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Home Made Trees

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This is a great time of year to go to either Michaels' or Wal-Mart and buy trees for wargaming on the cheap.


All told, you get about 2 trees for $1.50


Or one big one for $2.50


There are many colors, sizes and syles of tree available this time of year. The time it takes to make a tree versus the time it takes to earn $1.50 is definately in favor of buying them instead of making them.


If you want to make them I suggest doing a search on Games Workshop's site. They have an excellent PDF availble describing many techniques and materials.


edit for typo

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This is a great time of year to go to either Michaels' or Wal-Mart and buy trees for wargaming on the cheap.

I haven't as of yet seen a pre-made tree that looks as good as the homemade ones I've seen. But I am going to check it out; at the least I might use it as a base to add onto.

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Here's an article on how to make trees (for some reason the link isn't displaying as a link on my PC)


http://www.reapermini.com/?nav=The Craft⊂=Present&article=11


My husband wrote it a while back. They're not the prettiest trees in the world for dioramas, but for practical gaming they do right-well. You can have them individually based or in a grouping mounted on a CD (as alot of his are now).

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Mine are Pretty easy:


Go find some branches that will look about right.


dig out some glue and a nail


Get some colored wool fiber, pillow stuffing, cotton...whatever


Fine foliage (the little cut up pieces of foam in foliage colors)


and Aquanet Hairspray (it actually works bestest, the cheaper the better)



cut bottom of tree flat

glue nail to bottom of tree by head


let dry


pull wool (or whatever you are using) out real thin (like cheap halloween spider web decoration stuff, which you can also use) and lay it on the branches where you want your foliage after spraying liberally with the cheap hairspray (the thinner you get the fiber the more "dappled" your tree will look


let dry


Spray liberally with the hairspray again then sprinkle foliage into the fibers then turn tree upside down to let any loose foliage fall off


let dry


repeat last step if desired for a thicker foliage effect


let dry


now your tree is ready to stab by the nail into some foam, or whatever and play with












oh.... Wait......I forgot something before you play with it.......







let dry :;)::lol::lol:







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Wow, those are amazing looking trees. You should put that tutorial on CMON or something. Maybe have some step by step pictures.

Well ...... I put it here didn't I? :;)::lol::lol:


I might do that though, really.


Seriously, thank you. I found the basic technique at a model train shop and tweaked it a hair or two for our miniatures. ^_^

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The branches used by Orchid look to be a pretty common "weed" tree in Texas - they are all over there...however not too common out of the state (at least not from what I have seen). Olive, Tea and Myrtle also make really good donor trees as well as a bush called "Walking Stick Tree" or something like that that I have seen now and again.


For making wire based trees, I like to use the candle dip method myself. It is really quite painless - and although it can take some time depending on what you use as your filler/cover material, it really goes quite quick when you consider the actual time spent working it.


1) Make you tree aramture. Pretty simple stuff here. Twist some wire, bend, twist, bend, twist - stop when you get a good gnarled shape that you like.


You can use any of the old stand by armature wires like florists wire, copper wire or the like - however I prefer cable. What works best is battery cable - but at upwards of $1-5 per foot...that can get a bit pricey. However, the cable sold for winches and dog runs works just as well and you can get a 100 foot roll for around $10. Anywho - I like the cable since it is generally 6 or 7 bundles of 10 strands all twisted together already. You can then cut it to length - pull the bundles apart for branches off the trunk and the individual strands into smaller branches. Bend and cut as needed of course.


2) Prepare you dipping material. Here it kind of depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it. However no matter which material you choose - it should be the consistancy of a milkshake or there abouts, maybe a little on the runny side. Mix it in a container that you can dip your entire armature into without touching the sides or bottom. 1 gallon buckets work great.


I've used everything from plaster, to a rubber compound used for patching roof tops and driveways - and they all work pretty well...and have benefits and hindrances. With plaster you can easily dye the compound in different colors which helps disguise chips and damage from use. Plaster also doesn't have any noxious fumes or hazardous vapors to deal with. However plaster is a bit on the heavy side and it does crack and chip easier than the other materials. Hydrocal plaster is lighter and stronger than normal drywall plaster or plaster of Paris. The "roofing" tar isn't really tar, but a chemical similiar to it that cures at room temperature (as opposed to needing to be heated like tar). You can get 5 gallon buckets at home stores and it works fairly well. The result is flexible enough that you can tweak the armatures to adjust the branches and what not after the dip if needed. It does however generally have a strong odor while curing, which means you will want to work outside with it (if I recall correctly the odor is not dangerous...just really bad smelling). It takes paint well, but because of its flexible nature it can be nearly impossible to sculpt details after it hardens. Resins are great in that they are light and quite strong. However most are very harmful while curing and can be quite costly (Bondo brand polyurethane resin isn't too costly though). The end result is easily sculpted and with the correct plasticizers mixed into the resin it remains somewhat flexible after curing.


3) Dip it. I generally secure the armature to a mixing stix and dunk it into the dip and switch it around a bit to make sure I get good coverage. Once that is done pull it up and give it a few solid taps to knock a good portion of the filler off. Some stick better than others (the roofing compound for example adheres almost too well) - so you might need to put some force into it. Once that is done I stand it upright to dry for a bit. Most of the time you will be able to let the access run down the branches and trunk and it will supply a fairly realistic thickening of the tree - however with trees like willow where the branches hang down you will need to wipe any extra dip off before it dries to avoid gobs at the end of branches.


4) Paint and detail out. Paint the trunk and than add some steel wool or polyfil which has already been painted. Apply flocking to the steel wool to replicate foliage. Toss it on a base and call it good.

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