Can’t See The Trees For The Wood!

Well, it’s been a while since my last post.  Surprisingly, this doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, it’s just that there’s been nothing much to report!  I’ve managed to slowly work through scenery as part of January’s community painting challenge, but it’s not the sort of stuff that makes for interesting progress updates.  So, here’s where I left off at the start of the year, with a desk full of clutter.

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I can dismiss some bits straight away.  The movement bases for the latest Paraguayan War and other 19th Century units are finished and stashed away safely.  The twenty-plus figures waiting to be primed for painting later in the year have been shuffled to the left out of camera shot now, although two have been finished (Oh, wow, two!  Hopefully following posts will pick them up).  The Dutch CTLS tank has had some acrylic matt varnish brushed on over the spots that for some reason had turned shiny.  This leaves the tree bases, representative woods and two French cottages, but I’ll be surprised if anyone who started reading this is still awake now!

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The idea behind wanting bases to represent woods was because of the 19th Century wargames rules I’m now using (in a book by Neil Thomas) and the fact that my troops now use movement trays.  The large card/MDF bases represent the extent of the woods for movement and visibility purposes, and the separate trees on bases can be removed to facilitate units moving in the woods.  In total I wanted to make four woods and six new tree bases, whilst re-texturing another three or four old tree bases.

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I mounted the resin tree bases (which I think I got from Ebay) on mounting board, since the card is less likely to fracture if it gets knocked.  I then covered the edges of the bases with Vallejo pumice ground texture, which gives it a grainy appearance.  Painted the bases in Humbrol dark earth, the tree trunks in Humbrol chocolate and the whole lot got a mixed sand-coloured highlight drybrushed on.  Finished off with static grass patches glued on with PVA and then varnished with a Humbrol matt varnish spray (indoors, since it was blowing a gale outside – actually, when I opened the window to make sure I had the room well ventilated, it ended up blowing a gale indoors as well).  Trees are K&M trees and their wire “trunks” fit nicely into the resin bases.

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I was originally going to do the bases for the woods in mounting board, but decided to add some oval MDF pieces I’d bought to give them some weight and prevent them from warping.  Added Vallejo pumice again but spread this very thin and level across the MDF so that the trees could stand on it evenly.  Then finished them off as per the tree bases.  They’ve warped very slightly, but they bend back OK.  Since they looked a little bare with the trees in place, I based and finished four resin tree stumps I had to fill some of the gaps.  I can mix and match existing trees and scatter scenery and I’ll have a go sometime at some jungle/rain forest type scenery for the Far East and South America.

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The cottages just aren’t going to be finished for the end of January.  In themselves they wouldn’t take long to do, but I wanted to make a base for them so they look a bit more interesting.  This has meant more to do, but I’m breaking it down into manageable steps so that I can make a bit of progress each day.  On the plus side, February’s challenge is to finish a neglected model and these cottages have been hanging around undercoated and unloved for years, so the trick now is to make sure they don’t get finished too soon!

I’m maybe thinking anyone suffering from insomnia should bookmark this page!  I know I have!

 

 

21 comments

  1. Nice terrain. I remember the first time I encountered removable trees on a war gaming table, and I thought, “Wow, what a great idea!” The game was some historical affair with lots of block infantry so being able to move the trees around helped a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well I found it interesting John. The thing is dioramas, vignettes, single figures and I’m sure it’s true for gaming boards too, always look much better with scenery. The thing is scenery is only really noticed when there isn’t any and when it comes to making some it can take far longer to do than figures. So far so good as far as I’m concerned.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Dave! To be fair, I quite like doing scenery – I can take my time and be less precise than with figures and tanks and it doesn’t matter (well, not to me anyway)! I’ve let the side down by not making my own trees, which is no doubt what stopped me from posting a picture of me with string, wire and scatter material stuck to me and the dogs!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Pat! They’re K&M trees and they’ve been around for ages. I have actually seen trees this sort of shape in the wild and some trees maybe tend to take on this aspect when viewed from a distance. Unlike TIM and yourself, I’m never gonna be able to make a passable tree!

      Liked by 2 people

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