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I had wanted for awhile to build a large logging diorama showing how logs were loaded by some of the smaller logging operations found in the mountains of north west of America. And the main element required for this diorama was really big trees. These pine trees were to be between 2 and 3 feet high and I would need at least 30 of them. I looked at the various methods being used by modelers, and ended up using the age old method of sticking small twigs of caspia into a balsa trunk and then covering the twigs with green crushed foam. 

Even though this is a very old method of building large trees I will describe how I built mine.

Step 1: With a sharp knife I carved 2 to 3 foot  (600mm to 900mm) lengths of 1" square (25mm x 25mm) balsawood into a pointed tree truck shape. Using a course rasp I added bark texture to the truck. Finally I stained the truck to a grey finish. The finished colour will depend on which type of tree you are making.

Step 2: I used a dryed flowering scrub called CASPIA for the branches. Using a pair of small cutters, I cut small pieces of the caspia branches into suitable branch lengths.

Note: This is a seasonal plant which you can buy in florists and some craft stores

Step 3:  Using a pointed probe (I use an old dental probe), make holes in the truck. I usually start at the bottom of the trunk where the branches start. The first area I insert bare branches of caspia to represent dead branches, and then start to insert the cut pieces of caspia. Dip the end in PVA white glue to ensure the branch does not fall out later.


Continue to insert branches of caspia, in a spiral pattern up the tree truck. Use shorter lengths of caspia as you get higher up the truck. When you get to the top of the tree, insert a piece of caspia vertically.

Step 4: Once all the caspia branches have been added to the trunk, I sprayed the branches from above with spray adhesive. Then green, crumbed foam was sprinkled from above.  Allow this to dry. As an option, you can sprinkle a very fine lighter green foam (like some made by Woodlands Scenics) to add highlights to the leaves.

Step 5: Finally, if the trees are going to be added to a portable layout it's best to spray the entire tree with a watered down PVA wood glue.

WARNING: These trees can take about 4 to 5 hours each to build, with really tall ones up to 6 hours.