Contact: Scott Dunlap  




Consistency: A Key to Satisfying Scenery
Design Tips for Control Panels
Photographing Model Railroads
Scenery Projects at TMRC, Page 1
Scenery Projects at TMRC, Page 2
Scenery Projects at TMRC, Page 3
Scenery Projects at TMRC, Page 4
Making Bushes
NER Article
Site Information


These pages showcase the scenery projects that I have been working on at The Model Railroad Club since September, 2013.

Most of these projects can be classified as repair and rejuvenation, the years of dirt, dust, use and abuse, and lack of maintenance had taken their toll on the club's HO model railroad. But I also strived to make improvements along the way.

I should add that all of the original scenery work was done by other talented members of the club, most long before I joined back in 1990. I did help make and install many of the original SuperTrees back in 1998. As you will see almost all of them ended up getting repaired or replaced.

The pictures and descriptions are presented in chronological order, so the newest work appears at the bottom of the pages.



Location: Summit, just east of the station.

Project: Add weeds and other growth that is often found at the edge of any wooded area.

Materials Used:

  • Ashland Naturals Caspia - used for tall weeds
  • Pot Toppers - used for short weeds
  • Heki Static Grass
  • Silflor Flower Tufts
  • Scenic Express Coarse Medium Grass Green Ground Foam
  • SuperTree Scraps
  • Spray Glue

Evaluation: Project came out okay but not great. On the plus side the Caspia, Pot Topper pieces, etc. did not look like Clump Foliage or Polyfiber. On the other hand the Caspia looked too yellow and I had trouble getting it planted close enough. The color issue was partially corrected with Design Master Basil Green spray paint the following week.


The Summit area before the new scenery work.

A close up of the same area. You can see the Pot Toppers tufts and the Caspia. The Caspia was painted before this picture was taken so it blends better with the rest of the scene.



Location: Ashland, just below the retaining wall.

Project: Replace bushes and ground cover.

Materials Used:

  • Polyfiber
  • Ashland Naturals Caspia - used for tall weeds
  • Ashland Naturals Straw - also used for tall weeds
  • Pot Toppers - used for short weeds
  • Scenic Express Forest Floor Blend
  • Tea Leaves
  • Woodland Scenics Coarse Medium Green Ground Foam
  • Woodland Scenics Coarse Dark Green Ground Foam
  • Woodland Scenics Weeds
  • SuperTree Scraps
  • Design Master Basil Green Spray Paint
  • Spray Glue
  • Hair Spray
  • Elmer's White Glue

Evaluation: The Scenic Express Forest Floor Blend and tea leaves were both used as ground cover but most of it ended up being covered with the bushes. Bushes were made with polyfiber covered with medium and dark green ground foam. The foam was attached using cheap hair spray. Basil Green spray paint was used on many of them to help blend the colors. The spray paint was also used on the Caspia. The various shades of green are a definite improvement over the sickly yellow tone of the previous scenery but may still need to be toned down a bit, or I'll just let dust do the job for me.

More work was done the following week with the addition of Ashland Naturals Straw. Actually that's not the name of the product. I don't know the real name and can't find it on the Michael's web site. I'll find out the next time I visit the store. Anyway, when painted it makes a nice substitute for Woodland Scenics Field Grass, at a much lower price.


The Ashland area before new scenery work.

The same area after. Those two odd trees behind the tracks were eventually removed, as were the telephone poles.

A close up shot of the Ashland area after the new scenery work.


Location: Ashland.

Project: Replace bushes and ground cover. Repair and replace trees.

Materials Used:

  • Polyfiber
  • Ashland Naturals Caspia - used for tall weeds
  • Ashland Naturals Straw - also used for tall weeds
  • Pot Toppers - used for short weeds
  • Noch Light Green Leaf Flack Flock - used to top off the Birch trees
  • Scenic Express Medium Grass Green Coarse Ground Foam
  • Woodland Scenics Coarse Medium Green Ground Foam
  • Woodland Scenics Fine Green Blended Turf
  • Woodland Scenics Fine Green Grass Turf
  • Woodland Scenics Weeds
  • Woodland Scenics Fine Natural Earth Turf
  • Woodland Scenics Medium Green Foliage Fiber
  • SuperTree Scraps
  • Design Master Basil Green Spray Paint
  • Elmer's White Glue
  • Hair Spray

Evaluation: The polyfiber covered with Woodland Scenics Fine Green Blended Turf works well for background scenery. Woodland Scenics Green Grass and Weeds was added for a little more variety. As the project went on I found myself using the Caspia and the Pot Toppers less and less. On the other hand, I continue to use SuperTree scraps and Ashland Naturals Straw (not the correct name) for tall weeds. The Ashland Naturals Straw is often planted right into the Polyfiber.

