Friday, January 16, 2015

Working with a little SOCAL Veggies.

Two Iconic plants make Southern California look like Southern California. Palms and Eucalyptus trees. The former somewhat native and used as an ornamental and the latter, planted by the Bizzillions by Southern Pacific and Santa Fe. Getting Eucalyptus trees looking like Eucalyptus trees has still eluded me, but there are a few ready made examples that could fill in if you need one or two...given the price. Auscision Models has a line of trees, most of which will work for SOCAL. There are shots on line of some of their Gum trees that look good with a little work. They also carry both the Washingtonian Palms and the Date Palms, both must needs for any layout. I prefer to make my own foliage and given the modelers out there who are giving of their techniques, makes it easy to replicate what you need effectively following their lead. Palms, need tons of them and I would rather spend the money on new resin Reefers than trees. Here are some samples I worked up with the help of John Signor who provided some initial artwork for trees he wanted me to cut for him. Essentially I took a wood dowel, spun it on a drill and got the right shape using a rasp. The crisscross pattern you see on most palms was made by slanting the cut of the teeth on the rasp in one direction, reversing the direction on the drill to get the cross pattern cut across the first cut. I made a silicone mold that had a knot on the top to hold a small lump of Sculpy clay that's shaped like a ball. I then spread some thick superglue on the upper trunk and added course ballast for texture. The fronds were laser cut and then pulled across a dowel to get the droop effect. I then shot the trunk with yellowish brown paint, let set and then got to work plugging in fronds. These are laser cut from a thin laser board, but a good card stock will work just as well. I gave the clay a shot of super glue accelerator, dipped the ends of the fronds in a puddle of thick super glue and then pushed them into the clay. About 60 fronds later you have a tree.
I made up a bunch of trunks and fronds in advance and it took about 20 minutes to finish a tree.
I'll list the colors I used next installment.
Here you can see them stuck on the module. A few more and things will start to fill out nicely.