Sunday, 14 April 2013

Into the Woods part 8 - magic!

I did manage to get out into the workshop today as it was, for once, warm enough, which allowed me to do the messy stuff that I'd be a dead man if I tried on the dining table.

I put together a couple more of the Woodland Scenics tree armatures + rubberised horsehair + flock trees, in addition to the willow - I'd have done more, but managed to tweak my back shifting things to make space to set up more trees to dry, so decided to call it a day after two. Not been a good weekend so far.

On the good side, I've now had a lazy afternoon stretched out on the bed watching various YouTube scenery how-to videos!

Anyway - the magic stuff is that mythical substance, Johnson's Klear. It isn't actually available in the UK as Klear at present: it's now called 'Pledge Multi-Surface Wax', but it appears to do the same thing, namely dry to a clear almost-sealant type coat. Big thanks to Matthias Darrow, who pointed out its usefulness to me in the comments on a previous post. It's not that easy to come by (there are rumours Morrison's stock it but I failed to find any), but I managed to score a decently cheap supplier on Amazon.
Basically, I poured about an inch or so neat into an ice-cream tub, liberally dunked the trees in it and am now leaving them to dry. The previous time I did this, I diluted it about 50/50 with water: it did work (producing a clear coat on the trees that you can shake pretty vigorously without the foliage dropping off) but it does take a good few days to dry. This time, therefore, I'm trying it neat to see if it dries faster: I've sealed the container, so hopefully I can reuse it for the rest of the trees.

As you can see, it's messy, and you do need to leave it to dry someplace it's not going to get knocked, etc.


  1. With the trees from GW, I noticed a lot of the stuff can come off. Is that the same in any tree making, pre-made or not, case?

    1. Heck yes - that's half the reason this series of posts has gone on as long as it has.

      The advantage of making trees for a static model railway layout is you don't have to pack it up every club session: making trees for (especially) club scenery for wargames, you need to work quite hard to keep the foliage on. See the comments to part 4 for some of the lengths folks go to.

  2. Looking good so far, fingers crossed.

  3. Does this method of preserving foliage work on rubberised lichen? I find that though it makes very satisfactory trees, the stuff dries out and becomes brittle after a period of time. You can revivify them by spraying water on them, but storage has to be in reasonably waterproof containers.

    I have tried spraying trees with diluted PVA, but am not convinced of that method's efficacy.

  4. Thanks for the shoutout, Mike! A great idea, too. I haven't tried actually dunking the trees in the stuff. Just be careful where you leave it to dry, because the floor-polish is extremely sticky. Also, don't touch it to much, as it can, unfortunately, strip paint! (I had some bad luck trying to use it as a varnish.)

    For those readers who are in the US, the product is sold here as "Pledge with Future Shine," a floor-polish for linoleum floors. But if you google "Future Floor Finish," you'll come up with an exhaustive web page detailing the different names under which it's sold worldwide. There is a baffling array of uses for this stuff in the modeling community... I just wouldn't recommend using it as a varnish.

  5. I followed your example with some K & M model railway trees. I had a large plastic coke bottle (kindly emptied by the chaps during a Friday night's game) with the top cut off filled with about three bottles of Pledge, it took this to cover the largest trees. Then they were spun (by hand) in an empty bucket to remove most of the Pledge and hung up to dry on a line strung across the garage.


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