Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tutorial: How to make low budget cypresses out of firs


I decided to post a tutorial, which I made three years ago already in the Sweetwater forum. I wanted to build some Mediterranean vegetation, so I get some scenery which ist suitable for my ancient Greeks and Macedonians. The problem was, that all the vegetation was very expensive, because it's seldomly used on railroads. So, I had to improvise. Luckily, I was inspired by this great table. I found some old trees und began to realise, that firs could look like cypresses, if you change them a bit...

1. First of all, I studied the Wikipedia article about Mediterranean vegetation. Then, I asked Google how a cypress really looks like (you see, always check the basisc before building).

2. Get the raw material: cheap railroad trees - we only need the firs. The tool:  simple scissors (this is a very cheap one).

3. I cut the lower branches, to get a crude round form, which is typical for cypresses. I work from bottom to top and hold the scissors crosswise to the tree, beacuse it's easier than lengthwise.
The first result.

4. Now I go on in cutting the upper part, because a cypress is thinner there than a fir. Now the main form of the tree is defined.
Main form, still a bit crude and awry.

5. The finishing steps. The tree gets the final form. Cut the areas where to much material is left, rework the lower curves to make them smoother. In the end you should bend the bole of the tree straight, as it is made out of wire which can deform during the work.

6. If you want to, you can paint the trunk. Now all you need to do is base the tree und you are finished.


  1. Now this is what i call a really simple and useful tutorial!

    Think i'll try this for my Hail Caesar enviroment.

  2. Brilliant tutorial and nice idea! Thanks for sharing!