi guys, I built 6 railroads over the years, but have no eye for detail at all. So the last one I did was around an industrial area. turned out pretty good. Love this site many thanks.

  10. Kay Isbell says:

    Rob, thanks for the very well done video. We aren’t that far yet with HO layout, but your instruction will come in very handy.

  11. George Zaky says:

    Much thanks for your time & effort. The revealing statement that separates the men from the boys is ” Shading the way I may want it to be” – Wow. Now that’s a Master speaking.
    I see Hiawatha Hobbies on the web has HON3 Peco right hand #6 turn outs in stock

  12. JOHN BULLOCK says:

    You should have an Arboretum on your layout! In a sense, you already do! Great work!

  13. william j plmer says:

    very nice

  14. Charles Eyster says:

    You are so right about making them in some quantity more than singles! I have always been bothered by the market not having true to scale trees available.
    By making them at different times, you’ll be more likely to have greater variation in sizes and such, just like in nature.
    I am keeping this YouTube video until I can make my tree stands.
    Kudos good sir! What a great forum to learn from! Thank you all!

  15. Malcolm says:

    Rob, Those are by far the best looking model trees I have ever seen. Hall of Fame stuff indeed! One of the reasons I enjoy this site so much is tutorials like this.

  16. jeff says:

    That is AMAZING!!!! Such fine detail. Keep up the good work!!

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