Posts Tagged ‘trees’

On the spot vine

May 16, 2011

This is a relatively simple, if time consuming, way to make vines or creepers for your models. It’s also scale-less – as it can be used for most scales. I use embroidery thread as pictured above. It works well because it’s got plenty of interwoven threads to it and can be bought in whichever base colour you might desire. I’ve picked brown because that’s the colour I want, if you were playing space games you might pick purple or lime green, or for twisted tales of horror use red to suggest veins. Hack off a lump of your thread and bunch it up to the maximum thickness you want.

Attach it to a stick or rod, twist the end of it and add a little superglue to the twisted piece. Hold until fixed and it looks a bit like the picture above.

Once dried snip it off the stick and tease it out a little. If you collect Barbies or Action Men you might want to stop at this stage as you’ve just made yourself a handy cat o’ nine tails. A great way to meet a doll of the opposite sex.

Then twist out branches and glue those wait for them to dry and then twist out some more, glue, dry, etc. Don’t feel the need to glue every molecule of the thread. For me it works well if you just glue the junctions. Even if you do use too much glue don’t panic as you can still bend it to fit whatever shape you end up fixing it to.

And that’s the basic technique which you just keep on with until you reach the end og the threads. I try to cut the threads different lengths to reflect how most plants don’t have roots or branches of equal length. Eventually you’ll be moving with some speed doing this as well as sussing just how long you need to hold the string until the glue is dry enough to let go and get on with the next piece.

Eventually you’ll end up with something which looks like plasticated veins created by an insane and sinister German doctor.  Bear in mind you can add more pieces to it when placing it, especially for the thinner pieces. To see what it looks like in place have a look at this.

I can’t believe it’s not Buddha

May 15, 2011

Another of the coaster scenics is finished so three cheers for me. This one features a Buddha head from one of those out of town retail bunkers identical to the one Mike Awdry picked up to do similar with.

The stonework is made from pink foam, the vine from embroidery thread, the bamboo from satay sticks and the ivy from one of those over priced Army Painter boxes. A bit of spagnum moss has been jammed into crevices and a bit of a couple of types of flock scattered around. The most complex piece being the creeping vine, and a how-to for this can be read right here.

This will only take a couple of, or three at a push, figures and quite snugly too. You can see one of my great Pulp Figure Sikhs keeping watch in these pictures,  handily justifying my colour scheme for the blighters.

The other coaster scenics can be seen here, and here. There’s at least one more of these to come, so keep ’em peeled game chums.

Cross my palm with silver

May 7, 2011

For our recent adventures in the jungle it was obvious we’d need some foliage, and this year I’d decided to get more scenics and fewer figures. This as part of an effort to minimise the lead hill but also to round out the collection having noticed how some of the best looking games aren’t all about the figures. The other fun aspect to scenics is finding things you can use across projects, so these are great for WW2 jungle, North Africa plus our modern adventures in Jihadistan. Of course spending too much time on the interweb I knew of a place to get brilliant trees from, namely Ebob’s forthcoming new range for Viet Nam – Recon28.

Now the range has been released yet, so I had to wrangle some pre-release models from the man Bob himself. It was worth the effort as these trees are quite stunning, and match rather neatly the pace at which gaming is getting better. The trunks are real wood, the fronds are plastic, theres some coir and even coconuts on many of them. They come with wire spikes so are suitable for game boards too. The two above are based on my cheapskate bases, made from four tuppenny pieces which therefore cost only eight pence.

This one is based on a washer which cost over twenty of the Queen’s new pennies, I wouldn’t mind so much but she wasn’t paying for them. However the trees remain divine and I’d suggest of you want some to pre-order them now because otherwise I’ll buy them all.

Jungle is Massive

May 7, 2011

This is one of those very typical foliage-on-a-cd things which is almost compulsory for every gamer to make. This one isn’t much different other than I’ve upped my game between  making the first one and this one. So I’ve got the CD and added the aquatic plants. Don’t make the mistake of buying the Uber expensive ones from big retail warehouses use Products for Wargamers instead who are much more reasonable.

Now these plastic plants come on a larger mat, and are attached with a simple peg & hole arrangement. This makes basing madly simple – cut the base off the main mat, gently remove the plants and all you have to glue to the base is the freestanding peg, glues, paints and flocks can be applied and dried and you can reattach the plant afterward. Much easier than with your usual model tree.

For me this is the finishing touch which I quite literally stumbled upon during a game at Wobbly Steves. It’s spagnum moss aand his lawn is riddled with it and very conveniently so. Very easy to use and completely free – Hurrah!

Bamboo Radley

April 14, 2011

I made the above jungle scenic having seen a post about Burmese Infantry over at GWP. I followed the link to Michael Awdry’s blog which has a handy tutorial on making such a handy scenic.  I’ve slightly adapted his idea for the bamboo, a brilliant way to get the look of the world’s maddest grass with paint rather than sculpting it. The leaves are all cut from plastic plants for aquariums, and added to the satay sticks with drilled holes and superglue. It’s a lot quicker to realise than might be apparent, and quite an impressive feel to it. A big thanks to Mike for the idea.

Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me

September 19, 2009

DSCF2250Having bought a pile of Irregular Miniature trees from Angel Barracks the other day it didn’t take long for me to think of something to use them all up in one go, even if I’m getting short of bases for scenics. So on my last 75mm square base I decided it was time to make an orchard, made incredibly simple by using the metal trees from Irregular which, along with all their trees and bushes, are some of my favourite bought-in scenics.

Okay so I’ve sprayed the trees and set them to one side, and it’s on to setting the tree bases onto the scenic bases as seen above, easy enough.

