Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WIP: The Great Tightwad Forest

Citadel minis are great.  They're generally of a very high quality, great sculpts, and in many ways, the best in the business.  They're also outrageously expensive when you know what it really costs to manufacture them. Some things I'm willing to spend money on.  Some things...I'm a tightwad.

I'm sorry, GW. I'm really not going to pay $30 for 3 freaking trees.  Don't get me wrong, they're nice trees and all, but I could grab a couple of twigs from the garden and fake it if I was desperate and nobody would care. I had this tree kit sitting around from an abandoned project and decided they should come out of their box and be of some use. Trip has an amazing Forge World table, full of GW buildings.  It looks great.  I'm a nature boy though, and so are my Kroot brothers. We need some woods to $#!+ in.

This kit came from my local Model Railroad supply store. It was $15 and has 6 trees, making it 4x the value of the GW equivalent.  Well, OK.  It doesn't have the base and may require a little more work...and the trees aren't as exciting.  But dammit, they work.

The trees themselves come flat.  You have to twist them in to a more tree-like shape. You can then add some of this moss crap if you want them to look like model railroad/5th grade diorama trees.  If you like the moss, add it after painting the trees. Me, I'm lazy. This is gonna be a long-dead forest.

First step for me was to cut out a rough shape out of thin styrene stock.  That made the base for my project and will define the borders for gameplay.  Next, I had this sheet of textured styrene lying around (also from the Railroad store).  It looks close enough to a rotting forest floor to get me started. I cut it to match the shape of my bottom sheet roughly.  Next, I plotted out where I wanted the trees and cut holes for the bases. Finally, I glued the textured sheet and tree bases to the project base.

Deet's fun fact for the day:  If you've got something like this that has a lot of gaps- or a really big gap in a model that you want to fill with CA (super glue), you can add a little baking soda to the mix as filler.  It actually strengthens the bond (if I remember my model shop teacher correctly) as well as spreads out the glue for a larger bonding area.

Now to fill the gaps.  The edges I did with Green Stuff- just rounded out the edge so there was a more natural transition to the ground.  I hate mixing Green Stuff, so to go around the holes by the tree base, I switched to the easier-to-mix Milliput.  I hate Milliput.  Once the gaps were filled, I slopped some white glue on and applied some little sand patches just to vary the texture a bit. I also drilled out the tight-fitting tree bases so that the trees could be easily removed for storage and playing.

Kroot Hound and Shaper for scale...and from an angle that makes it impossible to tell.

Last step of the modeling phase was to sculpt some basic roots around the bases so the trees feel at least a little bit like they aren't just stabbed in to the ground. Again, Milliput.  Bleh. I'm going to have to try that 50/50 mix someone recommended.  These sculpting resins just aren't my thing.

I thought about adding a few fallen tree trunks, etc, but after playing on some of that GW terrain, it gets really annoying when you can't place models properly because of too much uneven ground.  I think I'll be able to make it look good without compromising play-ability. Maybe I'll glue a few low profile twigs around.  Lord knows I've got plenty of dead plants around after 3 weeks abroad.

Next week, one of my two projects is in serious danger of getting some paint slapped on it.  Until next time.

1 comment:

  1. Looking good man! Might have to swing by my Rail Road hobby store in town and pick up a set of trees and do what you are doing and use the moss for Flames of War.