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Foliage How to...continued



If autumn colors are desired, such as the yellows, ochres, oranges and various shades of red seen with the Sycamore, Maple, Sweetgum (Liquid Amber), etc., an easy way to accomplish this is as follows:

  1. Color spray an entire fret with the lightest autumn color (a golden-yellow, perhaps).

  2. Very lightly spot-spray (or dry brush) various areas with a darker shade/color (maybe a shade of orange).

  3. Repeat step 2, gradually moving toward the darkest leaf color you plan to use. Remember, the variations in color should be subtle and restrained like they are with the Sycamore leaf in Figure 4, not too vivid. The intent is to make the tree an eye catcher, not an assault.

In this way, you will produce a fret that has varying shades and color distributed randomly over the fret. When the individual branches are removed and placed on the tree armature, then "distorted" to look natural, the gentle intermixing of colors as well as highlights and shadows will create a dramatic appearance that is not achievable using ground foam foliage, and the spaces between the etched leaves and branches produce an appearance of realism not that is unparalleled.












Attachment of the the painted branches to a tree armature (such as our NS041 Bare Tree Frame) is quite straightforward. Start with the lower branches and work up the tree. Be sure to turn the tree frequently and look at the overall appearance (balance) when selecting etched branch placement. We suggest using CA adhesive to "mount" the painted branch to the armature branch. CA will allow you to make a quick placement because the bond time is very short. If you any difficulty in getting a good quick bond to the painted branch base, simply scrape a tiny area clean with a scalpel before applying the CA.

Once the CA is totally dry, the joint can be covered with white glue or a small dab of caulk to give the appearance that one branch is flowing from the other. For added realism you can then use a small brush and touch-up the joint and a portion of the etched branch with the paint chosen for the tree bark color. Figure 5 shows the basic steps for attachment.

For tree frames that are plastic, or fabricated from wood cuttings (Azalea branch clippings, for example), an optional method of attachment can include the addition of a notch at the end of the armature branch to help secure the etched branch end. This is not an essential step but can help if you're having any difficulty in attachment. See Figure 6 for the example. This is also an easy way to add several branches along a larger branch. Once again, use CA for the initial bond, then you can follow-up with white glue or caulk for blending. Finish with a light brush touch-up of the bark color.

















Figure 6
The final step in making a tree using etched foliage is the Individual shaping (distortion) of the etched leaves and branch ends. This should be done progressively as you are adding the etched branches. Do some initial shaping to give the tree a pleasing form and realistic shape , the go back and "fine tune" with further tweaking until you're satisfied with the overall appearance.

A little trick that will help you minimize scratches and nicks that your tweezers could make on the painted leaves and branch ends is to coat your tweezer tips with paint first. Just dip your tweezers in the paint color of the pre-painted parts and let it thoroughly dry. When you use them to handle or bend the parts, the paint will help hold and cushion the part. It won't totally eliminate the possibility of nicks and scratches, but it will help. When you're done, just soak the tips in solvent or gently scrape the paint off.












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2008 Ngineering


After all painting has completely dried, removal of the individual branches from the fret should be performed in the same manner as with the Pond and Marshland Plants. Cut the smallest (most fragile) attachment points from the fret first, gradually working toward the largest (branch bases), last. Paint touch-up of scrapes or dings (or missed painting) can be done with a small brush during an overall inspection of the tree after the branches have been attached and shaped for a natural appearance.


Figure 5