Model railroad landscaping and scenery such as N scale trees, greenery, hills, and other scenic components really add dimension and authenticity to any model railway layout. True-to-life scenic landscaping really captivates a railfan audience. And constructing it is generally much less complicated than newbie model railroaders think.
What can I say? I just love all the detail and realism. I seem to never get bored admiring the beauty, attention to detail, and hard work that "I know" goes into every phase of its construction.
I guess when it comes down to it, model railroad layouts appeal to the child like qualities in all of us. When you get involved in this hobby you get to have lot of play time and imagination stimulation.
Once you've completed your layout you're sort of the mayor of your own city or town. "You" get to call all the shots. And as the new mayor, you're in charge of planning, transportation, housing, social services, planting N scale trees and all other aspects of layout and design.
Model railroad shrubs, bushes, and trees come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be purchased as pre-made scenery, or if you like to explore your creative side, you're free to make your own.
On the make-your-own side of the house, you can buy N scale tree kits from Woodland Scenics and a number of other manufacturers. These DIY kits typically contain either wire armatures or dried plants for the main tree structure, and all the foliage materials needed to make a quality, realistic tree.
And, for the budding model railroad "arborist" in you, you can also make your trees and shrubs "completely" from scratch. As with the DIY kit method, this later option usually involves making the tree trunk and branches out of wire or using dried plant material for the main structure.
Also, when making everything from scratch, you'll need to buy appropriate foliage materials and adhesives in order to correctly finish your project. And if you opt to make wire armatures for the tree trunk, you'll need to properly bend the metal wires into a realistic tree trunk and branch structure.
Maybe it's a fear of the unknown, but I have never built mine completely from scratch. I've always stuck with the kit method. I'm going to make it a point to try a scratch built tree one of these days, I swear! But for now I'm sticking with what I know, and what, at least from my perspective; seems to be the easier option.
N Scale Tree Size Considerations
So, what's the correct N scale tree size to use? Well, that all depends on the type of tree and geographic region you're modeling. Again, in order to achieve believability and realism on your model train layout "everything" you do should be done with consideration for the way it is in real life.
If you don't create with an eye toward reality, your layout will invariably show it. If you're modeling a scene set in a tropical climate, you probably won't end up with the realism you had hoped for if you throw up a bunch of trees that are indigenous to the North Pole. In real life, the trees would never survive!. Always go for realism and believability.
When comparing N gauge model trees to those in real life, the scale trees are a bit smaller even when properly scaled. Because of its smaller size, N gauge trains aid the modeler or in making more realistic scenery. This model railroad scale is easily dwarfed by properly constructed scenery.
In general though, to maintain a realistic prototypical look, your trees should probably be somewhere between 4 to 8 inches tall. This of course depends on the variety of tree you're modeling.
Before you start making your trees it's a very good idea to do a little research on the variety of tree you will be modeling. Wikipedia and other educational web sites can provide a wealth of information on the variety of tree you want to use. To achieve proper size for your scratch built creations get information on how tall your trees will grow in real life and then do the math to convert the sizes to N scale.
Have a lot of fun when you're planning your layout and all of your model train scenery. Enjoying yourself is really what it's all about. If you're pleased with the way your layout looks, that's really all that matters.
Whatever you add to or subtract from your model train layout, keep in mind that nothing need be permanent. With this hobby, you can go back and make changes to whatever isn't in line with your vision including your N scale trees.
Want to find out more about Model Train Scenery
, then visit Conrad Fairfax's site on how to choose the best N Scale Trees
for your model railroad layout.
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