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On going saga of building a Burr Oak tree. The intent is to place the oak behind the Inn as seen in the photo.  I have far less room behind the Inn than I thought. This is going to have to be a 1/4 tree in order to fit. As you can tell by the building this is a big tree. But is is sitting about 6 inches higher than it really is. 

Concepts are one thing the actual build is another.  A couple of things about using the sedum heads. I really like the branching the heads have, but I really do not "care" for how flat the heads are. As a trial, I used shrink tubing (white) to slip over the wire branches with the sedum stems inserted. This allowed me to add multiple branches to a single wire.  I did not heat shrink them, but will probably buy black tubing and use those to hold everything in place while final gluing.  An easier way to do this would be with poly fiber. That method is OK, but I think the leaves get too dense making the tree too dense. Maybe the sea foam armatures are the way to go after all.

Another thought - if I were to do a "puff ball" tree line background, these would work really well planted in a foam backer.   

As for looks, I think the tree above the roof line needs to be no more than the total height of the Inn and maybe just the height of the second floor and roof.  Basically remove the bottom branches and shorten the entire tree.  What do you think?   

IMG_2891

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@RSJB18 posted:

IDK Jeff- I like it but I wouldn't want to sleep on the second floor in wind storm.......

The tree needs to be more dense. The clumps all on the end don't look realistic. Can you split some of the sedums and glue them down the branches closer to the main trunk? It would fill it in more.

Agreed, but the height  looks good. filling in from the sides, will flush it out.  and every one needs to remember, most of the model train layouts , we have seen the trees are way to small .  I live in an area where the trees are 40 to 80 feet tall !

Thanks @Dave Koehler  @RSJB18  The tree certainly needs more fill-in.  I was trying to get an idea on size and placement of the leaf clusters. In order for this tree to fit in the corner, I will have to bend or remove branches to the point the tree will look like an 80 degree pie shape from above. If I can bend the branches around I should have enough wire stubs to add leaf clusters to fill in. The use of the shrink tubing is a help but the stems are going in nearly parallel to the wires.  I'll have to figure out if I can get 30 to 45 degrees out of the tubing  to get more "spread".  I can then glue them in place for a more permanent set.

As this is a work-in-progress and a learning experience - next time I would knock nearly all of the flowers off the sedum heads,  paint the stems, apply the leaf material, seal and then apply to the wire tree.  The wires are about the right length if I was adding poly. But with the stems adding 2 to 3 inches I'll be doing a bit of wire trimming. 

As far as proportion, the Inn is 9 inches to the roof line, the top of the tree is 18 inches. A full grown Burr Oak tops off around 60 feet, so from 2 perspectives the height is about correct to the prototype and it looks reasonable next to each other in this photo. Although I could make an argument to shorten it by 2 to 4 inches to reduce its visual impact on the rest of the layout.  I can certainly duplicate its height with the twin pine I will model later.  Looking at this image I would love to put this tree next to or a little behind the inn off a corner. I just do not have the room - its really tight - I'll have to consider alternatives - maybe ...



IMG_2896

A close up of the leaf clusters. I think the leaves look pretty good. In order to get around the flat head look I might be able to separate the clusters into smaller units and hot melt them into a larger, more "natural" cluster. There are 3 different super leaf colors in this mix plus the rust coming through the stem. You can see the texture in person, but the camera will not pick it up at a distance.

IMG_2897

Thanks for the feedback - it helps to think about alternatives and different approaches.

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@ScoutingDad posted:

Thanks @Dave Koehler  @RSJB18  The tree certainly needs more fill-in.  I was trying to get an idea on size and placement of the leaf clusters. In order for this tree to fit in the corner, I will have to bend or remove branches to the point the tree will look like an 80 degree pie shape from above. If I can bend the branches around I should have enough wire stubs to add leaf clusters to fill in. The use of the shrink tubing is a help but the stems are going in nearly parallel to the wires.  I'll have to figure out if I can get 30 to 45 degrees out of the tubing  to get more "spread".  I can then glue them in place for a more permanent set.

As this is a work-in-progress and a learning experience - next time I would knock nearly all of the flowers off the sedum heads,  paint the stems, apply the leaf material, seal and then apply to the wire tree.  The wires are about the right length if I was adding poly. But with the stems adding 2 to 3 inches I'll be doing a bit of wire trimming.

As far as proportion, the Inn is 9 inches to the roof line, the top of the tree is 18 inches. A full grown Burr Oak tops off around 60 feet, so from 2 perspectives the height is about correct to the prototype and it looks reasonable next to each other in this photo. Although I could make an argument to shorten it by 2 to 4 inches to reduce its visual impact on the rest of the layout.  I can certainly duplicate its height with the twin pine I will model later.  Looking at this image I would love to put this tree next to or a little behind the inn off a corner. I just do not have the room - its really tight - I'll have to consider alternatives - maybe ...



