It will shock you, but I really enjoy making trees. I know, I know who could have known? No wonder then that I dedicate yet another post to our green (or gnarly) friends.
I already covered birch trees, hazel bushes, oaks and yews, but this time the question is which features make a home-made model tree stand out and more naturalistic than the store-bought ones? What techniques can you use to add this last bit of realism to your trees?
I will address these questions with regard to bark texture, foliage, trunk and crown shape, scenic basing and critters. This is also an excellent occasion to show off my latest tree commission plus some trees I made for my own collection. We will look at oaks, apple trees, plane trees, olive trees and umbrella pines. Continue reading How to make wargaming trees – adding that extra bit of realism
Our yew tree stands already proud, but yew trees are evergreens, so we cannot leave it barren, instead we have to find a good-looking solution to depict coniferous leaves.
In Part I of this tutorial we created the trunk, branches and scenic base of our ancient yew tree. In this second part we will conduct some experiments to find the best solution to depict the leaves, use some simple weathering techniques to add depth to the foliage and finally fixate it with thinned down PVA or acrylic medium. The last step is to matte varnish the tree and then glorious battle around its trunk can ensue! We will also revisit the fallen branches and add some finishing touches to the bases.
Continue reading Leafy experimentation – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part II
Ancient trees with their often haphazardly growing branches, bulbous trunks and weathered appearance always fired up my imagination. Inscribed in their bark are stories of times long past, combined with a certain mysticism and deep respect for such an old being. To depict such a tree on the gaming table can add such qualities to our games and add narrative potential as well as a welcome change to young or middle-aged deciduous trees that are most commonly depicted.
For this two-part tutorial I chose to model an ancient yew tree. With their broad, often hollow trunks they allow us to use the tree as cover or as a mission objective, adding further to the appeal. I also decided to magnetize two of the main branches for easy transport and storage. Per usual I will provide some botanical background, some facts about owls, a list of the materials needed, followed by detailed step-by-step instructions. Part I will cover the trunk and branches as well as the scenic base, while Part II will focus on different options to depict the foliage.
Continue reading Through a Forest, Darkly – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part I
Browsing my blog it becomes apparent that I have a thing for modelling trees, evidenced by earlier posts on oaks and birch trees. But what about bushes, shrubs or hedges? There is a variety of shrubs and bushes that one could depict on the gaming table and construction will be very similar in most cases. That said I chose to make a hazel bush for this tutorial given they have a distinct, very appealing bark texture and the fruit lends itself for base decoration. Oh, and I think squirrels are adorable, so why not give them some scale hazels to forage?
Per usual a step-by-step tutorial will guide you through the creation process, with additional background information and scenic shots of the finished bushes.
Continue reading Squirrly goodness – making Hazel shrubs for 28mm and 15mm
Ageinst him where he sat
A goodly Elme with glistring grapes did growe: which after hee
Had praysed, and the vyne likewyse that ran uppon the tree:
But if (quoth hee) this Elme without the vyne did single stand,
It should have nothing (saving leaves) to bee desyred: and
Ageine if that the vyne which ronnes uppon the Elme had nat
The tree to leane unto, it should uppon the ground ly flat (Ov. Met. 14.661-665).
Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BCE to 17/18 CE) is famous for his love poems (Amores) and his mythological narrative Metamorphoses. In the short piece above taken from the latter work he describes casually a then very common form of viticulture and uses it as a metaphor for marriage. He already uses this simile in his Amores in the well-known phrase “Elmes love the Vines, the Vines with Elmes abide” (Ov. Am. 2.16.41). The relationship of vine and elm tree (or growing wine on trees as a support in general) is a long-standing one and continued in Italy well into the 20th century (cf. Fuentes-Utrilla, López-Rodríguez & Gil, 2004).
Nowadays this form of viticulture is very uncommon, but nevertheless sparked my interest. More importantly it also spawned a new project – the very raison d’être for this post: a modular skirmish board set during the Second Punic War featuring a villa rustica complete with vineyard, olive grove and orchard.
In a multi-part tutorial I will guide you through the creation process from the early planning stages to the final piece. In this first part we will look at the design of the modules, historical considerations when it comes to depicting a Roman vineyard complete with villa rustica and finally we will also have a look at some Agema miniatures to provide some suitable skirmish forces.
Continue reading Elmes love the Vines, the Vines with Elmes abide – a modular skirmish board set during the Second Punic War part I
There are many products available that are not originally meant for the aspiring model terrain maker, but nevertheless provide us with the right tools to recreate nature. One of these products is the Golden Crackle Paste. Being an acrylic effect paste that – as the name suggests – cracks during the curing process, it supplies us with the perfect means to depict dried out lakebeds, but also cracked ice or even cracked lava.
In this short review I document the curing process over several days and show two of the terrain pieces I made using the crackle paste, namely an almost dry lake with barren trees and a water hole as well as a frozen lake with cracked surface and a snow-covered tree.
Continue reading Fire and Ice – Experiments with the Golden Crackle Paste
Last time we fashioned a barren oak tree using twisted wire for the main trunk and seamoss for the ramifications. We went on to add some structure to the bark edging a characteristic pattern in a layer of woodfiller. Painted up the tree looks the part for a winter scenario, but in adding some fall foliage and critters we can add some colour and life to it before winter arrives.
I will briefly outline how to paint the squirrels, how to finish the autumn themed base and finally how to attach the foliage.
As always, some facts about squirrels, materials required and step-by-step instructions will be provided.
Continue reading Winter is coming – Realistic trees for wargaming and dioramas part II
Last time we looked at a simple method to make realistic wargaming trees using just seamoss, a bit of wood filler and foliage nets, but there are more advanced techniques that will yield even more realistic results suitable for the gaming table and a diorama alike. Naturally this comes at a price: the time involvement is much longer, as this project will take you about three evenings.
This time the tree of choice is an old oak tree. We expand on the idea of utilising seamoss in first making a tree armature out of wire to have a sturdy set of main branches and then attaching seamoss to depict the finer branches closer to the top of the crown. Finally we will add the distinctive bark texture. This way we achieve a tree siutable for a winter themed gaming table or diorama. Foliage and further details will be added in part two of this tutorial, situating the tree more in a late fall landscape.
As always, some facts about oaks, materials required and step-by-step instructions will be provided.
Continue reading Winter is coming – Realistic trees for wargaming and dioramas part I
Wargaming terrain without the one or other tree would be quite boring, after all we try to recreate natural surroundings for our games and even in the driest desert some form of tree will dwell. It does thus not surprise that there are plenty of techniques out there to make visually appealing model trees.
Some use prefabricated armatures made of plastic or metal, others go the scratch built route using wire or others again use natural products, such as twigs and sea moss or ‘Meerschaum’ as it is called in German (botanical name chenopodium aristatum).
A similar variety of foliage products exists: Clump foliage, either bought or self-made, fine turf in combination with loose ‘leave’ scatter or foliage nets.
This short tutorial focuses on an easy technique that yields very realistic results. We will make a simple birch tree for 15mm scale using sea moss and MiniNatur foliage nets to achieve a true to life appearance while keeping the time involvement at roughly one hour. If you are looking for a more involved project and even more realistic result have a look at my Oak tutorial.
Continue reading How to make realistic wargaming trees – Project Birch