Sunday, August 27, 2023


Most model railroaders set up an assembly line at some point in their work.  Owners of large model railroads such as myself often resort to assembly line techniques.  My current examples involve trees and a bit of boxcar assembly on the side.  Building on my success with the initial forest planted in the Cruzatte scene, I attacked another large group of trees to both add to the Cruzatte scene and perhaps begin another scene.

Tree core assembly line in process.  Tree cores consisting of branch disks glued to the trunks are stored on Styrofoam slabs, awaiting the flocking process.  Eight more trees are underway in the middle of the picture.  In the distance is a separate work station where boxcar assembly is underway.


I have found it convenient to work on eight trees at a time.  I tear off coconut mat material for branch disks for all eight trees.  I typically prepare four of these disks for each tree, laying out all thirty-two such mat disks prior to punching a center hole with an awl.  I then glue each tree’s four disks in place with white glue and then repeat for the next tree.  The process is messy in common with many scenery processes.  


While the glue sets on eight trees, I move on to some other task.  Currently, one of those tasks is digging into my collection of SP boxcar kits to finally assemble them.  When the glue sets on the first group of four branch disks, I return for another set of four until I reach the top of the tree.  A rhythm develops as the learning curve makes for ever more efficient assembly. 


I exhaust either myself or my supplies eventually.  At that point, I move on to another of the major assembly steps.  For the trees, the next steps are shaping or trimming the tree cores and then flocking.  I went through a number of spray adhesive cans on the current batch of 120 trees.  After flocking, I moved the trees stuck into Styrofoam slabs to a convenient place on the layout.  Right now, that happens to be in the greater Salt Creek area alongside the Wicopee Siding.  I need to add more ground cover before planting more trees.  Coastmans Scenery Products ( ) is getting regular orders from me for more tree supplies.  


Trees staged below Noisy Creek Trestle in the Salt Creek and Wicopee area of the layout.  A different form of “staging” is represented by the train in the foreground.  That train is in place for the next operating session start up.


I am taking advantage of my enthusiasm for adding trees to my forest based on success with my first major forest scene.  I also am taking advantage of warm dry weather to use the spray adhesive for tree flocking outdoors.  I have a lot of forest to plant!

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