National Model Railroad Association’s Master Model Railroader Gerry Leone talks tree-planting techniques in this video. Trees on model railroad layouts often are mounted on the slope of a hillside. If foam insulation or a hard shell topping is used as a base, it is difficult to keep the trees vertical as the glue is drying.
Leone has come up with a tree-holding tool to solve this very problem. The tool is simply a clothespin with a piece of styrene. It is cheap, easy to make, and effective. To plant a tree, make a hole using a pencil and add white glue. The clothespin of the tree-holding tool holds the trunk of the tree while the piece of styrene attached with a pin is turned to the slope of the hill. This will keep the clothespin horizontal and the tree vertical as it dries.
Leone goes on to describe how to make the tool. A wood or plastic clothespin, an L-channel plastic or square channel cut diagonally, and self-tapping screws are needed. The size and length of the styrene pieces does not need to be specific. To begin, cut the L-channel with a miter box to about the same width as the base of the clothespin. Next make a hole in the L-channel using a pin vise with a drill bit slightly smaller than the self-tapping screw.
This same technique is repeated with the pieces of styrene. Next the L-channel must be mounted to the clothespin. Leone uses two-part epoxy for the wood clothespin and model cement for the plastic. The L-channel is glued to the outside of the clothespin, and finally the styrene piece is pinned to the L-channel with a screw. For more tips for creating scenery or making model train scenery trees, visit the Model Railroad Academy website.