The products improve a little more every day:
New manufactures are now available from sellers, especially Chinese sellers on E.Bay. The manufacture is improved. In particular, the trunks are covered with a granular film which is more realistic than the basic twisted yarns. The foliage remains generally the same but some fabrications offer foliage that have a much better appearance. If the green paint is too bright, it is necessary to repaint the foliage a little with an airbrush to remove the shiny appearance. These trees are unfortunately relatively more expensive without being very expensive.
For small budgets
It is easy to find on E-Bay many products from Chinese manufacture at very low prices. We have bought some of them a few years ago.
We would like to share with you our experience on these trees.
To get an idea, you can find on the following site a whole series of products available: http://stores.ebay.com/everydaygoodz. This is one address among others, with no preference on our part.
One can also find bare trees without foliage. It remains to finish them by adding the foliage. See our method at the end of the article.
Other new productions from Viet Nam are available on E Bay at the seller vietnammodels. http://stores.ebay.com/vietnammodels
These trees as well as other reproductions of plant products are very realistic for a very suitable price.
Several sizes and shapes of trees are available and at all scales. Overall, they are rather small for the scale advertised, but given the prices practiced, it is possible to buy several sizes and at several scales and sort according to need.
The prices may vary, of course, depending on the models but it’s possible to find 40 trees 4″ high for a price of 10 $. It is difficult to find trees highter than 5″.
Trunks and branches consist of twisted wires according to the well-known principle. On the branches are glued large pieces of fluo green moss (or yellow, or other, there is the choice). As all these trees are sent in bulk in a plastic bag, they arrive rather crushed and without any volume. There is therefore work to improve them before installation on the layout.
We looked for one or more solutions. After a brain storming and tests (we always have to do it, we rarely succeed from the first shot), here is the result of our modest trials:
The original foam is kept and overloaded with flocked net (Heki) or foam (Auhagen).
Advantage: It goes fast (1 to 2 minutes per tree)
Disadvantage: It makes a large mass, little airy and not very graceful. This can be used to make volume (forest background or background). For a better realism, the original foam should be repaint into the tones of the net or of the added foam. Not necessarily obvious or efficient.
This method can not be used if the bare trees are made in plastic (it melts when burning the foliage)
We remove all the original foam to keep only the metal frame. Then we apply flocked nets or foam of good quality and good optical rendering (you choose your best solution).
It is easy to remove the foam with a lighter or a match. The foam ignites very easily and burns in seconds. Beware of the risk of toxic gas. At the end, only the bare tree remains, without any volume (packaging conditions already mentioned). The picture below shows the tree after this action.
It is therefore necessary to reshape all the branches one by one to give volume to the future tree. It’s a bit long (5 minutes on average).
To fit the foliage, we tested two methods, always the same elsewhere: the flocked net (Heki) and the foam (Auhagen)
Foam of origin removed, with foam Auhagen only
We find the result quite satisfactory because the trees have a light and airy branch, fairly pretty. Such trees can be placed in the foreground. Assessment: for 60 trees manufactured according to method 2, it is necessary to count about 30 euros of raw material and 10 minutes maxi per tree.
The method is great to learn to beginners from 7 to 77 years, because you can modify the tree to infinity if the result is not satisfactory and you quickly get an excellent result that encourages the neophyte to persevere.