Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Modeling an orange grove (Part 1)

 My packing house is ready for the fruit. Time to plant some orange seedlings and get the fruit growing.

In the photo above we see the American Fruit Growers Packing House in San Juan Capistrano on my Surf Line layout.

On a bare spot just outside of Capistrano I laid out a grid pattern spaced 22' x 22'. At the intersections of the grid I will plant the orange trees.

I mocked up a first row of trees to see if there's enough space in between for the trucks that pick-up the Field boxes. I will rework these trees to look more like orange trees. The stumps will be inserted into the baseboard so that they are not visible.

The pipes in front of every row are stand-pipes for the irrigation system. The two tanks in the background will hold oil for the smudge pots. There will also be a small fruit stand on  the country road.

The photo above shows a concrete standpipe standing in a citrus grove next to Interstate 5 near Capistrano that Bob Chaparro and Robert Simpson visited and documented during their visit.

I've cut the irrigation ditches freehand, with a router bit inserted into my Dremel motor tool, on both sides of the tree lines.

The ditches look like this with the concrete standpipes at the beginning of the rows.

The prototype standpipes are constructed from three 32" long concrete rings which are grouted together for a total of 8'8" tall. The diameter is 58". I found that the Tichy Train Group pipe loads have approximately the same size. I just needed to represent the grout lines. I applied two beads of CA all around the pipes and poured a filler powder over the CA. This powder may be used to fill crevices and bonds with CA.

When the CA had dried over night I glued some water pipes, trimmed from a kit sprue.

I used a round file to make the half round openings for the water to flow into the irrigation ditches.

The standpipes were normally covered with a wooden lid. I've cut the lids from a scrap piece of scribed siding using a compass cutter.

I painted the standpipes with concrete colour (Woodland Scenics Street color) and covered them with the wooden lids. Some are broken like on the prototype.

Stay tuned for the next step in modeling an orange grove.


  1. Oh, that's very nice Alain! I remember Bob Smaus's orange grove, but I think yours is going to nicer!

  2. Thank you Colin, but I inspired myself by soaking up all information I could get from many citrus modelers, among them of course Bob Smaus, Jim Lancaster, Bob Chaparro. There are almost too many to mention.

  3. The grass and weeds around the railroad tracks is perfect. Very realistic.

    1. The ground cover is burnt grass from Woodland Scenics and the grass tufts are from Silflor. I think Scenic Express in the US also has a similar product if not the same.

  4. Very innovative approach to making standpipes.

  5. Thanks Bob, I got the idea from your photos.

  6. Alan;
    Reminds me of the Navel Orange grove at the end of my block in GG in the '50s, Great modeling!
    MacInSoCal, N Scale; SP, UP, ATSF; Transition Era, Barstow Area