Wednesday 15 February 2012

Tree Menders Fun

The famous Town in a Bag - note the beautifully rendered (purely representational) trees....

Firstly, an apology. The number of blog posts over the recent week has dried up somewhat for one simple reason. I have been busy drafting an article for a couple of journals which has grown into two such articles with a third to finish off with! I have really enjoyed this but it has taken up rather more time than I thought it would. They are now complete - at least the first two are - and so I can now get back to more pressing matters.

Trees - you know, those tall green and brown things.

Sometime ago I waxed lyrically about the old range of trees that used to be produced by Merit and indeed, I have acquired some of the same. The only problem with them is that some of them are so old they are suffering from the dreaded brittle plastic syndrome that some old polythene models succumb too over time. I still wince at the fate that befell two battalions of painted Airfix Highlanders from my 1975 vintage 1815 Anglo Dutch army - with the exception of both units musicians some 56 figures all snapped off neatly at the ankles. It was enough to make you weep! Now that I have a supply of Merit trees I am unsure if I will use them going forward and so expect they will eventually be offloaded - sadly my fondness for them has been offset by the ravages of time.

One thing I do have as a fall back position is a large number of the 'trees' supplied in the Torn in a Bag wooden play set. By no stretch of the imagination can these be described as beautifully detailed examples of model trees but they a number of advantages if used carefully. To begin with, they are to hand - which is an important consideration when facing pending unemployment (the usual contracting dilemma). They also have (and many thanks to Bob Cordery for this observation) a very small 'footprint' on the tabletop. I am sure that most gamers have at some point moved trees around to facilitate movement of a unit and (trees do get in the way - rather like in the real thing I guess!) then have replaced them perhaps not as they were originally deployed (I am not suggesting any nefarious practices here either - just elastic positioning!). Well, using a tree with a small base size will help to alleviate that problem and these models certainly have that.

I will photograph them when completed but in a nutshell this is what I am currently working on. I have a supply of old style fibre rawl plugs which when cut into assorted lengths make very realistic looking tree trunks. These are glued to a 1p piece. A small hole is drilled into the underside of the Town in a Bag tree and piece of wire is then inserted and glued in the top of the rawl plug and the tree - to give a stronger join rather than just gluing the foliage onto the trunk. The 1p base is then  coated with PVA and coated with sand. This is then varnished and the sanding is repeated. I will then paint the base an earth brown colour and apply some of the Hexon base green flock so that they match the tiles I have. the tree foliage will be covered in some fashion but I am unsure with what at this stage. I realise that all if the trees will be vaguely Poplar-ish but that is not a problem as I am willing to bet most gamers have used the wrong trees in the part of the world they are representing at some point.

Simple and effective I hope and I should have the finished by the weekend time permitting.


joppy said...

Have you considered the old model railway style tree made from coathanger (or single core electrical) wire and coarse string?

Paul´s Bods said...

I also have first hand experience of the dreaded "plasic rot" A complete set of Airfix Sherrif of nottinghams men...nothing but lumps of cheese like plasic...!!!!!
The figs in front of the town..Risk?

Conrad Kinch said...

Not a bad little forest

David Crook said...

Hi Joppy,

I hadn't - but will certainly do so should the current experiment not work out!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

I was mortified when this happened - especially as I am probably the world's slowest and most reluctant figure painter!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi CK,

They are a neat idea and when used with my block armies will look just fine. I am hopeful that I can extend this to 15mm figures as well - no reason why not I suppose.

All the best,