How to Build Model Train Hills & Trees Perfectly Every Time

how to build model train tree and hills step-by-step tutorial

You are about to learn how to build hills and trees for model railroads.

Materials List

  • Woodland scenic large hill no 1320
  • Backmann 2″-4 confer trees no. 32155
  • Noch summer trees no. 24200
  • White glue
  • Skewer or awl
  • Woodland Scenics Clump-Foliage no.FC683
  • Testors Micro Sheer sprue cutter

Step 1 – Instructions on installing a model train hill

Flip the Woodland scenic large hill over and place a nice beet of caulk all the way around, don’t want to get to close to the edge because we don’t want to get oozing too close to our scenery.

Use a product like DAP Dynoflex 230 sealant, which can be found at most home centers and hardware stores.
chaulking of hill-2
Alternative hills: If you don’t want to use a pre-built hill, make your own hill. One way to make hills is by using this pink or blue foam, which is a construction insulation material. You can stack it up in various ways, or it can be carved with a hot knife, using a hot wire tool to carve the foam. When you’re ready you can cover it with a sculpture mold plaster or plaster cloth and then paint on your dirt color by using fine sand or dirt sprinkled on the hill.

Woodland scenic large hill:
Line up the hill and press it into place. Press it down correctly the first time, you only get one shot at this because of the caulking with spread all over the ground if you re-lift it. If the hill does not seem to stick, try putting a book down over it to help it seal.

place scene hill down

Instructions on installing a model train trees

Step 2

Next step is sot start installing trees on the railroad you can basically plant any tree you want such as conifer and pine trees.

Conifer Model Train DIY

Model trees come in an assortment of sizes, when I put trees together I usually like to clump them in an assortment of shapes.

Plant an assortment trees, if your layout is a foam base, then drip the end of your trees in glue and place the tree in the ground.

Setting our track on a piece of wood such as bench work provides a nice surface to do the drilling and ensures your holes are being drilled on a stable area. This will help the trees get securely placed after being dipped into glue and stuck into the holes.

model train in elmer glue

Useful Advice:

  • trees always look good in sets of odd numbers such as 3 or 5
  • drip tip of trees with elmer glue before adding it into the drilled hole
  • use clump foliage to hide areas that don’t glue properly and seem unbalanced

This was a sure and quick way to quickly and easily add hills and trees to your model train layout but there’s still 10 other things you must know to perfect your scenery and make the layout look as realistic as possible.

Top 10 Scenery Must Know How’s

  • Build telegraph lines, use “Easy-Line” – it comes in black, rust and a greenish oxidized copper hue
  • Construct inexpensive grassy hills using crumpled newspapers shaped into a hill, add construction paper over it then tape it to your layout
  • Use Kitty Litter as ballast or build gravel roads and rocky shores
  • Use white out (correction pen) to make cool graffiti scenes for urban scenes
  • Use various grades of sand from course to very fine and add it for track ballast. Remember to wash the sand before you use it
  • Add ground cover with saw dust. Dye the saw dust different colors to make it very unique
  • Make stumps by cutting the middle of the grape vines bump with a pruning shear
  • Construct model railroad trees from a cheap plastic xmas tree
  • Make streams with tin-foil by wadding it up and cut into desired form. This way you still get the rippling effect with the water

Next, learn detailed step by step directions on the following:

how to build model train hills and trees scenery

  • Building Roads
  • Pine Trees
  • Bushes
  • Business Signs
  • Downspouts and Piping
  • Rock Ledges
  • Ground Cover
  • Urban Scene
  • Wire Fence
  • Snow

The most important part to creating realistic scenery that transforms your model railroad is by first planning scenery ahead of time. To avoid endless frustration due to “forcing” perspective issues, lifestyle scenes and lighting, understanding the order of adding scenery is crucial. The best feeling in the world as a model railroader is enjoying a fully operation layout with all the bells, whistles and scenery.

To master scenery will take countless hours trying to figure out the exact process for each.

You must know each of the bullet points above to ensure your model railroad does not look boring, unrealistic or lack unique scenery moments.

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