Sunday 31 July 2016

Scratchbuilt trees

Along with buildings, good trees can really set off a tabletop game. I have finally gotten around to making some and thought I would share the results with you.

The starting point are the excellent Woodland Scenics armatures, which come in a bag, containing both the armature and a small base. The size I am using at the moment are the medium trees, which come in at around 3 1/2 - 5" high and are perfect for 20mm gaming. The trunk is first glued to the plastic base and then the whole tree attached to a Warbases 2mm round MDF base.

The only slight drawback is that the trunks are a little on the thin side and the join with the plug in base is also fairly obvious. To get around this, I build up a layer of DAS modelling clay over the plastic trunk and then score it with a sharp knife to get a good bark texture.

Once dried, small lumps of rubberised horsehair are glued to the various branches. I use Evo Stick, which I find does the job very nicely. The key here is to use several smaller pieces rather than larger chunks; this gives a more realistic spread to the foliage.

The horsehair is then sprayed matt black. When this has dried, I paint the tree trunk and main branches dark grey, followed by a heavy drybrush of light grey and a light drybrush of white. Finally the base is textured with black tile grout, covered in grit and sieved sharp sand. The base is then painted to match the style of my figures: chocolate brown basecoat, with successive highlights of orange brown, desert yellow and buff (all Vallejo paints). Finally some static grass is added to finish off the base.

The leaves are then applied to the horsehair. I find it is easier to do this at the end as it cuts down on handling once the foliage is done. By far the best glue is something called hob-e-tac. Specifically designed for the job it is VERY sticky and remains so for a long time, as you will find out if you get it on your fingers or an adjoining surface. Simply dab it all over the rubberised horsehair and leave for 15 minutes, before liberally scattering the leaf material over it. I use Noch leaves, which come in several different shades and can be mixed together in various proportions to give a nice variety of greens.

The final stage is to give the foliage a good spray of matt varnish (I use the Army Painter one), which, along with the hob-e-tac fixes the leaves in place very nicely. With reasonable handling, the trees will last for years. If, in the fullness of time, they become a little thin on top, simply touch up with the glue, add more leaves and then matt varnish.

All in all, I am pretty happy with the result, as are a couple of my customers, who have asked me to make some for them!

I hope that this post has been of some interest. Terrain, just as much as the figures, makes the game.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Two Storey House and Garden(s)

This is another building for my late war Eastern Front collection. This can be used as a single small building if space is restricted, here seen from the front and rear.

Below is a simple garden enclosed by a low stone wall. The overall footprint is, again, quite small.

Here is a larger version, which extends out to the side of the house; this time with a picket fence and tree for variety.

One building, three uses.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Timbered Cottage

This is a somewhat smaller piece, featuring a timbered cottage with a small annex. The timbering is simply thin card, scored with a sharp knife. The cobblestones (plastic railway type), add a little extra colour and texture to the base.

The garden is divided into an open, plain garden behind the main house and a vegetable patch behind the annex for variety. Again a couple of patches of worn cobblestones.

Put the 2 together for a useful and fairly generic module. These are intended for a late war Eastern Front project I am working on, but would be fine in the Ardennes too.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Another Garden

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am trying to make the buildings modules that I use, more flexible. This is an alternative garden for the 2 brick cottages shown below.

As you can see it is considerably larger than the first and enables me to create a larger overall footprint using the same basic module. There really is no end to where you can go with this and I think that for me, this is the way forward. Unfortunately I seem to have placed the building module the wrong way round in the photos, but you get the idea!!

Friday 5 February 2016

20mm Brick Cottages

One of the limitations of fixed buildings modules is that they are, well, fixed! Once made, they are what they are and cannot really be varied, other than through their orientation on the table. I am therefore trying to build in a little variety by making them in 2 or more parts.

As you can see, the two cottages are on a single, fairly narrow base, in case I want to keep the village footprint small. To the rear is a separate vegetable garden, bounded by a rustic looking fence. This can be added to make the module a bit more substantial.

I am currently working on a few more buildings along similar lines. The additional sections have the advantage of being fairly simple to make and easy to store and being very light, they can be stacked in a box quite safely. It is much quicker, easier and cheaper to have a smaller number of "core" buildings to which can be added various gardens etc to give variety. Hopefully, the modules I am working on at the moment, will make this a lot clearer. I will post more details as soon as I can.

Friday 15 January 2016

German Railway Station

I have been trying (not entirely successfully) to make a bit more time for terrain making recently. This particular building will probably be used as a railway station for my growing late war Eastern Front collection, which is centred on the Seelow Heights operation, which is of particular interest to me. I just need to make some station names, which I can attach to the building as and when needed.

The shell is made from the usual 3mm MDF with various plastic additions (roof, guttering, fall pipes and cornerstones). This particular building was painted using my latest toy, an airbrush. Never used one before and bought it primarily for painting vehicles, but gives great results on buildings too.