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Trees in the park

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Thanks to all who have chosen to click on my blog. I really enjoy writing it, but it wouldn't be much fun if people didn't enjoy reading it as well.

This week I am all about trees. If you've been following these pages, you know that the lighthouse is nearly completed. I'm trying to figure out how to get a 3 volt bulb to blink convincingly. I can make it flash like a police car, but lighthouses have a whole 'nother rhythm. Anyway, I was planning to turn my attention to the main terminal building but got mentally sidetracked (RR metaphor) by a Luke Towan tutorial on making wire trees. This guy is incredible! He's soooooo detailed and precise. He also has a "Jay Leno" type workshop and spares no expense in either tools or materials to produce his models. Most of his stuff is also in HO, which is a bit easier on the clumsy, fumble-fingered crowd that I belong to. Still, his methods offered me a good place to start. I liked the idea of using that really fine wire that florists use when bundling bouquets and such, so I dropped in to Michaels and bought the thinnest wire I could find. It isn't thin enough for Luke, but it'll do. I cut it into six-inch lengths and folded them in half and using two pairs of pliers I twisted them as instructed, then fanned out the top, untwisted wires into limbs. Then I snipped the loop at the bottom and formed the roots. When installed on the layout, these will be mostly submerged in plaster-of-paris but for now, they'll act as a stand to hold the tree upright.

At this point, he recommends purchasing some liquid latex-rubber and applying two or more coats to the trunk and large limbs to get rid of that "twisted wire" look. I didn't want to buy a quart of this stuff just to make trees with, so I tried watered-down joint compound. It wasn't watered down too much, just to make it thin enough to brush on and not crack when dry.
Looks like this:

Now to be fair, that's a different tree but only because I didn't photograph the first one. Trust me, it looked a lot like this one. Once that was dry (about 24 hours) I sprayed them with Rustoleum gray primer. I probably should have used acrylic, but that's not what I had.
Won't bother posting those pictures, you can picture the white tree as a gray tree.
Then I got distracted. Real life surfaced and I spent about a week in other pursuits but this morning, after an early rise and a hot cup of coffee, I turned my attention to the trees. That primer was probably ready in an hour, but I gave it a week so it was as ready as all get out! I took some full strength Elmer's Glue and painted the limbs with it and then used something called "Super Moss" from Michael's. Michael's is pretty good in that if you let them send you a couple hundred emails a week, they'll give you some pretty good discounts. It's a trade off, but worth it. Here is the finished tree.
Don't panic, that is not where they'll end up. It would make it nigh onto impossible to drive up to the house! When their time comes, they'll go into the park across the street from the terminal building in the heart of the waterfront district.
So there they are. I made four of them in much less time than it took to write about it and while I'll give Luke Towan most of the credit, I did relax him a little. Also, if you sift back in my blogs you'll eventually come across an entry that mentions Joyce Kilmer. Reading that will reveal that I have done something like this in the past. Luke improved on that older method and I modified Luke and all in all I think these trees are superior.
I'm kinda looking forward to modeling this little public square. I've even given it a new name: King Maple Park . Guess what inspired that!

Updated 2nd Aug 2020 at 06:08 AM by Albey25

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  1. Albey25's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_H
    Your trees do look good! I think I will look up that video. Since I already have it on hand I may use something called "Concrete" on the trunks if I try making trees this way. its a ready to use compound from AK Interactive, I use it to hide the stubs below the feet of infantrymen by building up the ground from the base when I make my squad bases for Flames of War (a 1/100 scale miniatures game). For N Scale it should look fine unless I am trying to make a tree with shaggy bark.
    That's my point exactly! Why go out and buy some product when you already have something on hand that will do the job? I used joint compound because I always have it on hand.