IMG_2896

A close up of the leaf clusters. I think the leaves look pretty good. In order to get around the flat head look I might be able to separate the clusters into smaller units and hot melt them into a larger, more "natural" cluster. There are 3 different super leaf colors in this mix plus the rust coming through the stem. You can see the texture in person, but the camera will not pick it up at a distance.

IMG_2897

Thanks for the feedback - it helps to think about alternatives and different approaches.

corners cam be tricky! , and it is easier to clump a group of trees together

Finally got back to the layout - but really to the Burr Oak.  I stripped the tree down to bare wire branches and started re-attaching the limbs.  I did not have any black shrink tubing so decided to try hot melting the limbs. Worked OK, but is messy. Next time I'll use the black shrink tubing to hold the limb in place and then cover with a mix of white glue and coffee grounds (or latex plus coffee) to set them in place.  In places where I had extra wire I twisted it around the stem to hold better.  I also took the longer stems and added branches (leaf clusters) to get the 3 dimension look. The heads themselves are rather flat disks.

NOTE: I am going to try to use the following consistently to describe the build:

  • Wire arbor and wire branches to describe the bulk of the tree and wire branches are the attachment points for the sedum limbs.
  • Limbs refer to the thicker woody part of the sedum stem
  • Leaf clusters refer to the sedum flower heads with leaves attached.
  • Branches (as opposed to wire branches) refer to smaller groups of leaf clusters glued to the limbs.

I ended up trimming the wire branches down to get the right spread of the tree. Covering the wire with multiple coats of latex and coffee grounds worked really well. I could freely bend the wire to get access to glue in the limbs. Once attached just bend back into place. Once I figured out what I was doing, work progressed quickly. The shiny parts seen in the photo are the hot melt holding the limbs to the wire branches. Here is the tree with 40 to 50 limbs attached to the wire branches. I made another 40 or so to finish the lower portion of the tree. 

BurrOak4

Here is a better close up of the leaves. The 3 different super leaf colors look pretty good. Using 60% to 80% of one leaf as a base color and the other two as highlights seems to work best to my eye.  I could vary the leaf density by using less leaves and by removing more individual sedum head flowers. Taking too many off looks a little sparse but in the right place looks fine. 

BurrOak5

What else would I do different?  Making the limbs with the branches and leaves is the best way to do this. You have really good control of the leaves and density on individual limbs and branches and you can get extra coverage on the underside of the sedum head. But they are a little brittle. I would spray with an adhesive to get better leaf attachment and fine stem strength once assembled into branches. I have a bottle of modge podge spray to try for coating the new limbs and the already built portion of the tree.  I am convinced using the shrink tube to get an initial attachment (branch to wire) is the best way to start assembling the tree.

I found out lightly rubbing the dried flower heads together gets the flower heads off quickly and more thoroughly. Pieces that break off were probably not going to stay on anyway. A brush works ok, but is slower and you have to support the head. 

I do like dipping the flower heads in about 3 inches of "scenic" glue. This thoroughly coats the flower heads and a portion of the sedum stem (in hopes it gives a little more strength). I let the glue drain off for a minute or two prior to applying the leaf material. Shake off the sedum stem in a bag or box. Excess glue ends up in the excess leaf material and creates clumps. So I make enough leaf mix to only do 5 or 6 branches to minimize leaf waste. Even if you end up with dry leaf clumps you cannot easily break apart, you now have extra ground growth for elsewhere on the layout. Mixing small batches is also good because there will be variations in each batch creating slight color variations in the finished tree.

Not sure if this is good or bad. After a week or so the latex had cured and remained flexible. Good because it was not damaged by all the wire flexing I did. Maybe no-so-good, because it was relatively easy to pull off the latex from the wire branches meaning there was not a lot of holding power. Of course what will hold fast to thin smooth wire?

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Bill, time is all in the planning and then dry time. I estimate 30 min to form the wire tree and fiddle with it 15 min for coating with latex and coffee several times. 30 minutes max to do the leaves and maybe an hour to attach the branches to the wires. This is a 20 inch tall tree so there are going to be 50 to75 branches to attach. That will take time especially if picky like me. Of course this is a foreground tree meant to attract attention. Sara`s tree would take half the time because its more vertical and the material she used for the leaves would work well.

I've posted on making different types of pine trees using dowels with furnace filters as needle supports and wire branches with static grass for needles.  Decidious trees I've made with twigs and poly fiber and or furnace filter material covered with the super leaves. For me the wire arbor is the way to go. I think the fiber gets too dense. But could be ok for deep background trees/forest. Essentially puff ball trees.

