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Wee (dy) Tree

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I Think that I shall never see
A model lovely as a tree.*

Doing dioramas? Scenicing scenes? Trees are one of the most prominent components of a landscape.
Wee Trees
Trees are also one of the most frustrating elements to model. Especially winter trees, bare of their leaves. Even today's high-quality premium trees can not replicate the intricate branch structure of most trees. Short of making a tree your life's work, there is really no way to do so. Making trees from strands of fine wire can come close but it is a chore!

There are several model tree reviews available on your Kitmaker Network for your enjoyment. Look them up and compare. This feature is not a compilation of those, rather an example of what you can achieve through nature.

For generations modelers have used real plants to represent trees. From the bare sticks I picked up out of the back yard, to more realistic sticks with more branches, to scratchbuilding and making my own, to buying commercial natural armatures, I've tried just about everything. The results have varied and they can all give good presentation depending on what you are trying to achieve.
Wee (dy) Trees
Have you tried weeds? Most of you have probably heard of the idea. When the soil is soft just rip those lil' rascals up out of the ground and look at that root structure! Weeds, flowers, whatever you want, they can yield some amazing results.

I do not know what these plants are that are shown here. There are three different plants. Notice the difference in fullness and shapes. Presented for you are the roots with figures of common scales, 1/32, 1/48, and 1/87 (HO scale).

Weed roots can be used by themselves or you can use bunches to embellish trunks and boughs that lack the fine armatures. Use them for bare or dead trees, or sprinkle on foliage for a tree at the height of its summer splendor! Keep the natural color or stain or paint to suit your tastes.
Weeds By Any Other Name...
...can afford you almost unlimited cheap foliage for your dioramas and layouts. Go uproot a handful and plant a forest!

*Apologies to Joyce Kilmer

About the Author

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...


Ain't that the truth! Thanks, Frederick, for an informative feature about such a simple idea. You really found some great examples! The store ones can be so expensive and really add up quickly, and manufactured armatures are thick and lack fine qualities. I'll spend my summer now looking at roots! -Sean.
JUN 08, 2011 - 08:31 AM
wow, great. Those def look the part. And they would all look sort of different like in real 1/1 scale. Similar weeds can be harvested for similar breeds of trees and different for different
JUN 08, 2011 - 02:40 PM
Dear readers all, I have a sample of this very same technique posted in a recent photo gallery of my "We Got You Covered" one photo shows a tree which in fact is a very large root from one of my many hundreds of roots found on my property. This technique is ageless as far as I'm concerned as the only problem with it is when I run out of roots (weeds) I've never had that problem, yet. If anyone needs weeds, dead of course, drop me a note here and I'll fill your weed root bag. Also sage, tumbleweed and plenty more tree armature material is all over the place around me in SW New Mexico. Please refer to the article. Also in my photo album there are weed roots used in the diorama of the bocage' assault. The best, Johncpo
NOV 11, 2011 - 03:41 AM
Some further 'making weed trees' how-to's by [Romain]: Trees Galore Trees Galore 2
JAN 16, 2015 - 08:33 PM