Making Joshua Trees with Gary Hoover

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Duration: 15:06

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Over in the area between Summit and Victorville, typically around the Frost area in the high desert of Gary Hoover’s Santa Fe model railroad, there are a lot of Joshua trees. These are not commercially available for modelers, so they must be made from scratch. So, Gary had to come up with ways to create them. In this video with Allen Keller, he demonstrates how he does just that. He uses a sage bush, peppercorns, super glue, super glue accelerator, and some Hob-E-Tac, which is a tacky adhesive, and some Sweetwater Products field grass in a green and earth tone.

Starting with the raw piece of sagebrush, Gary looks for specific branches that remind him of a Joshua tree and removes them from the bush. On the end of each branch of a Joshua tree there is a little ball covered in spines, so Gary uses the peppercorn as this ball, super gluing them onto the end of each branch. After this step, he applies the Hob-E-Tac to the peppercorn. Using the Sweetwater fall field grass and dry field grass, he rips a piece off of the grass and then dabs it onto the peppercorn in order for stray pieces of the grass to stick. He repeats this process with the dry grass.

Gary Hoover started his layout in August of 2001 and did all the work on the layout himself. Allen Keller considers his progress since then to be a big accomplishment and wants to understand how he was able to do what he could. Being able to find the motivation to push through the less glamorous tasks allowed him to get on with doing the fun stuff on the layout. By working on one small scene at a time, he finds the motivation to push through the other tasks and not get stalled. For more Allen Keller videos, or tree making techniques, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.