easy prickly pear cactus

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by nachoman, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I need large quantities of HO scale prickly pear cactus for my layout. I figue I will need 50-100 for my 3'x6' layout. That means, they need to be quick and inexpensive to make. I can't claim credit for this idea, but I think it is worthwile to pass along here. Here are the raw materials: Twist ties from the produce section of the supermarket. These need to be the wider paper type and not the narrower waxy type supplied with garbage bags. Also, some needle nose pliers, wire cutters, some green paint, and some scalloped edge scissors, usually sold with scrapbooking suppplies at craft stores. I paid about 3 bucks for the paint and scissors combined. Here, I have already cut the twist ties in half using the wire cutters.

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  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest


    next, use the scalloped scissors to cut along both sides of the twist ties. The finished tie will now look like a string of beads. Cut 3 ties and bend into V shapes. nest the bent ties together as shown.

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  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest


    grip the bundle of ties with the pliers, and twist the lower 1/4" together with your fingers. Next, spread out the "branches".

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  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    all of the pads on a pricly pear are never alligned in the same plane - they are at angles to one another. I twist the branches between the segments using needlenose pliers. Next, arrange the branches in such a way they look crooked and natural. This is like bending the branches on a tree armature to make them look more natural.

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  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest


    next, i temporarily plant the cactus in a block of styrofoam and brush paint.

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  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest


    finally, plant the cactus on your layout. I have styrofoam scenery and poke holes with a nail. Here are a few photos. Unfortunately, the camera would not focus on the cactus very well with other stuff in the image.


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  7. zedob

    zedob Member

    What a great little project. I don't have use for cacti on my layout, but those are rather neat.
  8. Stephenr216

    Stephenr216 New Member

    Those look great! I didn't plan on having any cacti on my layout, but since I'm modeling Texas, I can just stick a couple whereever I want and they'll fit right in. Thanks for the info.

  9. stump7

    stump7 Member

    Thanks a lot for tip on the technique and the ilustrated tutorial. I will be needing prickly pear plants later this winter when I get ready to do some planting. I'm still on basic landforms at this point.
  10. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    Thanks Kevin, I will be making lots of these since my layout represents Texas flatlands. I've thought for years about how to do this...so easy!
  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Great "how-to". I have a yet unfinished section of my layout that is just begging for some cactus to be planted there. Thanks...
  12. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Nicely Done. It looks Great.:D :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  13. hminky

    hminky Member

  14. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Thats cool.
    Too bad i model New England.
    Hmmmm.........Maybe one in a store front?
  15. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Those are brillant! Nice tutorial too!
  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    An interesting technique, even to someone modelling only as far south as southern Ontario.

  17. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Nice work Nachoman! Looks easy and inexpensive - what more could anyone ask for? Thanks for passing the technique along. Maybe you'll inspire some more southwest modellers.


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