Thursday, March 04, 2010

Making trees

See, its possible to write a blog heading without any song references or bad puns. It did take all my restraint to do it though. To become a fully qualified Blog title writer, one must first buy a copy of a book with a title like '2000 one and two liners', memorize them all, then sit down and listen to a selection of Goon shows. Only then may he be considered ready to start the training. I also seem to remember something with peanut butter sandwiches, curry pizza and wine but its all a bit hazy now.

Anyway, before I start off on a ramble so beloved of others in the local rag, today's topics is 5 minute trees. I recall reading somewhere about using seed heads from Buddlia shrubs. Now, it so happens that I have one of these sitting round out on the deck doing nothing but waiting for me to water it.

'Feed me, Seymor!'

Apparently they are also common out in the bush round Nelson, and probably other places, though how someone gets out there to water them all is beyond me. When the seed head have lost their colour (or gone from purple to brown) they can be cut off (preferably when the lady of the house is not around). Try to take ones that are reasonably straight, and over 2" (a scale 20') long. Trim the bits from the bottom up for about 10mm to give a decent trunk. Liberally spray paint them green using cheapy paint from a hardware megastore.

'Mmmmm, spray fumes...'

Normally I hold them in one hand and spray with the other, but the special effects budget doesn't spring for a 3rd hand to hold a camera.
To finish up roll them in some woodland scenics ground foam of an appropriate colour.

Leave to dry, and there you have it; a simple thin straight pine-like tree.

'The work of whole minutes'

It is possible to use other plants for armatures. One thats probably easiest for any Kiwi to get is gorse. This does however have a downside if one ever has to reach past it to get at something on the layout. The pine trees at Cass claimed many an unsuspecting victim (well, one in particular who seemed to do it on a regular basis). Best to trim the spiky points off first.

The only other problem with making trees is that regardless of how many you make, the miniature landscape swallows them up, utters a quiet burp, and demands more to satisfy your eyes. I remember John Rappard making 400 trees for his home layout, that just vanished into a small section of it. If you didn't look hard you wouldn't know they were there.

(Oh, and please, no questions on the colour of the woodlands scenics foam. I have absolutely no idea. I just go into the shop and buy the colours I want without really looking at the labels. Bad practice I know)


Andrew Hamblyn said...

Excellent trees.!

Thanks for the heads up on this one.

Motorised Dandruff said...

Actually, I suppose you could use 'heads'.

Amateur Fettler said...

I knew this would lead to trouble....the pun writers guild are setting up a noisy picket line on the steps outside this blog post in protest...

Motorised Dandruff said...

Are they writing their own placards?

Woodsworks said...

Mother nature doesn't bother looking at the labels on the colours, so why would we?

The fine branchlets found on Manuka? Kanuka? - The one with white flowers, iirc....let's just say Ti-tree - make a supremo armature for adding tufts of polyester flocking, spray paint then season with ground foam to taste. There's a good chance of finding it anywhere in NZ, and the random structure of the branchlets means that by carefully selecting appropriate bits, one can model a wide variety of trees; totara, beech, Tawa.

beaka said...

I have been using Oregano, the herb. its actually like a weed and keeps reappearing in my large pot after I have chopped out the dead flower heads. It makes a nice structure to experiment with and have even used kiwifruit dust and hair from under the grading machines as foliage. best part is its edible and you just eat your mistakes. nice fragrance too!!