Foliage Fiber and topped with Noch leaves was used to recondition the two Birch trees. Regular ground foam was used to fix up the SuperTrees. In all cases hair spray was used to attach the materials to the trees. I like the way the Noch leaves look and plan to use them more in the future.

New work both in front of and behind the tracks.

Redone pasture behind the tracks. Note the Birch trees on the left.


Location: Pittsburgh Freight.

Project: Cover old and stained ground cover with static grass. Repair and replace trees and bushes.

Materials Used:

  • Woodland Scenics 2mm Burnt Grass Static Grass
  • Woodland Scenics 2mm Light Green Static Grass
  • Woodland Scenics 2mm Dark Green Static Grass
  • Silflor 4mm Dark Green Static Grass
  • Woodland Scenics Dark Green Coarse Turf
  • Woodland Scenics Green Blended Turf
  • Woodland Scenics Polyfiber
  • Heki Goldenrod Foliage
  • Scenic Express SuperLeaf
  • Natural Plant Material
  • Spray Glue
  • Hair Spray

Evaluation: It's been a long time since I've done an update but a lot of work has been done.

The biggest change has been the addition of static grass. I'm still getting used to it but so far I have been very pleased with the results.

The grass is applied with a special applicator that runs on two D batteries. By the way, this applicator can give one a nasty shock if touched in the wrong spot when turned on, as I have done almost every time I've used it. Who knew that a device powered by a couple of D cells could generate so much juice? I swear my hair, what's left of it, was sticking up more than the grass!

To date I've used three shades of Woodland Scenics 2mm static grass which I purchased, along with a some 4mm Silflor grass that I found in the scenery locker. The Woodland Scenics colors are burnt grass, light green and dark green. The 4mm grass is also a dark green but darker than the Woodland Scenics version. I like all of them with the exception of the light green so that has been used very sparingly. Each area has been done with a combination of colors.

Static grass can be adhered with white glue, matte medium, spray glue or even hair spray. Recently I've been using the spray glue and hair spray more and more. The sprays don't smell very good while using them but they are a lot less messy in my opinion. Care needs to be taken, however, to make sure that track, buildings, rolling stock and other areas are covered to avoid damage.


The front of the Pittsburgh freight yard before the new work. Notice all of the stains. Yuck!

Same spot after the addition of static grass.

The tall weeds in the front were made from plants that I found right outside of the club. Being so close to the edge they didn't last long.

Behind the Pittsburgh yard along the Rahway River before new scenery work.

Same spot after. The new bushes were made with polyfiber. This time the polyfiber was teased much thinner and painted brown before adding Woodland Scenics Dark Green and Green Blended Turf.

The tree on the far right was used to cover the brown spray paint that I hit the bridge with by mistake. I thought I had it covered but hadn't. Idiot!

The same area after a little more work.


Location: West Bernardsville and Portal Interlocking.

Project: Add static grass and other new ground cover. Replace damaged trees with new SuperTrees.

Here's the new work done to the area just above one of the two tunnels leading out of Pittsburgh. Some of the older trees were salvaged, they're the lighter ones. The dark ones are new.

Here's the scene at the Portal Interlocking just before being redone. You can see what's left of at least three trees that were broken plus a number of very sickly looking pines. I have no idea what kind of trees those tall, thin ones are supposed to be but they don't look like any species I've seen in Pennsylvania.

Work completed.

This close up provides a good look at two very nice commercial evergreens that are part of the wooded area. I like the way a bit of the forest floor is visible behind the bushes.



Location: Ringoes.

Project: Add new ground cover and replace damaged trees with new SuperTrees.

A portion of Ringoes just after some old and broken trees have been removed. If you look through the bridges in the top left of the shot you can see the same area shown in the previous three pictures.

Same spot with the new scenery.



Location: Bellefonte.

Project: Add new ground cover and replace damaged trees with new SuperTrees.

Above looking West, below looking East.



Location: Murray Hill.

Project: Add new ground cover and replace damaged trees with new SuperTrees.

Rehab work already started. The brown ground cover visible on the right is made of tea leaves.

Work almost done. I still need to add some more details.

An HD&O local approaching Murray Hill.




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