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One Friday evening as we played Batman: Talisman I twisted a tree to life. Formed from 13 strands of wire of approximately 12-inches in length, the tree takes shape by folding them in half and twisting the loop created into the trunk of the tree. The loop created is cut into the roots and the longer tendrils are twisted into limbs and branches to form the crown of the tree.
As you can see in the picture, I used one of my Armstrong sample tiles to make a base for the roots and glued it in place with some Loctite Gel Glue. The idea is to form irregular surfaces to cover and create the illusion of a real trunk, roots and limbs. The crown will kind of solve itself when the canopy is applied later.
The Ground and Bark
Once you have a "skeleton" for the tree, it's time to add the skin. To do this there are a number of ways. You can use liquid latex. You can apply green putty or green stuff. I chose to do the super glue and baking soda method. You've probably seen my work with this insta-cure method before on Frulla Krung and other Frost Giants.
I use super thin, insta-cure cyanoacrylate (super glue) that allows it to run well over the wires and base and then coat that with the baking soda. The squeeze bottle, shown in the background, allows me to apply it as a wind blown sediment or just to dust it over the glue. The opposite can be done where you make a pile of baking soda or fill the crevice you want covered and apply the super glue carefully so you don't get an impact crater. Of course, maybe you want impact craters.
As you can see above, the effect is quite "chilling." Be careful of fumes. It's still super glue. And super-thin super glue runs everywhere so I suggest putting down something you don't care about. I use box lids.
Once you have the coating applied to your liking, it's time to finalize the branches and make the crown. Here's where random is your friend. Twist the strands into limbs and then twist off the limbs into branches. You can create burls and broken limb ends by adding sharp turns with your pliers. In this case, I left the crown relatively open. It's a small, young tree after all.
You can see another much older tree in the works behind it below.
Our specimen is primed as well. I added curlicues at the ends of the branches to eat some excess wire and for extra hook points for the canopy.
The next step after this is to paint the trunk. I used a pair of FolkArt Pickling Washes to achieve this. The first was a dark gray, FolkArt Stormy Sky. To add body to the paint in order to help fill some of the wire gaps, I mixed in some Liquitex Matte Medium. Once the basecoat was applied. I drybrushed the trunk, roots and limbs with FolkArt Cottage White Pickling Wash mixed with some of the Stormy Sky mixture. This gave me a nice light ashen color to the bark.
The canopy is made from Woodland Scenics Tree Canopy Green and Yellow mixed with essentially some static grass I got off of Wish. I mixed them into my Hamilton Beech Grinder and ground them down further. You'll prolly have noted that there are some wires visibly still. This has been noted. I ran out of mixed canopy. I will be making another batch shortly to finish it. I used a spritz bottle of glue from Dollar Tree to apply the canopy. It worked really well. Once it was set, I used my favorite finish coat to solidify the canopy, Testors Dullcote.
That's where it's at as of now. As to next, I will be doing a wash of the canopy to add shading to the tree. That will carry down the trunk and roots. Then I will apply an umber paint to the ground and a mixture of cork and bark, ground down in my grinder, over that.
Stay tuned, Stay Well and Enjoy
All projects have a starting point and this one is no exception (Guess I've been spending too much time at Lowe's lately). It all started with a small bits bag containing a gun platform for only a buck. I didn't know what it was but I figured I could find a use for it, especially at that price. Try as I might I simply couldn't identify the piece, but my gaming group had me covered. Almost as soon as I posted a picture to the chat I had my answer.
A 2nd edition assault cannon, perhaps of the sentinel variety. A quick Google search confirmed just that, but not definitively. Naturally I had a decision to make, what to do with a piece like that?
Well I have to admit though I prefer the current look of sentinels I also kinda wanted one of the older designs. I've never had the luck to find a decent one at a fair price however (I really wish I could fine a decently priced "egg on legs" too). This single bit made the decision for me, it was time to scratch build one.
First step was creating the bulk of the piece. Though I know it'll never play officially I decided to attempt to hit the 80% GW mark anyway. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take a picture of the internal structure comprised of sprue supports, they're in there though. I also grabbed a vehicle commander's torso and glued it in place.
The weapon needed a bit of leveling so I test fitted it using a piece off an MDF sprue. It isn't GW but it did a better job, so that's what I used.
Now for the biggest hurdle the legs. I found a couple of sprue pieces glued together not only gave them the necessary bulk but also proved surprisingly strong. A bit of rounded plastic was enough to finish the top piece of leg.
The bottom legs proved trickier. I found it almost impossible to build them without also creating and attaching the feet. So I did just that using the same techniques as before. That however brought about another problem. Though the legs were the same size their angles were not so I needed to build up the base to accommodate the blunder.
Apologies but this is the only picture of these steps, guess I was too busy trying to make it work.
I felt the legs needed a little something more. So I began adding coverings over the sprue. This is probably where 80% GW went out the window but maybe not.
It also received it's first couple of bits. In the form of some armor and the arm for a searchlight.
Now it was time to really hit it with some bits. It looks a little busy but I really like it and it was a way to use some bits I simply had no other use for.
Then of course it was time to break out the greenstuff. I gap filled and generally just cleaned up some of my seams.
And here it is in comparison to a modern sentinel. Not too shabby, at least with my skill set. I may have actually kept it 80% GW too.
I'll leave everything to cure and hopefully I'll be able to prime and paint it soon. Though I have heard that our winter heatwave is over, so priming may have to wait awhile.
By Chris Palmer
I was in my local Dollar Tree today and found some goodies I thought others might be interested in.
First were these Candy & Cupcake scenery pieces in their fairy garden section. I often run Christmas themed games around the holidays and I thought these would make great structures to help build a Santa's Village set-up. Would also be neat for a Fantasy setting based on Hansel & Gretel...
Another find from the Fairy Garden section, was this leaf based table and chair. Just the thing for an Elf Village...
I also picked up these games as I thought the translucent hex pieces and unusually shaped portal-like bases would have multiple possibilities for basing or terrain building.
The Day of the Dead
"Zapata's Skull & Rose"
This is a present for my daughter, so the pictures are of the tavern just before we left to take her back to Buffalo. The glue holding the grass around the base is still curing and my quick studio backdrop is a large cardboard box.
However, I present to you the tavern...
To see more of how this came about, you can checkout my Work in Progress post.
Well, the story's seven or eight years in the making, but we finally got married.
Now we just need to get Gene Van Horne to sculpt a bride and groom mouseling. Or a zombie bride and groom mouseling. Or a bride and groom mouseling with chainsaws...
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