DSCF2251Next I’ve slopped on the Basetex, which is one of the fastest ways of getting a lot of texture across a large area. Bastex is another product available from Irregular. You can make your own by mixing sand and paint, but I’m far too lazy for that nonsense. At this rate the whole scenic is becoming a gaming equivalent of a three minute omlette and having buggered about with nothing but bases of infantry the other week hurrah for that.

DSCF2253Next it’s onto the hedging, and I’m using up Javis flexible hedging to hedge the entire orchard. Now I’m a big fan of most things Javis as it’s typically good materials and well-priced. However this flexible hedging, along with their flexible walls, is awful from the moment you start to touch it. The flocks falls off at every opportunity so there’s bits everywhere as I cut this about to make it look less regular. I keep the off cuts though as they can make good small patches of even rougher hedging.

DSCF2265Right I’ve painted the textured base brown, given it a wash, stuck the flexible hedging on and flocked it roughly, stuck on the gate, another Irregular gem, and flocked the base itself. I’ve done the last stage as if it’s a regularly trodden orchard, city types probably imagine orchards are visited once a year to pick the fruit, but it’s not so, there’s always plenty of pruning, pollenating, wandering around shooting the rabbits and even visits around Christmas to collect mistletoe if it’s an apple orchard.


A final coat of static grass to give it that high summer look and it’s time to stick the trees into those handy holes.

DSCF2281Here’s the finished piece, I’ve made a point of making the greens of the grass, the hedges and the trees three distinct tones as this is how the countryside looks to me. Had I used the same tones for all three it would look quite flat and more like a roundabout in Milton Keynes than a delightful orchard secreted in the Normandy countryside. A very simple scenic for anyone to try, and with metal trees a weighty one too.

Branching Out

September 19, 2009

DSCF2290Ah the humble model railway tree, once such a joy but now looking rather dated. There was a time when you could take a box of these to a game and they would impress everyone. “Wow, trees!” folk would cry as if they’d rarely gamed with such a thing on the table. Over the years my box of fifty-or-so have seen a fair amount of action but as gaming standards rise beyond all recognition the reaction has dropped off to barely concealed loathing. Okay they’re metal brushes with flock on them, and aside from variations in colour they’re incredibly samey. Sure you can get some with coloured bits on them to make them look a little like fruit trees, but those are a bit questionable and ultimately you’re fooling no one. Compared to the cheapo Chinese trees off that Ebay, and the metal ones from Irregular they are rather dull.

DSCF2292So now I’ve started to mangle them to look more like the one above. The first step is to cut chunks off to get a less balanced shape. Then glob some PVA over them and add flock. It’s a simple way to make them look better and doesn’t take too long if you’ve a good pair of clippers.

DSCF2299One thing to bear in mind is when you’re letting them dry you want to change how you store them to avoid having the PVA being misguided by gravity and ending up all at one end. To start I store them top down in a small amount of flock, and after about half an hour turning them and sticking them into a box or similar.

DSCF2302Here’s a selection I made earlier. From left to right, a larger finished one looking much more like a tree, an experimental one with some basetex applied to be flocked later, two after a single flocking, and one with two coats of flock and just waiting to dry. They’ve lost the look of trees cloned from a single seed.

DSCF2301Here’s two rows of trees, the back ones have been hacked but still look samey, the front row have been hacked, flocked and look much more like trees too. It’s a shame the makers of these don’t catch up and just add a little more glue and flock and help us all out. Until then I think this is a handy tip for the perfectionists amongst us, which by my current estimation is about 99% of us.

Apartment S

May 30, 2009

DSCF1047Here’s another refurbished building from the ghost town group. Although looking back I notice this one barely made it into the photo on that post. The original base has become the pavement on the larger base, plenty of clamping when gluing was needed. A patchy appliance of lighter grey on the walls, a new roof, plus the lawns and a pair of trees. I wanted bulky trees for this one, so I’ve twisted a pair of those bargain Chinese made model railway trees together.

Hedge your bets

May 5, 2009

dscf0996I was working on gravel paths with some track grit for HO/OO model railways, and proud as a toddler on a potty I showed my Domestic Goddess the results and got the response “It looks like hedges.” This is just the kind of under the belt comment I’ve come to love over the years, and in addition to the usual joy it did make me think “If you could quickly “cast” a hedge with these it’d be a great time saver”. This idea had to be tested, and tested immediately. So I grabbed my ruler which has a handy dip to it, some plasticine. Blocked the gully at regular intervals, poured in scenic grit, and watered down PVA glue and put it to one side to dry.

The question is; will this work or will I be left with an odd looking ruler? A new way to do really tasty hedges, or, a fresh approach to making too much mess on a regular basis?

It’s a fair Copse

April 8, 2009

dscf0743Okay it’s not the most exciting feature but we all need trees. This is a large copse featuring the full range of Irregular metal trees, with a few bushes, patchy grass and although the photo doesn’t reveal it the patches of mud are glossed to look more like wet mud. Although it looks flat it does have some relief, which I tend to do to every base even those for miniatures. There’s something not quite right to a flocked base which is perfectly flat, unless it’s a bowling or golf green, it’s one of those things that I believe the brain sees even if the eyes don’t.

dscf0745A set of tank obstacles which are probably a trifle too large. The H-bar is prebought in strips and cut to size, and even at this gigantic size is very fiddly to glue together. Various short pieces have been stuck into the ground at an angle. In future I’ll use a smaller guage H-bar and cut them even shorter. By the way if you didn’t spot the GHQ jeep in each of these pictures I insist you subtract one from your next dice-roll.