Friday, April 17, 2015


When considering your options for a layout a key ingredient, for me, is to have a plan or at least an idea of the different scenic elements to feature. 18th century tobacco was most associated with Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. Georgia was known for a variety of other crops. By the 1860's, in addition to cotton, wheat, corn and others, tobacco came into its own. 
Last week a tobacco field was added to the W&A, NB. After searching for a reasonably priced and yet good looking model I chose the Alkem plants. These are etched brass laser cut kits. 

Above you see one of the Alkem brass sheets with the laser and etched brass plants. There are enough pieces to make about 2 dz. plants. I use mostly three layers and some with four. The sheet was primed with an automotive spray paint then, as per instructions, a medium green on both sides. The top was then hit with a gloss coat to bring some life to the look. The brass rod protruding from the pink foam is the future stem. I decided to build them in this manner because the leaf layers will sit perpendicular once cemented with CA glue, about a pin head amount. 
I then slightly curl a few leaf ends with needle nose pliers for a little 'texture'. You can see that I left the stems about a half inch longer on top and about an inch on the other end to be able to handle. When complete, cut the stem above even with the plant and leave about 3/4" below. If installing in this type of foam, although the brass wire is 1.010, I use curve tipped tweezers; hold the bottom stem tip and wiggle the point into the foam. No glue required especially if you want to remove them. You can also make the field off-layout then insert the whole plot.
This is about half of the area where tobacco will be planted. Notice the tobacco shed in the background. That is a beautiful kit of the same name by BTS (better than scratch).