That’s a cute copper tree

For a while now I’ve been thinking about model trees. I’ve been studying and daydreaming my way through articles by Barry Norman, Gordon Gravett, and Trevor Marshall describing their methods and the beautiful tree models they’ve produced. The more I read these tree-making articles, the more I feel I “need” to try my hand at this. This evening I found myself leafing through the pages of an amazing thread on the German Stummis Modelbahnforum (forum):

The thread itself is now over thirty pages in length and it showcases, in stunning detail, some of the finest, finescale 1/160 scale modelling I have ever seen. As if page after page of beautiful German steam engines weren’t enough, the author has been posting photos and articles on how he makes his trees. You really need to see the photos in the above thread, his tree models are stunning. They’re just beautiful. One step from his process that I thought particularly brilliant was to dust the branches with static grass. Those fine blades of grass are used to create a terrifically convincing array of fine branches and the effect is stunning. Actually, stunning doesn’t even come close to describing how terrific the finished models look.

“Time to have a go Mears”, I say to myself.

With a bottle of Vermont cider at the ready I headed off to the dining room table with an assortment of fine gauge wires to try to learn how to twist them together and start my first tree armatures. Luckily wire is cheap and plentiful as I seem to have discarded quite a lot of it. I’m having a lot of fun learning how to twist the wires and also how to plan where and when to start each branch. Fueled by these first steps I thought I’d have a go at a full armature. I was holding the tree up to evaluate my progress and feeling a little proud of my evening’s work when Krista walked by and offered the remark that I used to title this post. I feel like I’m starting to get a proper feel for how the models will come together and think it’s time to get a little more serious about a proper test sample. I thought I’d share a photo of my cute little copper tree and am already looking forward to having some time later this week to work on a few more attempts.



  1. Chris,
    Good first effort on the tree armature. After looking at the thread from your link, I’m speechless. There is a satisfying delicacy to the work that adds so much realism to it. It’s hard to believe it’s 2mm.


  2. The ‘C’ word (cute) is never to be uttered by modellers, according to some i.e. ‘look at this cute Penn Central boxcar I just weathered’. HOWEVER, these same modellers would probably agree it’s completely appropriate when uttered by our significant other!

    Or maybe I’m just out of my tree. Be-leaf that. I’ll get some sanity back after a trip to Toronto tomorrow – bring on the 2+1 seating of a refurb VIA Business Class car!

    Great to see ET & HK Ide. Wish I’d taken that photo! Cool flatcars, too.

    Thanks for sharing, Chris.

    1. Hi, Eric. I wood have never beleafed how hard I could fall for all this tree making. Sometimes I worry it might be too hard to see the projects for the workbench through!

      Seriously though, there are some real artists doing superb work. I’m so grateful that they’re taking the time to share what they are working on and how they do it so folks like me can follow along. Like any modelling project, now that I’m attempting models it’s affecting the way I see real trees.

      I have more photos from the trip and a few extras of that mill and the flat cars. Stay tuned.

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