Author Topic: Strengthening Supertrees?  (Read 308 times)

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NtheBasement

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Strengthening Supertrees?
« on: November 15, 2022, 06:39:12 PM »
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Just started working with Supertrees for the first time. I'm impressed with the delicate branches but the trees seem, well, delicate! I'd like to put the trees toward the front of the layout but will they hold up there over time? I'm following a video that uses a 5:1 H2O:matte medium soak to start and it makes them feel a little stiffer. Has anyone tried something else, like polyurethane varnish or multiple coats of the matte medium mixture? Or will that just make them less flexible and thus more breakable?
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Strengthening Supertrees?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2022, 07:47:36 PM »
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I've heard that the trick is to soak them in glycerin. You can then also straighten them out using clothespins and weights.

I've never done it because I'm impatient, but it looks promising.

wvgca

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Re: Strengthening Supertrees?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2022, 08:17:18 PM »
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soaking with DAP adhesive thinned 1:1 with alcohol does work, it makes them tougher as compared to more rigid ..i imagine elmers glue thinned 1:2 with water and sprayed on would work as well ..

mu26aeh

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Re: Strengthening Supertrees?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2022, 01:53:44 AM »
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About the only thing I've done is use soldering iron on the back side of a curve to straighten them.  Hit with black or brown spray bombs, spray glue, flock, hairspray, flock, hairspray, then plant

Maletrain

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Re: Strengthening Supertrees?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2022, 09:44:45 AM »
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I have thought about soaking them in some 2-part penetrating epoxy the next time I need to make a batch to weatherize some outdoor plywood.  That should penetrate well, but it would cost a fortune to do that just for modeling trees.  So, it would only be an experiment of something I might do for a few foreground trees or maybe a large bunch of trees all at once.  The problem is that the 2-part stuff hardens and cannot be saved for later use, once mixed.  So, there would be extreme waste for a dipping process.

But I doubt that spray-on materials are going to penetrate well enough to really increase the strength.

Some sort of 1-part soaking solution seems like a better idea from the cost perspective, because a vat of it could be saved and used again for dipping more trees whenever needed.

I am liking the idea of varnish, because I think it would penetrate well (if you haven't already used glycerin), and it would not be extremely brittle.  Varnish does come in satin, but I don't know about matt versions.  But, with one coat, drained well after dipping, I think shine won't be a problem after spraying modeling colors.


JeffB

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Re: Strengthening Supertrees?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2022, 09:56:48 AM »
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On recommendation I've seen a few times over the years, is soaking them in dilute Matte Medium.  It strengthens the armatures, but because MM is flexible when it dries (as opposed to white glue which can be on the rigid side), the strengthened armatures can bend a bit before parts start snapping off.

I want to say that first time I saw this was from Dave Frary, but it also could have been a Super Trees tutorial.  The idea is that you soak a lot of armatures in a pail of dilute MM overnight, then hang/weight them to straighten and dry. 

Dilute matte Modge Podge might be an alternative, but both are on the pricey side.

JB

NtheBasement

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Re: Strengthening Supertrees?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2022, 01:08:02 PM »
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Thanks for the help!  I decided on two coats of matte medium.  I call them coats because I see no evidence (bubbles coming up) that the stuff actually soaks into the trees and replaces any air.  Also had to buy more Aqua Net and WS dark green coarse turf, now my layout room smells like my wife's hair.

I had an issue when planting the first batch; not enough stem below the lowest branches on most pieces to plant in a hole.  Solution is a pin in the pith of the trunk end and cut off the head.  Still looking for a way to deal with the small shrub-sized stuff where the trunk is too small for a pin.
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The natural shape of these flower heads reminds me of standalone aspens.  I've trimmed a lot of them to make them rounder for my eastern US layout.  Still need to figure out how to use them for forest canopy.  Canopies do not have foliage anywhere but the very top, so maybe a trunk extension is called for.

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