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Gulthias Tree (Citadel Woods)

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So, I've been eyeballing this set, the Citadel Wood, pretty much since I started painting. It's so pretty, on the boxart, and I love the idea of terrain, even though I can't afford it and it doesn't really work with my group's playstyle... I've always sort of hoped someone would ask me to paint one, just so I could get my hands on it.

Now, for all it's a Citadel set, the Woods aren't very expensive. I got ahold of this set at my FLGS for 30$, and I know I could have gotten it cheaper online. What made me purchase it now? Well, Reapercon is coming, and I and my growing collection of melt are coming for some freaking twig blights. I get so much use out of them for low-level encounters, and in 5e, they've got an interesting backstory - the spawn of a Gulthias Tree.


What's a Gulthias Tree, you ask? An evil vampire tree. Yes, sprouted from a still-green stake drave through the heart of a vampire, they lure people to them to become enslaved, produce twig blights, and have magic healing/harming apples once every six months. There are... only two I can think of, in DnD cannon - one in the 3e module Sunless Citadel, where they originate, and one in Ravenloft.


Still, they're cool as hell, and since they're actually an enemy in their own right, I figure they should have something a little more dignified than a circle on a Chessex mat. So I'm going to create three, out of the Citadel Wood, and then... IDK, sell two on eBay or something.


To the minis!


So, these are Citadel plastics. Grey. A little crispy. Easily filed down. Almost completely unremarkable. 


They come in two sheets of leaves, and two sheets of logs, with a huge base to use to assemble the forest:




These are easy to disassemble - I twist-and-pop, then file. Others may prefer Xactos, but I have a bit of a thing about them for sprues. Nopenopenope.


Then, I assembled the first one, and greenstuffed the base.20180622_003902.thumb.jpg.d2bc879dea55b7cbe2f1afe9632b4e1b.jpg20180622_003926.thumb.jpg.f2e0110abf0864c21138076636a6579e.jpg20180622_003918.thumb.jpg.9c69b18a66a30e4bb0b256e6723b98f6.jpg


I filed the branches as I glued - there's a fairly heavy center seam along them. Then came the gap filling, which is substantial - each potential branch-attaching point is also designed to serve as a knot if left empty, so there's a good-sized hollow to fill in, and the stump and trunk aren't perfect. A silicone chisel added smooth texture, which I'll sand/resculpt if necessary after priming. It looks pretty smooth now, though.



The base is designed as a 2-inch presculpted round pog, on the mini itself. It's made to fit a precut slot in the main base. However, trees in 5e are usually Huge, and I wanted to represent that - thus the Gulthias Tree got updated to a 3" huge base. I just popped it in and backfilled around the roots.


I built up in a ring around it using some fine cork. If I was doing it again I might prefer a larger cork, to better match the stones in the roots, but once covered in tufts and rocks this will do fine. 

The ring shape of the cork is intentional: the Gulthias Tree has the ability to absorb people and turn them into servants. The ring will fit up to a 32mm base - enough for a PC mini that's been captured, or an NPC prisoner or servant of the tree, depending on the situation. Here it is with one of my favorite druid minis sitting in it:




It should be pretty subtle, once it's flocked and tufted (with black, scorched-earth terrain).


So, what's next? Hoping to prime this one tomorrow, and get to this stage with the other two - I got home around 11.30, and this took around 30-40 minutes, so hopefully it goes a little quicker. If I can have all three greenstuffed and cured by the time I get home from work, I'd like to prime them tomorrow night, maybe even get the first coat of color down, if it goes really smoothly. They're going to be silver-wood with blood-red leaves and blackened soil - classic vampire colors for the OG vampire tree.


Saturday is Paint Day at the Citadel, and while I have another commission to finish first, I'd like to get the chance to work on these, too. I don't want to spend too much time on them - if I can nose-to-grindstone have them done in a week, I'd like to.

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(grabs loaf of bread, begins filling toaster while settling in)

I've seen a lot of cool things done with these trees. Are they going to be getting faces of some kind or does it feed through the roots?

Edited by Lord of the Dish Pit

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I'm gonna go with silver for the trunks, and then do the leaves in blood-red, with individual leaves picked out in rust-red, blood-orange, and brown. I'm planning to wash the whole thing in dark-reddish purple ink before I start picking them out, which should darken it up nicely. The silver's going to start with a very silvery brown, and work up to a very pale silver (not metallic); I'm going to do that without any washes, except one very early on (after the basecoat) in a very thinned black ink to give the wood some definition.


Then the base is going to be black, scorched earth, with a reddish-brown tuft used sparsely; really dead-earth. I may fiddle with that, though - it'd make the roots show up awesome, but I want to match the base on these to the blights I'm painting for it, so I might do the one I'm keeping up a little differently.

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To respond to Dish's updated question - nah, I'm not gonna do anything too fancy. Some skeletons around the base, maybe, but no extra sculpting. My understanding is that they feed through ambulatory roots, anyways.


So, I had to get my oil changed, which killed my morning, but I did have enough time to base and GS a second tree, which I'm pretty pleased about. They take around 40m to an hour to do, just because of the amount of GS involved - it's like 3 inches a tree.




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Got another big chunk done on these!


First off, I finished GS the last tree. Didn't do anything with the base on this one, I wanted some flat area to fiddle with once it's dry:




This is probably my favorite of the tree shapes, although all three are lovely. I really like the swirled-back shape of this one though.


Then, I primed the two dried trees. Grey primer, and it's incredible how the greenstuff (which I'm never confident with until it's primed) just blends right in there once you can't see the color of it. Real pleased with how these two are coming out:




(Both trees got primed up, but only posting pics of one since I forgot to take them of the other. Still, you can hardly see the line of GS around the trunk and up the side in these!)


Then, I basecoated the trunks of the two primed trees. I used a mixture of 3/1 Pure White to Intense Brown, which gave me a pale, almost flesh-pink. 20180622_222948.thumb.jpg.cbecb08fbbe33b87869d55356806b72c.jpg20180622_235719.thumb.jpg.4c06e76f2f413500c0259196ca5868c4.jpg20180622_235816.thumb.jpg.4fac0990b2ecc402d0ee0318c0bd04d0.jpg20180622_235826.thumb.jpg.c8dfa4bf3c4b498b0be640ffbc24f7a6.jpg


The more angular of these (first two pics) is going to be done up without leaves, I think. I stumbled upon the branch arrangement, and liked it so much I kept it even though the leaves won't attach right. The second is going to be fully-follated.


Next layer is going to be a lot paler, and grey rather than brown. Gonna have to pick a good bluer grey, more like the primer, to tint out...


But! Paint day tomorrow! Gonna see what I can get done!

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These look really cool.

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These things are all kinds of awesome. The story kind of reminds me of  Ninmenka, the demon tree from Inuyasha. The tree drank the blood of humans by digging its thorns into them. Then it grew human faced fruits. The fruits were used to make a healing potion, but drinking it gave the tree influence over the person.

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