HOW TO RECREATE AUTUMN LEAF FALL
Do you have any tips for creating realistic piles of fallen leaves?
George says: Ready-made miniature leaves are available from a number of sources, either as loose scatter material or formed into bunches to portray shrubs or tree foliage that is dying back. However, we can also create our own scale leaves, thanks to a wide range of punch tools from Green Stuff World. These natty little tools are offered in a variety of sizes and leaf patterns, either for a single type of tree leaf or multiple patterns. The leaves are simply punched from any thin material, such as coloured paper or, for unparalleled authenticity, from real leaves, foraged during late summer or early autumn – ideally just when they begin to turn a paler shade. They can then be carefully dried out, which will also preserve their colours. Aimed predominantly at military and scenic modellers, most of the punches are suited to larger scales, especially ‘O’ and ‘Gauge 1’. However, there are a number of smaller tools that can be employed on ‘OO’ layouts, with the punches forming leaves only a few millimetres in length. Once bundled up into piles, the exact scale of the leaves is difficult to judge, making choice of tools more a matter of personal taste. When choosing the leaves (or other materials), punching out a range of different shades, shapes and sizes is important. An overly uniform appearance will appear unrealistic. While the drying out of the natural material takes time, the punches themselves are incredibly easy to use and offer a highly economical solution, particularly if you intend to create numerous layouts or dioramas in the future.
Miniature leaf punches are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making the re-creation of recently fallen leaves a simple task.
I pruned various leaves from the garden on a dry, late August day. They were laid flat between sheets of kitchen tissue and then pressed inside a large hardback book, with plenty of weight placed on top.
The leaves look ultra-authentic, especially when there are multiple shades of natural material. Holding the punches over a small container makes gathering the tiny leaves much easier.
After pressing the leaves within the books for a few weeks, in a warm environment, they emerged flat and dry, ready for punching with the special tools. A variety of shapes, sizes and colours were created.
The leaves can be piled up and secured with a thin, penetrating adhesive (such as Ballast Bond from Deluxe Materials), applied via a pinpoint applicator. The glue dries clear, without discolouring the leaves.
Above: Green Stuff World offers a range of leaf punch tools, as well as ready-made leaf litter.