If you have any dried sedum around, those could be glued together to form a 4 or 5 inch tall tree without too much trouble. I could not get hydrangea heads to work.

Luke Towand has a nice video on making wire trees for ho scale. He uses fiber static grass ground foam and leaves for the leaves. There is a product called seafoam a plant which could look good with some fiddling. I do not like the adhesive spray, it sticks well, but dries slow and will collapse the structure if if you compress it at all.

@Tom Tee  HI Tom thanks for the kind words.  Yes it is great to be a young 66 in August. !!!

We are hoping to buy the next house before the end of this year, we will see. We found a great house which literally backed up to an interstate. Road noise was intense. Not much decision to make - a hard no- we currently live about a mile from I57 and can hear the high pitched road noise at night - not willing to live with that any more.

Regarding Twin Pines - I knew this was going to be short lived, but watching all you and others have done has allowed me to experiment with different techniques. I love learning new stuff and get quite a bit of motivation trying out new things. The CEO commented the other day on how I am able to just go ahead and launch into things I have never done before and am not afraid to do it. I just suppose I consider myself handy.

I do intend to complete a couple of more details on the TP before it comes down for good.  Don McCuaig (former forum member) did a great video of his layout called the "Last Run" - I plan to do something similar, but will not be able to reach his Emmy award level skills. Should be fun trying though.  So I know how I will build the next one, I know some of the elements, but until I know the space everything is up in the air.  My dream besides having the 3rail, includes a small two rail town trolley system with working overhead wires and a point to point 2 rail to display and run my scale European crocs and passenger cars and "wagons". I think I can work those in together because they do not need to connect with the 3rail.

So much for a short answer. Carpe Diem  --- more accurate translation "enjoying a moment that is rooted in the sensory experience..." Jeff

Best wishes in your search,

We found that the  best style of home for us was a ranch home with a full size dry basement and  full height ceiling.

Our two story home with stacked floors only had half the potential basement foot print that the same living space would have available in a one story ranch home.  However a lot of ranch homes only had half of their basements dug out???

We too wanted a quieter location which was found in a back corner of an older community.

Took a long time in searching in this neck of the woods for our goal but we got a rather large train room and now it is up to me to fill it !!  Oh, there is a house on top of it.

Last edited by Tom Tee

Tom - I did set the ballast in place with different mixes of 2, 3 and 4 to 1 water to white glue plus detergent. Misting with IPA was a must to break the surface tension. In a bunch of places I left the middle unglued and does not seem to pose any issues.  I've moved track around since and have not had an issue popping the Ross and Gargraves track off. Only in a couple of spots I had to get a bit aggressive scraping the ballast off, even then a putty knife worked fine. 

Well - this is the projected space for Twin Pines Rail Road version 2.  Working on finishing some details on TPRR to do a "Last  Run" video.  She will have to be down by early September.

Have a basic wish list and will have to noodle where things will go. This is going to be a combination of Ross and Atlas track - hoping to avoid buying much more rail.

The only access is the 192 length - rest are walls.

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@Mark Boyce  Mark and all, rather bittersweet with TPRR coming down. It was quite a learning experience and has a lot of hidden and patched up errors and design flaws. I am perfectly fine with memorializing it in a Last Run video. I would have approached the space much differently today based on what I have learned from many on this forum. So just time to move on and have good memories of my first real layout.  Of course it will always hold a special place remembering on how Ryan and Logan used to dance and sing in its the middle area.  Jeff

@ScoutingDad posted:

@Mark Boyce  Mark and all, rather bittersweet with TPRR coming down. It was quite a learning experience and has a lot of hidden and patched up errors and design flaws. I am perfectly fine with memorializing it in a Last Run video. I would have approached the space much differently today based on what I have learned from many on this forum. So just time to move on and have good memories of my first real layout.  Of course it will always hold a special place remembering on how Ryan and Logan used to dance and sing in its the middle area.  Jeff

Jeff, Yes you will always remember Ryan and Logan having fun in the middle area!!

My layout hasn't functioned the way I had envisioned as you and I have discussed.  I have built other layouts, but always in smaller scales.  I have put the scenery for the actual Blackwater Canyon on hold as you probably have noticed because I can't even begin to o it justice in my small space.  It doesn't help that I am on a Western Maryland Modelers Facebook group where two people are building what I had hoped to in HO scale in spaces several times the size as mine.  So, I have been adapting to what I have.  Regardless, it still is fun!!

