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Tutorial: Pine Tree

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Pine Tree Technique


Have you ever wanted to make LEGO pine trees that are a little more realistic than the molded ones that TLG produces?  Here is a tutorial for just such a technique.  You may notice that this technique is not for the faint of heart or weak of pieces, though!  The techniques are fairly basic, but this is one of the SHIP-est tree techniques I have seen.  Try it at your wallet’s risk!


First, a Bill of Materials needed for one tree:



Now for the tutorial:

First comes the trunk.  This is quite basic.

The start of the needles is next.  Notice the direction of the bend on the droid arms.  Alternation is critical to the proper appearance.

Now fill out the foliage a bit more.

Add an internal trunk support.

Next is the trickiest part of this technique: the first ring of thick needles.  Pay attention to the direction of bend on droid arms.  This helps to fill out the needles with fewer gaps.  Note that the droid arms are sometimes spread a bit on the bars.  Not each connection can be snugged completely against the earlier connections.

For ease of tutorial and some final color variation, I alternated droid arm colors every layer.

…finally add the ring around the trunk support.  It should rest neatly on the black octagonal bar plate used earlier.

Now repeat the process for the next needle ring, only this ring is smaller.

…and add the second needle ring on top of the first needle ring.  Wiggle and rotate the second ring a bit during assembly.  It should interconnect and seat slightly into the first ring to lock the position and keep the needles densely layered.

Another trunk support is needed to hold the second needle ring in place and provide support for the rest of the tree.

One more needle ring is needed to finish out the tree at this size.  This needle ring is much smaller to allow for the conical shape on the final tree.

…and add the third needle ring on top of the second.

Of course, pine cones are a nice addition.  Some can be added along with additional needle sections to make the needles denser.  If more pine cones are desired, simply make more pine cones from the three flower plates and add them to the tips of any spiked vine piece.  The additional needle sections do allow for the pine cones to be settled into the needles to give a more realistic appearance than having pine cones on the ends of the earlier branches.  To attach the additional needle sections, just nestle them over earlier needle sections and allow the other branches to cover over and lock in the droid arm.  This might take a little practice and determination to get the right appearance.

Before finishing the top, more needle sections should be added to make the needles denser and provide a better mesh with the top section.  Note the different direction of bend on the droid arms.  This allows some sections to be placed nearer the trunk to give varying degrees of thickness and conical shaping to the tree.  After assembling the needle sections, hang them around the third needle ring and allow the spiked vines to fall into the spiked vines from the third needle ring.  Play around with the rotation of the vines in the droid arm clips to get the best fit and tree shape.

Finally, we are nearing the top!  A critical note for this top section is to use a black octagonal bar plate of the earlier version with thinner tabs attaching the bar to the plate.  TLG later thickened the tabs to reinforce the piece.  The increased tab thickness decreases the bar width by enough to not allow for proper connection and spacing of two droid arms on each bar section.  While building the top section, pay attention to the direction the droid arms are attached to the black octagonal bar plate.  Also note that the vines are not parallel along the length of the droid arm.  By rotating the vines slightly, a better mesh is achieved between the upper and lower layers of this top section.

Now, slide the top section on the trunk support until it is against the stop-ring on the top 6-long bar.  Add the round brick and cone to top the trunk, insert 4 spiked vines to finish the top needles, and press in the upper droid arms on the top section to close them around the top needles.

…and we are finally finished!

Note that different colors can be used for the droid arms to allow for slight variations on the internal portions of the tree.  These pieces show through at different spots, so the colors do have an effect on the finished tree.

Varying the number of needle rings, number of bars in a needle ring, and height of the support trunk allow for many different variations on the tree height and shape.  Some evergreens have denser needles while some have more visible branches and more separation between branches.  Keep this in mind when considering how many needles to add.

Let me know what you think of this design with comments and constructive criticisms!  I am always looking for improvements to the design, so I look forward to seeing how you can use and expand upon this technique!

Thanks for looking,

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Wow, thanks! Unfortunately I do not have enough of those parts at the moment, and am unlikely to pick them up for a while, but this is truly awesome. Thank you for sharing it!

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That looks fantastic. :wub:

A lot of parts are needed for the tree. I just have to look if I have all those parts.

Thank you for sharing. :thumbup:

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