FCSME Member: Bill Carl
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How to make Scenic Express Supertrees
There are two methods to making Scenic Express Supertrees.  There is the longer method that I think is worth the time and effort and there is a shorter method.  If you want to follow the shorter method, skip steps 2 and 3 below.

Step 1: Take the Supertree bush and carefully break off smaller realistic trees.  Try to make the trees as big as possible.  You can always break them later to make smaller trees if needed but you will find that in the course of making trees, you end up with tons of smaller ones.
Top of the Scandinavian bush
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Bottom of the Scandinavian bush
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Step 2: I have learned that boiling the trees helps to straighten them out.  I boil them for at least 20 minutes in a large covered pot.  This process may produce an ever slight unpleasant odor but it doesn't linger.  I have left some trees in for an hour with no harm.  I have a friend who actually uses a pressure cooker to cook his trees.  I would highly recommend buying a dedicated pot to boil the trees.  The bigger it is, the more you can cook in every batch.  I use a 32 quart pot and that keeps me quite busy hanging trees (next step) while the next batch is cooking.  
Trees boiling in large pot
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Lots of trees boiling
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Here are three potentially beautiful trees but their only problem is that they aren't straight.  Now I know that every tree isn't perfectly straight but the three to the right look like a hurricane hit them.  If you notice their trunks are straight into the foam but in the trees themselves they have a rather unrealistic bend.  We'll follow the progress of these demo trees.
Three sad looking trees
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Step 3: After boiling, the trees need to be hung out to dry.  Here you can see how I use one clothes pin to hold the tree and a couple to pull it straight while it dries.  Some only require one on the bottom while the bigger ones may require up to five.  You can't have too many clothes pins on hand.  I built a temporary rack using sawhorses to hang a few hundred trees at a time.  The trees should be allowed to dry for at least 24-48 hours.
Several hundred trees drying
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Trees drying
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Here are the three demo trees but now they have been boiled and dried straight.  They aren't perfectly straight but they have great potential.  I think it is a tremendous improvement.
Three beautiful trees
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Trees painted gray
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Another view of gray trees
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Step 4: If you carefully look at prototype trees, you will notice that a vast majority of them have grayish trunks.  There are occasional browns (pine), beiges, and whites (birch) but most are gray.  This step is a must as the gray trunks look so much better.  Carefully remove the trees from their drying lines and poke them into pieces of foam.  Be gentle as you don't want to break the trunks if you can help it.  Then, thoroughly spray them all gray (outside of course) from all angles using cheap automotive gray primer.  Incidentally, this helps to 'seal' the branch from decay and rot.  Let them dry at least 24 hours.  Although the portion of the tree that is in the foam is not painted, it will be coated by glue when 'planted' and thereby sealed.

Here are the three demo trees which have been painted gray.  This will greatly enhance their appearance when they are done.
Three trees painted gray
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Step 5: Dip the tree into a tub of 50/50 mix of Elmer's Glue and water.  Some people prefer Matte Medium instead of Elmer's.  I use a rather large Rubbermaid tub so I can seal the lid on it so the glue won't dry out over time.  Just be sure to stir the glue mix thoroughly before dipping trees.  When you pull the tree out of the glue, it may form bubble-like webs between the branches.  An ever-so-quick shot of hair spray will pop the bubbles.
Tree just dipped into glue
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Step 6a: Place the tree in a box or tub of ground foam.  Again, I use another rather large Rubbermaid tub to seal the unused ground foam in between tree making sessions.  Completely cover the tree with ground foam and then shake off the excess.  This is the base color for the tree.
Going into tub of ground foam...
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...completely covered...
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...excess foam shaken off.
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Step 6b: Highlight the tree with another color of ground foam.  As a general rule, I use lighter colors on top and darker colors underneath.  This helps to provide a sun-like effect on the tree
Sprinkling highlight colors on top...
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...adding a shading effect on the underside
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Step 6c: After sprinkling the highlighting, it needs to be secured.  The best low cost method I have found is hair spray.  I try to get the cheapest, strongest hold hair spray I can.  It is basically aerosol lacquer.  Just spray all over the tree as this will help secure the base color too.
Spraying the tree with hair spray
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Step 7: Now the trees have to dry again and I hang them back on the drying rack with clothes pins as weights as needed.  I let them dry at least 24 hours.  I like to spray them again with hair spray after 24 hours just to make them a little more stiffer and durable.
Trees hanging to dry
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Step 8: Plant them!  This isn't rocket science.  I just take an awl to punch a hole in the scenery, squirt in some Elmer's glue, stick in the tree, and that's it!!  It's a good idea to have plenty of trees on hand when planting so that you have a wide choice to pick just the right tree for just the right place.
I am planting a tree
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A single planted tree
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Side note 1: Not all trees are the same shade of green so here are pictures of other shades of green that I made.
A light green tree
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A dark green tree
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As you can see below, the varied shades of green make the trees look more realistic.
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Side note 2: Not all trees are green.  Although I model August, there are occasionally some trees that are colors other than green.  They could be Red Maples, trees that turn color very early, trees that have a colored blossom, or trees that have a colored vine growing through them.  Scenic Express makes small packs of Autumn colors that I used to make my colored trees.  I start with a base green and sprinkle on the color afterward.  If you model Autumn, you can purchase large quantities of Fall foliage.

A tray of multicolored trees
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An orangish tree
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Side note 3: Not all trees are healthy.  Some trees are sickly and not full of foliage.  This is a very neat effect.  To accomplish this, just dip the very tips of a few branches in the glue and then apply the foliage.  Check out the picture to the right.
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Side note 4: Not all trees have foliage!  There are dead trees standing in the forest too. Take a boiled tree and gently scrape off the little buds on the branches with an exacto knife and then paint the tree.  This is also a great touch of realism.
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Here is a slide show of my three trees in their different stages  
Finally, here are some pictures of my second drying rack.  It can hold several hundred trees.
Bottom view
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Top view
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Tons of trees ready for planting
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