Product Review: JTT Trees
by Jack Burgess/photo by the author
I recently started a project to rework an area of my Yosemite Valley Railroad that I have never really been satisfied with. Additional prototype photos acquired after I halfway finished this area proved that, among other changes, the area needed a number of new model trees. Since these trees would be close to the front edge of the layout, they needed to be relatively realistic.
Although I thoroughly enjoy scratchbuilding, I hate building trees primarily because I am impatient and making a good-looking tree takes more time than I typically want to devote to the task. While doing a little research on-line (rather than spending the time making the trees I needed), I came across an architectural firm which, in addition to design and model making services, also has a large number of trees available, each of which are intended to replicate a specific variety of tree.
The trees are handmade in Vietnam from twisted wire and foam and come ready to install. Under their “Professional Model Trees” series, they list about two dozen varieties including common species such as elm and sycamore trees but also less frequently modeled weeping willows and jacaranda trees. They also have several types of palm trees.
Each species of tree is available in a number of different sizes making them suitable for different scales or situations. For example, sycamores are listed from half-inch high (for architectural models) to eight inches high. The latter would be a nearly 60-foot high tree in HO scale and sells for $16.00 for one tree, while a package of two four-inch high sycamores sells for the same price. The photos show four-inch high ash trees and a six-inch high sycamore.
These are nicely made trees at a reasonable price given the work involved. The fact that they model specific trees rather than generic ones is a plus. Be prepared to spend between $15.00 to $25.00 depending on size and type of tree.