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Lichen vs Ground foam....

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Lichen vs Ground foam....
Posted by 3rd rail on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:37 AM

Getting ready for scenery on my new layout, please chime in with the pros and cons of lichen and ground foam scenery. I have both, just wondering on the use here and there...

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Posted by loathar on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:46 AM

I think bare lichen looks too bare and out of scale for HO. I cover it with ground foam for bushes and trees. Bigger clumps glued onto "tree trunks" and covered in fine ground foam make pretty good back ground trees.My 2 cents

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 5:37 AM

 One thing I don't like about lichen is that it becomes extremely brittle and breaks up into a pile of dust at the slightest touch. One thing I've done in the past is to use filter fiber to make bushes and such and it looks as if I'll start doing it again. The only reason I've been using lichen is because I could get it pre-colored but looking at the price I've been paying for it the filter fiber and green spray paint is a lot cheaper.

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Posted by wedudler on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:13 AM

 Years ago, when I used lichen, I gave them a bath in colored water with glycerin and some formaldehyde.

The last one I wouldn't use today. 

Wolfgang

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Posted by luvadj on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:31 AM

 In my opinion, lichen is too out of scale looking for N, which is what I model, and the foam holds up better in the long run in terms of color and condition.

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Posted by D&HRR on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:36 AM

I use a mix of lychen and ground foam to cover most of my 20x36 layout. I found that if you use it together it works fairly well.

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Posted by ICRR1964 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:21 AM

I use both, it kind of works well in a mix here and their. It depends on what you want though. I like lichen for some scenes though, that my opinion though. I have some that is over 25 years old and is still like new.

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Posted by hminky on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:40 AM

 I use faux fur with ground foam for bushes:

 

 

Shown with an HO horse and woman, and an OO man

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Thank you if you visit

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Posted by tangerine-jack on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:30 AM

One method or material does not preclude the use of the other.  As others have stated, lychen and foam each have a purpose and a place when used properly.  Foam is too flat and diffuse to make convincing foliage when it's ground very fine, and it looks just like colored foam chunks when large enough to suggest anything larger than grass or moss.  Lychen looks like chunks of rough moss colored with fabric dye when used by itself.  Adding ground foam to lychen makes a convincing bush, and dicing up lychen to beef up the texture of a grassy field of ground foam works well. 

Concentrate only on the pros of each material, forget about the negative aspects and the "vs" arguments.  Use what you have, not what you don't.  You're not working for Disney after all, it's only a hobby so don't sweat the small stuff.  Very nice layouts have been built using dyed sawdust and chunks of plaster for scenery, it's how you balance and blend that matters.

The Dixie D Short Line "Lux Lucet In Tenebris Nihil Igitur Mors Est Ad Nos 2001"

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Posted by CNJ831 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:32 AM

Lichen, when used by itself to represent some form of vegetation is very much an "old school" approach (typically 1950's), having been superseded years ago by more modern and realistic looking products. The resemblance of lichen to living bushes and trees is extremely superficial, to say nothing of its tendency to eventually deteriorate. While there are still some modelers today who employ lichen on their layouts, as mentioned earlier it is usually done in conjunction with an application of ground foam to covering it.

Companies such as Scenic Express, Heki and others, nowadays offer a host of far superior ground cover materials for the same purposes modelers employed lichen for years ago. Even the use of properly prepared dead weeds to create miniature bushes and for tree amatures is a better and more realistic choice than lichen.

CNJ831       

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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:43 AM

At least in my scale (1/22.5) lichen makes perfectly scaled tumbleweed Big Smile

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by ARTHILL on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 10:08 AM

If you look at nature, what you see is GREAT variety. Lichen adds some of that, if there is enough other variety. I don't think you can have too much variety as long as you know your forests and don't put a saguaro cactus with a birch tree.

If you think you have it right, your standards are too low. my photos http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a235/ARTHILL/ Art
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Posted by shayfan84325 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 10:30 AM

tangerine-jack
...dicing up lychen to beef up the texture of a grassy field of ground foam works well. 

I do this, too.  I really like the results.  The chopped up lichen looks like dead branches and saplings.

I use scissors to cut it into 1/8" (approx) pieces, then scatter it on the forest floor.  I attach it with scenic cement (thinned white glue with a little soap).  As the lichen deteriorates it seems to become even more realistic in this type of application.

Phil,
I'm not a rocket scientist; they are my students.

