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How To - Page 1

How To Index
  Page 1  
  Using ScaleTree Armatures
    Using ScaleTrees Without Foliage
    Using ScaleTrees Complete
    Planting ScaleTrees
    BranchBunches Instructional Sheets
    Advance Tips & Techniques
  Page 2
    Tree Shapes for Various Applications
         Competing Trees
         Trees Overcoming Obstacles
         Do Trees Always Grow Straight Upward?
         Remaining Trees After Deforesting Land
         The Anatomy of a Forest

Although the White Oak species was the prototype for our first ScaleTree, the armatures and finished trees can be manipulated to resemble many different prototypes. Your imagination is your only limit. Remember, you bought the model and it is yours. Feel free to bend, cut, trim, thin and change it to be what you want. Do not be afraid to alter them. 

ScaleTree Armatures
Usage: To either replicate winter trees or dead trees, or simply to enjoy building your own.
1) Bend limbs to desired tree shape. You may desire to trim some limbs with wire cutters.
2) Bare armatures make good winter or dead trees.
3) Glue BranchBunches onto the armature to add mass and volume. (see BranchBunches Intructional Sheets below)
4) Follow the Instructional Sheets for BranchBunches to add foliage.
5) Plant your ScaleTree.

ScaleTrees Without Foliage
Usage: For replicating a color of foliage other than our summer green, such as fall colors, or to be able to blend your ScaleTrees with your other scenery by using the same foliage.
1) The tree may need a bit of fluffing after being removed from the box. This can be done with fingers pinching some of the BranchBunches and tugging at the tree from opposite sides.
2) Spray with inexpensive hair spray and sprinkle on your foliage of choice. For larger trees work in 6"x6" areas at a time.
3) Spray tree again with a top coat of innexpensive hair spray and let dry.
4) For a more durable foliage canopy give the tree a final coat of a diluted white glue or matte medium (5 parts water to 1 part adhesive with a drop of dishwashing soap per quart).
5) Plant your ScaleTree.

ScaleTrees Complete
Usage: The RTP (Ready To Plant) summer green tree.
1) The tree may need a bit of fluffing after being removed from the box. This can be done with fingers pinching some of the BranchBunches and tugging at the tree from opposite sides.
2) Plant your ScaleTree.

Planting ScaleTrees
The green plastic base that comes with your ScaleTree may be suitable for simple displays, but for more realism, you will want to try one of the following methods to plant your ScaleTrees.

There are many ways of making model scenery terrain. Four which we will reference here include: a plywood surface, insulation foam board, hardshell scenery which is often made of plaster over screen wire or paper towels, fiberglass, or resin coated bubble wrap.

Plywood Surface: For planting into wood, a screw works well. You can either use the supplied screw or you may need a longer one depending on the thickness of the wood. Use ground cover to blend the base of the trunk into your terrain.

Insulation Foam Board: For planting into insulation foam board or other plastic foams, we recommend using a wooden dowel or bamboo skewer like the ones used for making shish ke-bobs instead of a screw. You can find them in most grocery stores in packs of 100 for a couple of dollars. For smaller trees a toothpick can work, but for the heavier trees, the bamboo skewers have more strength and flex. To plant a 30cm (12") tree, the bamboo skewer needs to protrude from the tree trunk about two inches. It is good to make the hole in the foam with an awl or ice pick before planting the tree. Use ground cover to blend the base of the trunk into your terrain

Hardshell Scenery:
For planting trees into hardshell scenery there are several options. First the hole must be made through the hardshell scenery. This is best done with a drill. Small trees may work well with the supplied screw. Larger trees will need some support underneath the scenery shell. The provided green plastic base works well as a large washer underneath the hardshell scenery to support the tree.This support can also be in the form of a block made of
foam board or wood.

First attach the support block beneath the scenery. A glue gun makes quick work of adhering the support blocks to the underside of the scenery shell. If you find it difficult to locate the holes from beneath the scenery, shine a bright light down from above and look for the light peering through the scenery.

