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painting bark for model giant sequoias

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  • Member since
    June 2022
  • 1 posts
painting bark for model giant sequoias
Posted by hbben2 on Thursday, June 16, 2022 1:57 PM

Trying to copy this look for my model sequoias with air brushing. Any ideas?


this is a good example of the colors I want...

  • Member since
    November 2013
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Posted by snjroy on Friday, June 17, 2022 12:02 PM

Ok, well, I'll try to get the ball rolling.

The first thing about trees is that you need the right bark texture, and that really comes out in the picture. So let's assume you have achieved that. If you don't, you can create that using the blade of a saw, rubbing the trunk laterally with the saw blade to create crevices. 

In terms of paint, I would go with various shades of raw sienna. You could use an airbrush, but unless you have several to do, it's not absolutely necessary. Anyway, I would say there are two ways to do it: start with a darker color, then dry brush with lighter colors, or paint a light color as a base and blend in darker colors using a wash technique to create depth in the bark crevices. Of course, you can start with one technique and adjust using the other technique. 

Let's see what the others say.


  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, June 17, 2022 2:50 PM

You probably won't get the desired result by airbrushing.

I would paint the trunk with Vallejo Bestial Brown (Game Colour Range), then wash with Citadel Agrax Earthshade, then drybrish with Vallejo Leather Brown (Game Colour Range), then wash again with Citadel Seraphim Sepia.

Maybe finish the whole thing off with a light drybrushing of Vallejo Rose Brown (Model Colour Range).

As mentioned, your bark texture is of paramount importance.


Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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    August 2006
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Posted by trainnut1250 on Friday, June 17, 2022 11:43 PM

My suggestion would be to use the "cedar shake" method for these trunks. The trunks are made from splitting long thin slices off a cedar roof shingle and then carving/filing/scraping the trunk to look accurate for a Sequoia. The texture of the cedar makes a great approximation of the rough grain of the Sequoia bark.

Before coloring the trunk, paint it with diluted spackle or gesso to create some texture on the trunk. I agree with Burnt sienna as well as raw sienna, gray and burnt and raw umber to color the trunk. Mess with it till it looks right.

Sequoias are huge, well over 200 feet -  that's more than two feet in HO scale.  Sequoias have a lot of trunk exposed and time spent making it look right is the key to a good looking tree.

I've made lots of big trees but no Sequoias. The big ones take longer to make and require different construction methods than smaller trees, but they sure look good on the layout.

Good luck with the project,


see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

  • Member since
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  • From: west coast
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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, June 18, 2022 9:21 AM

Take a tapered dowel and add spackle to the trunk area, then while still wet add bark detail, I use a hobby saw for this. When dry paint with black spray paint and then dry brush your tree colors to suit, don't forget your highlites to make the bark pop.

  • Member since
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  • From: California
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Posted by HO-Velo on Saturday, June 18, 2022 2:58 PM

Guy,  Enjoyed my web visit to The Willoughby Line, so much to admire, seeing your Golden State scenery and models just plain makes me feel good.

Thanks and regards,  Peter

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    September 2002
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Posted by ndbprr on Saturday, June 18, 2022 3:56 PM

or you can make your trunk and drag a sideways razor saw down  the side to create the bark.  paint it and brush on a thinned was for the lower areas

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