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Posted by easyaces on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 11:04 AM

 Hey Jeffrey, if you soak the lichen in glycerine for about a week, and then blot it dry with paper towel, it will stay plyable forever and will not fall apart. You can find glycerine at your local pharmacy in small 2 or 3 Oz. bottles.

MR&L(Muncie,Rochester&Lafayette)"Serving the Hoosier Triangle" "If you lost it in the Hoosier Triangle, We probably shipped it " !!
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Posted by Dallas Model Works on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:46 PM

Lichen is so 1970s.

I think foam is much, much better. Anytime I look at old RR layout or military diorama photos from the days when lichen was about all you could get, it's other worldly look just jumps out at me.

My layout is a lichen free zone.

No gloss cote either! Big Smile

 

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Posted by Hamltnblue on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:19 PM

I've had luck using Cat fur.  The Cat doesn't like it too much though 

Springfield PA

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Posted by mainetrains on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:29 PM

Man, that's just cruel! Douglas & Maggie are not amused.

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Posted by DavidGSmith on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:40 PM

 I use both. A varity of colours works for me. Neither really looks like real trees but few products out there do. I liked that idea of faux fur with added texture. Thanks for the idea I will try it ASAP.

Dave

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Posted by tangerine-jack on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 6:51 PM

Dallas Model Works

Lichen is so 1970s..............

I

 

 

Wuhh??  That's silly, what else will go with my goldfish platform shoes?  Now you jive turkey, you p'ssd me off, so instead of beating on you like the six million dollar man, I'm putting on my gold chains and driving my Torino to the disco... right after I add a foam tunnel to my Tyco brass track and grass mat model railroad.

The Dixie D Short Line "Lux Lucet In Tenebris Nihil Igitur Mors Est Ad Nos 2001"

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Posted by Kenfolk on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:32 PM

I seem to have plenty of lichen on my backyard tree branches, and will probably find a use for it, as I try to do for a lot of plants here. The WS scenery stuff and other commercial stuff is a lot more expensive than the lichen I can pull off the bark of my trees.  And the trees don't seem to mind.

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:00 PM

I like to use both, especially for background scenes.  Of course, once you place the camera directly on the layout, the background can suddenly become foreground. WhistlingSmile,Wink, & Grin

Wayne

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Posted by larak on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 11:11 PM

doctorwayne
I like to use both, especially for background scenes.

 

Super trees, homemade bottle brush trees, lichen trees with ground foam, real dead twigs and one pileated woodpecker.

Mix materials when you can. And you CAN preserve or restore lichen by soaking for a few days in a (initially) hot water and glycerin mix. Add dye if you like. As an experiment I restored a bunch that was dry as dust (30 yrs in a hot attic) and what didn't crumble from initial handling came out very supple.

 

Don't fear experimentation.

Karl

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Posted by Hamltnblue on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 11:35 PM

Well the dog took the picture and thinks it's funny.  She's probably glad I don't use dog fur. Bow

Springfield PA

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Thursday, November 27, 2008 1:04 AM

 Hi 3rd rail: This is what I use: Various colors and textures of WS foam, foliage, and polyfiber, Pot Topper grass, Silfor, Super Trees, bottle brush conifers, and weathered mulch. Not a liken in sight.

 

 

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.
Posted by MrKLUKE on Thursday, November 27, 2008 1:18 AM

.

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Thursday, November 27, 2008 1:27 AM

Thanks Jeff, I just try to model what I've observed over a 60+ year time period.

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Posted by hminky on Thursday, November 27, 2008 6:28 AM

 I covered lichen with Woodland Scenics Foliage, not the clump but the type with netting, for background trees:

 

Visit:

 http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/4x8/backdrop_foliage/

Thank you if you visit

Harold

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Posted by CNJ831 on Thursday, November 27, 2008 7:31 AM

As Harold points out above, as well as a number of other previous posters have, most of those employing lichen today do so only as an armature for one form of modern ground foam product or another...virtually never in its "raw" straight-out-of-the-bag state, which I believe more closely addresses the O/P's original question.

I would point out that, in such situations, or when using minute clippings of lichen spread around to provide texture to the groundcover of a scene, the lichen itself is virtually invisible to the viewer. As such, it is only of peripheral importance and most any structurally complex, or branching, natural material (small bits of actual dried plant life, for instance) could easily be used in its place...many examples at no expense to the modeler. Quite often, the clippings from creating modeled trees works very effectively and results in more realistic-looking bushes, scrub and texture then does lichen.

CNJ831  

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