Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tree Life: A Small Tutorial of Making Trees.

       In the ever growing quest to upgrading terrain to a new standard for my wife and I's games, I have came up with plenty of new ideas. After all, I found that even the smallest of details make games more enjoyable. On a previous post Tree Life: Making New Trees, I shared my results on making trees as the ones in the picture above, but never really explained the "how to" of getting these results. And I am aware that I did not fully cover the trees in my hedgerow projects in my Terrain Blitz postings. I am kind of like a squirrel who buries nuts. I plant them and forget about them. Post, post, post....where was I, again?
      Anyway, this is about the trees most likely from left over nuts. The things I use for making trees are fairly basic.  This is the list of materials:
    1. Round bases for the base.
    2. Hot Glue Gun.
    3. Loctite Control Gel
    4. Brown Spray Paint (Flat)
    5. 3M Spray Adhesive
    6.  Super Trees. This is the main part.
    7.  Sticks.
    8. Leave Flock of some type like Noch Leaves or Super Leaf.

Sorry for the slight blur in this photography. If I had known it blurred, I wouldn't have thrown the box away.
     Getting started on your first tree, the first thing to do is to hot glue your stick or twig down to your base. Important thing to know about your stick or twig that you are using is that is should have a lot of branches. You can also use Woodland Scenics trees to do this, but that would raise the price of making these more. You want the stick to be up and balanced as much as possible. This is the great thing with using a hot glue gun. You can glue your stick to the base really quickly, and not have to wait around for drying times. Also, you can mass produce trees. There is nothing to stop you from using this idea alone for a bunch of dead trees in a bombed out wood.

I made a random dead tree with vines just because it was interesting!
     When the glue is dry for your trial tree, it is time for the Super Tree attachments. About Super Tree, this stuff is great. It is on the expensive side costing about $50 for a box of the sea foam branches, with hand picked Sage Branches, and some Super Leaf flocking. It has taken some time to use all of the stuff from the first box. I have only bought two boxes so far. It does go a long way. I have not used them all. However, the sample of leafs they give does not. And the first box did not have a color I liked to begin with.
    When it comes to attaching the arms of the trees, I used Loctite Control Gel to glue on the branches. I tend to place the sea foam branches along a branch of the stick ending in a joint. I glue it along and  in the joint to secure the sea foam. The Loctite Control Gel can glue things fairly solid in about 30 seconds to a minute lessening the time and allowing you to carry on with more tree building fun. You will find that it is gets easier, the more you build.
As you can see, these are trees using Sea Foam branches glued to Woodland Scenics plastic trees. I just happen to have some leftover Woodland Scenics trees that I never finished lying around in a box I forgot about. The projects I forget about!
     As in the picture above, the trees should be balanced enough to stand with no issues. With the Woodland Scenics Trees, I found I had to cut branches off to make the tree look right, since the design does not really fit the design we would be aiming for. Next, you want to spray paint the trees to blend in your tree's trunk with the sea foam branches. I used a flat Camo Brown. It is important to use the Flat colors in spray paint, base solely on the dry time. The semi-gloss and gloss would not be that bad other than the shine, but they tend to dry tacky. I leave these to sun dry for a few minutes.

Blended together with spray paint! Some might just spray paint the trees only. It might have a neat effect for early spring.

      After the blending has been done, there are two things to do next with no particular order. One, you can paint and highlight the trunk and branches in areas that might be seen to other gamers on your table. This can be done before or after the flocking of your tree. The benefit of doing this after the flocking is that you do not have to use as much paint. Nothing is more annoying that painting something that is covered later. Second, thing is to flock the trees. Now, I used spray adhesive for the flocking. You can go about it with brushing glue on lightly, but this would take longer. When, spraying glue on, do this outside! And I mean outside, not in a garage or shed. The flumes tend to be really strong. You want to spray in down fairly close with short shots in the desired areas. It might look funny, but you want it to look like you spray painted it white. After that, you want to shake or sprinkle on the leaves. Shake off the extras by tapping the base, and repeat with adding leaves and you will have your first tree.

Just a shot of the trunks to see how the Woodland Scenics worked.

The three new trees.
        As some extra thoughts, I did not mention basing, because that can be done fairly easy to match your terrain. In my case, since I used fur mats, my trees cannot balance well by themselves, so I drill four tiny holes around the base for pins. I use pins to anchor the tree bases to foam underneath the fur. Some people thought of using magnets, but even the strongest ones do not hold well. Also, you can save money by spraying paint over the leaves lightly to add highlights. Be creative and have fun!


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