I've known and previously posted the CEO and I are planning a move up to Michigan. That means I've had some time to think about the elements I wanted on the next layout. Of course given the unknown space dimensions, not too much planning could be done. I prefer a walk-in but this space will not allow it with planned 072dia curves. So somewhere will be access points to the interior. I imagine there will also be hatches to reach scenery and rails. I will use the "L-girder" and "open grid" construction methods described by Westcott. If I do it right I should be able to access lower track without needing a pop-up (hatch) Yes, there will be some crawling around, but that is what the grandkids are for.

I would like have the train station and surrounding city to be the initial focal point. Everything else would flex off that. Given the space requirements of the passenger yard, I think the only suitable location would be the along the long 192 length. But that creates problems for lift-outs or ups. The "natural spot" would be to have the station in the bump out at the top right, but that makes it tough to be the focal point. I would like to work in a street trolley in the city - but again hidden in a corner is not optimal.

I'll play around with SCARM to see what might work. This will be multi-level and looks like max 3% or less grade is workable. I can fold the track, but am concerned with losing yard space for the industries.

For instance I do not think this type of configuration would work very well. Curves are all 072 and there is little space available for a 2nd main let alone a 3rd. So some noodling to do. The yard track shown are less than 5 feet - I'll have to remember why the leads are so long.  This top right corner might be ideal for the intermodal with water feature.

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Looks like you've got some work to do Jeff. Those 072 curves really eat up a lot of space.

A couple of thoughts; make the outer tracks loops (I know, boring....) with double crossovers. It will free up the middle for your yards and other features and industries you are trying to fit. A couple of long passing sidings would give the appearance of a 4 track main, and could give you the passenger storage, and station space you are looking for.

The corners outside of the 072 mains are good spots for smaller industries with 1or 2 track spurs. If you are up against walls, building flats are a good alternative to full-size buildings.

Play with a ladder yard lead instead of "Y" leads. The "Y's" take up a lot of room.

I hope to replace the current RSJ&B one day too, whether it's in our current house or a different one.

Keep us posted, looking forward to your last run video.

Bob

@G3750  George - correct the grids are 6 inches square. 

I tend to build sample segments and place them in the space to see how they might fit. The ladders are something I built a while ago to get an idea of the space they consume. Maybe I misunderstand the terminology, but I thought a double ladder is not much more than two ladders next to each other connected somewhere up-rail?  Like what I have drawn.  I do not think the drawing above is workable. There have been several requests to help on planning a layout, where the wants could not possibly match the space. When I find "wants" that cannot fit a space, I put them into the "dream" category and see what "wants" I can realistically obtain.

For now all I have is the rough space with the actual layout to-be-determined.  I presume the passenger yard and a main freight yard and engine storage will be at the lowest level. The main level will hold the industries and perhaps a second level will provide interest with crossovers and tunnels and scenic details.  So layout configuration is at this point open game.

I was really hesitant to post any track plan, but thought it might be helpful for those trying to figure out what their "planned" layout might look like and what is attainable given a space. My tendency is to build a base, slap down track and see how it goes. From the iterations with TPRR, I know, while that method is quick, did not get me where I wanted to go. I ended up buying track planning software (SCARM) to figure out possibilities to get TPRR to the plan it is today.  So I have become an advocate of using track planning software.

I think what George was suggesting is a "double-ended" ladder with the switches at each end being mirror images of each other, sort of like stacked passing sidings.  However, that type of ladder has the effect of shortening each yard track from its maximum potential length, but it has the positive effect of allowing the sorting of cars from both ends which is great if you only have room for a 2 or 3 track yard.

Chuck

Chuck @PRR1950, Thanks for the explanation. I've seen several different types of designs for these particularly in HO.  I've seen a staggered version such that each leg is the same length as the others. Basically go in low come out high if travelling left to right.  Double ended diamond shape I suppose any open track could be used as a run around.  This might work if taken around a corner instead of being straight.

I am going to have to agree with Bob @RSJB18 on this size space, loop type design for the 2 -3 track mains w/sidings. After that it is an open question. The space would be easier to tackle if the entry was at the shorter end given the need for access points.

Well everyone the transition is beginning. Did a partial move into Michigan home and signed the listing agreement for the Champaign one. I've been trying to film clips for a final run video of the current TPRR but things keep getting in the way.

Did a little bit of touch up to the Inn and Supper club. For the video I'll have a few people on the path or the porch.

TPRR Inn f1

TPRR Inn f2

Was rather frustrated with an MTH N&W J Class (PS2).  I am pretty sure the wireless draw bar is the problem but don't have time to work on it. I have never seen a draw bar screwed into the loco shell before. Trouble is the connection to the tender will not come apart. I had wanted to have a video of the J running on TPRR along with its passenger cars. That's not going to happen now.

Been trying to follow everyone's work. Nice distraction.

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