Best viewed using:
- Now that we've got the basic shape of the tree formed, we'll start
gently "tweaking" each limb, branch and twig to give it a more natural
appearance. Some may have a slight downward droop, others may be straight or
curved upward. The objective here is to create a random and eye-pleasing
balance that gives the overall shape some "character". Take a look at Figure
7 and you'll see what we mean. For the moment, ignore that the trunk and
main branches already have caulking applied, that will be covered soon. At
this time, study the subtle variations in curvature of the various branches
and you'll see the appearance of "character" we're talking about. This is
very important. The variety of tree you plan to build, and where it's going
to be located will have a huge impact on the "believability" of the finished
tree. For example, if you're in need of say, several Monterey Pines along
the edge of a Pacific cliff, the "tweaking" should be create the appearance
of wind-swept, slightly twisted and bent trees. On the other hand, if this
will be an orchard tree, you may even want to clip off one or two of the
top-most branches, or bend them lower, since most orchard trees are shorter
and wider (pruned that way for easier picking). On the other hand, a
curbside tree may be pruned for symmetry and some of the lower branches
removed for clearance. The point is, if we want to do our best to model
realism in detail, these things should be considered. Be sure to view the
tree from all angles to make sure there is no branch laying perfectly flat.
- Before we get too far along, we should make some tree holding aids. Select a
few of the bamboo skewers and, using your hobby saw (or any fine-toothed saw),
cut them into 2-3 inch lengths. Discard the pointed parts as we won't be using
those. You may want to lightly sand the ends so they're fairly square and
even. Now, using your scalpel, cut a slit in one end of each section (see
Figure 8). Be very careful not to cut yourself in the process. You may want to
use a small vise to hold the sections while you doing this.
- Now it's time to apply the caulking to the tree trunk and main branches.
If you're going to use one of the MonoJect curved-tipped plastic syringes
(or any similar syringe), pull out the plunger and squirt a small amount of
caulk into the syringe. Do not put in too much, and place it against one
side of the inside of the syringe (see Figure 11). This is so when you
reinsert the plunger the air can escape through the tip and won't get
trapped inside. This is very important. The caulk dries because of
contact with air. If you ensure all of the air has escaped as you depress
the plunger and work the caulk out to the tip of the syringe, the caulk will
stay fresh and usable in the syringe for months. You will need to either
slide a curved pin in the tip of the syringe, or cap the tip. Otherwise, the
caulk will harden at the tip. You will also want to cap or plug the tip of
the big tube of caulk that you used to fill the syringe. That way, you'll
have an endless supply.
- Next select a wooden block and drill a line of holes along the center
spaced at about 2" intervals (see Figure 9). Drill the holes deep enough
into the block to ensure the skewers will stay put. Select a drill diameter
that will let the skewers stand straight in the block but not a tight fit.
This will be the stand for the skewer sections we'll use to hold the trees
while caulk, paint, hairspray, and dulling spray dries at various steps in
the tree making process. If you plan to make a lot of trees, you may want to
drill several blocks.
- Now select one of the trees you've shaped as covered in step 5
and insert the "V" shaped bottom of the trunk into one of the slitted
skewers (see Figure 10). You will want to hold the base of the trunk with
pliers while it's inserted into the skewer. Make sure the tree is positioned
so it sticks straight up out of the skewer. We recommend leaving the trees
permanently attached to these skewers so when the time comes for placement
of the tree, simply cut off most of the skewer and leave a "stump"
protruding down. Then when you're ready to place the tree, just drill a hole
the diameter of the skewer in you layout or diorama and insert the tree.
Glue it in place and add a little ground cover or earth to hide the stump
and you're done. If you're going to leave the trees attached to the skewers
as we suggest, add a drop of CA to the joint to make sure the tree stays
© 2008 Ngineering