The development of the large assortment of model vegetation was triggered by a request, which came from a model railway builder in my former design office "Rademacher & Rief GbR". It came about from a new design proposal for transformers and control boxes.
The basis for a new concept came firstly from the investigation of the “model railway” image. The result indicated that it was one of the most multi-faceted and interesting hobbies, but tended to have the image of a toy because the landscapes were badly modelled and unrealistic, for example it turned out that women preferred the better looking, higher quality landscapes over the technical side. Although our design proposal was not accepted, I saw the possibility to revamp the image through the development of landscape accessories, as in my youth I had been engaged with model railways and the multiple aspects of the hobby allowed for a vast amount of knowledge in many areas to be acquired.
The model railway incorporates a large amount of subject material: The archetypal “Railway” is based on mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, structural engineering, control engineering etc, you must also consider historical development, architecture, roads and automobiles, landscape and nature. Along with this there are the skills which must be adopted for model construction: manufacturing from wood, metal, plastic etc by means of turning, milling, drilling, soldering, sanding, engraving, painting, weathering etc. Electronics and programming have also found their place in model railway construction for quite a while.
To create a realistic replication it is usefull to deconstruct the original. So at this time I started to photograph locomotives and carriages, then I moved on to the architecture and later the nature. Thereby you begin to see your surroundings in a different way and you see things and scenes, which you would not normally have noticed and which most people never see at all.
Learning about the railways from other countries is also very fascinating. One can research about the appearances and surroundings through books or sometimes even on location.
That is why we also try to make this hobby interesting for the youth, for example through utilising time saving and very easy to work with Austrotherm-XPS®R foam.
In the past the theme of model scenery had barely any meaning. The focus lay mainly on the vehicles. These became more and more perfectly detailed. But what is the point in a super vehicle when the surroundings do not match. It is rather the other way round: In a perfect landscape even a less detailed vehicle seems more realistic. But as highly detailed models are not cheap, savings tend to be made on the quality of landscape materials. With our products we established an alternative trend, originally promoted by Willy Kosaks HP1, which led to numerous visionary constructions and dioramas.
However the development of realistic appearing vegetation for model railways that are to scale turned out to be very complex and laborious and took many years.
Plants are very finely detailed living organisms, you have to abstract heavily when scaling down. The end result is “landscape design” further more every tree is an individual but only by manual production can individuals be created which have a highly realistic effect. The appearance of trees is not only defined by tree trunks and branches but also by the leaf shape which contributes to the individual structure. This could not be achieved with foam materials. It is difficult to produce such tiny leaves in large numbers. After two years of development we finally made it work, but the production is not exactly cheap. However the final realistic effect was worth the effort.
Of course the landscape does not only consist of trees, the soil vegetation must also be of an adequate quality. An assortment of grass mats was developed, its advantage is you can design very deliberately because you can choose different versions, initially placing them in the right position, selecting the most appropriate, tailoring it to fit and then fixing it in place. Such deliberate arrangement is not easily possible when using flock and electrical wiring. It is precisely the combination of different grass mats, along with small mat cuttings supplemented with tufts of grass strip that lead to wonderful landscapes.
Taller growing plants, such as horsetail, goldenrod, flowers, shrubbery etc, complement the soil vegetation. The plants are very abstracted because of their small scale, but their use is not restricted. They can also be used to replicate other genera, for example: late autumn brown horsetail is also used for summer brown sorrel.
Whoever is involved in the construction of high quality model landscapes, views, as in other areas of the hobby, the original in a different way. So many customers begin to observe the changes of trees through out the year and consequently begin to photograph the ground covering and landscape.
The best compliment we received came from a customer and his wife: since dealing with this topic, we see many things, which we did not realise before and for this our lives have become far more beautiful and interesting.
That is why the company Silhouette Modellbahnzubehör has been worthwhile!