Building the Hitop, Part 9

Today we cover the addition of puffball trees. Before I go further, I must add a correction to a previous post about the poly fiber. MicroMark now has the black poly fiber available one again. I used black, as it helps to give a look of depth to the trees.

I also used poly fiber, as believe it or not, I have close to 300 pieces or trees on the layout, so considering it was representing Appalachia with its dense tree cover, it was of course more economical than say perhaps Super Trees from Scenic Express, and I believe the puffball trees represent the type of foliage found in the area very well.

I used the same method that MR used, in other words, the same materials. I used a 50-50 mixture of Elmer’s white glue and lukewarm water to roll the puffs in, then rolled them in three colors of ground foam, again, to give a variance of color. The colors were a light springtime color, a medium green, and a dark green. To begin, I pinched off various sizes of poly fiber, then rolled the fiber up in mushroom shaped balls, before dipping in the glue/water mixture, and rolling in the ground foam. I was satisfied with the results. After the puffballs were almost dry, I then glued them to the plaster cloth hills with straight Elmer’s glue, being sure to cover up any “gaps” between trees. Apply the puffballs to the hills before they dry, as when they do dry, the poly fiber sort of interlocks together, causing a pretty tight bond. I in 5 years now have never had any trees loosen and fall off the scenery. Also I believe the puffballs are more durable than real wood trees, being less prone to snap off or fall off due to an errant hand or arm.  Photos here:

The bottom photo shows the finished appearance on the main ridge line. Notice the side where the feed and hardware store is sitting, and the unfinished scenery here. This section was the last piece of scenery to be done, and I’ll cover that next time.

The puffballs probably took the longest to do, as it’s a messy job, and time consuming. I worked a little bit on planting these probably five days a week for several hours each day. Again, there are probably close to 300 of these on the layout.

Finally, one more point about trees. I had used WS plastic trees around the rest of the layout where individual trees were called for. However, they do really look unrealistic with their plastic trunks and branches, so most of these have been replaced with real wood trees from Grand Central Gems. Several WS trees left on the layout are a bit hard to get to and replace, so these will probably remain for some time.

That’s it for today. Next time I’ll discuss the last piece of scenery to go in on the layout, then I’ll discuss the building kits. Stay tuned!

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