In this video lesson, you’ll learn how model railroader Martin Tarnrot models black spruce trees for layouts. Although black spruce trees do not grow everywhere, the modeling methods Martin uses can be applied almost universally to make other types of trees. The trunks are made from 4 mm flower support sticks or similar wooden sticks. He drills small holes around the stick for the branches, including the top of the tree. To save time, he makes about ten trees at once. The branches are made from 0.7 mm steel wire which he cuts into three different lengths. For top branches he uses inch long wires, middle branches at 1.5 inches, and low branches at 2 inches in length. He runs the wire through the holes he has created in the appropriate lengths, bending the branches differently depending on where in the tree they are. The lower branches are bent sharply towards the ground while the top branches point upward.
The next step is to apply the thinner branches to further fill out the tree. Martin uses a thin SikaBond glue, a multipurpose glue. He thins it down with equal parts water and dips the tree in this glue using a brush to coat the wire evenly. Once saturated, he adds 12 mm brown static grass into his static grass applicator. Martin applies the grass to the wire so there are at least ten fibers on each branch. On a black spruce tree, all of the branches are pointing downward, so Martin uses a blow dryer to blow the grass downwards. He goes on to apply another layer of static grass repeating the same technique, with 1.5 to 2.5 mm length grass to create a more dense look. After the tree is dried, Martin goes on to painting. For more tips on creating scenery or creating trees from nature, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.