Saturday, May 7, 2022

Loblolly Pines

According to Wikipieda:

Pinus taeda, commonly known as loblolly pine, is one of several pines native to the Southeastern United States, from East Texas to Florida, and north to southern New Jersey.[2] The wood industry classifies the species as a southern yellow pine.[3] U.S. Forest Service surveys found that loblolly pine is the second-most common species of tree in the United States, after red maple.[4] For its timber, the pine species is regarded as the most commercially important tree in the Southeastern U.S.[5][6][7] The common name loblolly is given because the pine species is found mostly in lowlands and swampy areas.[8]

With my layout based in Arkansas and Louisiana, there are a lot of deciduous trees, but pine trees also make an appearance. So it seems only natural to include these on the layout.

There have been 100's of ways to build model pine trees described over the years, but I never really looked into it until now.

While surfing Google on "How To's" I found a video on YouTube where a modeler used the Bottle Brush technique to make birch trees for his layout.  It's not a special technique, but what stood out to me was the fact that his trees did not wind up with a "pointy top" that associated with most pine trees and the way he created his trunks. 

The Loblolly Pines have more of Rounder top and I thought his method would get me the results I wanted?

Here are a few images of the Loblolly Pine

This photo came from Google Maps while I was searching for the bridge over Whitewater Creek.  As you can see there are three Loblolly Pines right in the center, behind the bridge.

I started making the trees with the typical materials: Wire for the trunk and Sisal for the branches.  After getting them made this is what I wound up with.

The modeler used 18ga copper wire, which is probably the better choice but with the cost of Copper at the time of this writing I chose to use Floral wire that I found on Amazon.  Most Floral wire is coated in a green material but I stumbled across some that were coated in Brown.

I was little worried about not using the softer copper wire but decided to give it whirl with the cost difference.  (In the end, it worked just fine.)

The next step he did was to make the trunks thicker which would hide the twisted wire.  He did this by melting Crayons and applying it to the wire with a spoon.  So again I turned to Amazon to find some cheaper supplies.  I found a small one piece double boiler that would fit a small, older pan that I had on hand (and that the wife wasn't using).

I also started looking for Brown Crayon in bulk. Wasn't sure what I would find here but I did a search and to my amazement, I found Brown Crayons in bulk.  

Here's a list of what I ordered from Amazon

I wasn't real happy with the color of the brown crayons and thought it looked a little too brown, so I looked for some gray crayons to change the color to a brownish gray.  I found some gray crayons in bulk as well but wound up finding some on eBay much cheaper.  I found a 3lb bag of gray crayons for the cost of 12 from Amazon!  Way more than I needed, but figured what I didn't use, we could use to color one of our walls if we got bored.

So with all the supplies in hand I got started to see what I could come up with and how much of a mess I could make.

To my surprise, this worked pretty dang good and only wound up with a slight mess.  Here is one of the trees after covering it with the crayon sauce. I shot this image after I had painted the Sisal branches with Krylon Camo Brown.  

One last note, the brown material that coated the floral wire started peeling once I started twisting the trunks.  Wasn't sure I liked this but after removing the worst of the coating and covered the trunks with the crayons, what was left of the coating actually added to the look of the looks.  It gave them a more natural look that wasn't perfectly shaped which can be seen in the previous image.

All in all I think they came out just fine.  I'll post images of the finished trees in the next post.

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