Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tree's Company

Wood yew beleaf it? Ash soon as one scenery article a-pears another follows. Sorry, I'll stop, no more puns, completely stumped... sorry. Yes, today's article is all about trees, and because it was a slow process I've taken step-by-step pics too.

For this round of trees I'm using the old GW "bottle brush" trees, they're the shape of chestnut trees by the way, that have been hanging around about as long as the game board awaiting the appointed hour.

First of all you need to separate the trees from whatever root system your trees come with. If they can't be separated then you'll just have to be careful. These were just wire hot glued in to the roots, so a quick twist did it. Put the bottle brushes to one side and concentrate on the roots. Glue the roots on a base roughly the width of your trees. Handily, the 60mm flat round plastic bases citadel made were perfect. I had a bunch of them so that made it easy. In the absence of those I would recommend one of the companies making mdf bases. Sarissa Precision are a good bet. Texture them as normal and then prime - I'd recommend black.

There are some that would say this is enough trees. There are Forty here. Those people are wrong as we shall see later.

Painting begins in exactly the same way as the table, with the same colours (Calthan Brown and Tausept Ochre from the painting kit, Terminatus Stone to finish) so as to help blend the bases to the existing soil.

The colour of the trees never resolved well on the camera. Trees aren't brown y'see? They're a brownish grey. A good analogue for this is a basecoat of Val German Camo Black-Brown. Drybrushed with a mix of Val GCBB and Baneblade Brown and a final light drybrush of Administratum Grey. In real life they look browney-grey. On camera? They look primed. Grump.

Next we need to get some foliage going. This will blend the edge of the base in to the grass of the table (damn near perfectly if you check the first picture again). Just put a rough ring of neat PVA around the edge of the base and then give it a good, pressed-down coat of the same static grass mix you made the table with. It's worth making a load of the grass mix when you do the table so that you can blend all future scenery projects. This will give you a "Mongol Furry Hat" look which will look a little unnatural at this stage but remember two things. One, we ain't done yet, two, grass doesn't grow too densely under trees that are packed together in a wood. In a park? Sure, a wood, no.

What you do get a whole stack of is leaf-mold. Antenoceti's Workshop's Leaf Litter is a great analogue for this. I believe they're some sort of seed pods but they are so cheap and numerous in the pot (I used less than a third of the pot doing the entire 40 trees) that it's worth buying them. Thinned PVA brushed on lightly and then a layer of leaves sticks a thin coating of them. Sadly, they're not terribly durable this way so we break out the secret weapon. Watered down PVA.

Before we coat the whole thing in watered down PVA I'll share a tip with you. It's terribly easy to glue your carefully modelled bases to the table. To avoid this? Just stick a coin under the base. A 2p piece is perfect. Just enough gap (compare the two bases the arrow is connecting in the picture above) to prevent sticking and very stable.

Hoo boy, this next step takes some time when you are batch painting forty of the damn things. A thinned mix of PVA - about 1 part PVA to 3 parts water - is heavily brushed over the grass, leaves, everything. This will weld all the scatter materials down. At this stage I also glued a few weed tufts to about 10 of the bases just to add some more life.

When it's all dry you get quite a nice convincing leaf litter. You can now glue your trees back into the trunks and admire your handiwork!

See? Forty trees, barely covers 2/3 of a 2'x2' Realm of Battle tile. Sheesh. Clearly need more tree... especially some different species to mix up the appearance a bit. I'm also going to make some bases of undergrowth, ferns, bushes etc. to mix up amongst the trees to improve the woodland look.

Well, having either given you ideas or taught you to suck eggs I shall away to play with my wood... ahem.



  1. Nice work on those bases. That's a great effect en masse.

    1. thanks fella, yeah, really happy with how they turned out. However, clearly need more tree!

  2. Replies
    1. ta! Although I have to say, a large amount of the credit has to go to whichever genius at Antenoceti figured out that leaf litter... ;)

  3. Really nice work! That leaf litter looks great!

    1. Hell yeah, really can't rate Antenoceti's highly enough. So, so many cool things. Available for endorsements guys! ;)