Once the block is attached and the glue is dry, wooden blocks will need to be drilled from above and foam blocks will need to have holes made with an awl or ice pick. Use ground cover to blend the base of the trunk into your terrain

BranchBunches Instructional Sheets
is a versatile material. We recommend reading the Instructional Sheet so that all of the various applications of the material are familiar. We have provided the Instructional Sheet pages in black and white images to help in printing.

Click for Instructional Sheet #1
Instructional Sheet #1
Click for Instructional Sheet #2
Instructional Sheet #2

Advanced Tips & Techniques
Sparse Trees: You may want to separate some of the branches, or thin some of the BranchBunches of a tree. The easiest way to accomlish this is to grab the tree with both hands, one on each side, and poke your fingers into the BranchBunches to create holes in the leaf canopy. A more thorough and precise method is to cut the BranchBunches (the dark grey polyester fibers) with scissors. Try not to cut straight lines that will be noticed. Cut any limbs you want to eliminate with wire cutters.

Narrow Trees: For a less wide tree, shorten all limbs with wire cutters before applying BranchBunches. On trees with BranchBunches already applied, this can be done by bending the wire limbs to sort of an "S" shape to shorten them.

Camouflage the Cuts: After trimming limbs, you may want to dab a little acrylic paint onto the end of the remaining stub. A paintbrush or cotton swab works well for this. A mustard color will replicate a fresh cut, while a black or grey color will replicate an old cut that has healed.

Foliage Color Change: It is possible to alter the color of the foliage on our ScaleTrees Complete, however, read the following first! Our leaves are made of Polystyrene and WILL DISSOLVE with solvent based paints. This means DO NOT USE STANDARD SPRAY PAINTS that are solvent based. The best ways to alter the foliage color is: 1) you may spray the foliage with model paints that are safe for plastic. Model paints in the spray cans are typically designed for plastic models. Always refer to the manufacturer's label first. 2) It is possible to use standard spray paints as long as you apply a protective coating on the foliage first. This protective coating can be a thick layer of innexpensive hair spray, or thinned matte medium. After the clear coating has fully dried, then the solvent based paints should not attack the foliage. Always try in a test area first. When applying paint, always use protective breathing apparatus, and only use in a well ventilated area. A light coat of spray paint will look better than a thick coat. Try not to over do it.

Fall Colors: There are many colors in a fall landscape. Different tree species change their colors at different times, and many trees of the same species will have some difference in timing due to each tree's particular conditions of soil, moisture, shade, temperature, and overall health. When trees begin to change color they typically begin at the farthest leaves from the trunk. This may be at the top of the tree or at the tip of the longest branches. It can also begin at the tips of the least healthiest branches.

Forced Perspective: The process of designing a scene so that the viewer perceives more distance than is actually there. By placing larger items in the foreground and smaller items in the background it appears that there is more distance between the foreground and background. To achieve forced perspective with your ScaleTrees, place the largest trees close to the viewer, and the smallest trees farthest from the viewer. Large foreground trees can also help break up a scene so that a viewer's eye can not see everything at once.

Selective Compression: The practice of building things to scale without having to use the exact measurements. This could be demonstrated by building a model of a prototype building. The prototype may have 13 floors and 48 windows down the side. The model can be selectively compressed by only having 7 floors and only 20 windows down the side. If the architecture style is followed and the other details of the building are included, it would be obvious that this is a model of the protoype. For modeling scenery, you may decide to take a long city boulevard of 24 trees and re-create it with only six trees.

Prototypical Growth: The limbs of a prototype tree will typically only grow if located where sunlight can reach the leaves on their tips. For instance, a forest tree will not have many lower limbs since the forest canopy keeps the sunlight from reaching them.

Use the Scraps: Save all limbs you remove from your ScaleTrees. They are perfect for sapplings, dead trees, struggling trees, bushes, and competing trees at the forest edge. Group together several limbs you have removed, and you can make a new shorter tree, or a grove of smaller trees.

Tree Shapes for Various Applications


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