Into the Woods

I like large wargame woods to be so thick with trees and undergrowth that you can’t see through them – and absolutely not like a neat display of lollipops. It’s not always possible to accomplish but I’m reminded when I take a stroll through woodland that with the clutter of the undergrowth, broken branches and shrubs that it’s always sensible to keep to the path! I’m also aware that plants (grass, for example) find it hard to survive under the shade of a tree. Also, I prefer a tabletop woodland – rather than an organised orchard – to display a sense of Nature’s random diversity. I gave a couple of standard railway modelling trees a bit of a rough-up by pruning a few branches to make them look a little less like lollipops. The branches were put aside to be used as undergrowth.
I cleaned up a handful of Woodland Scenics any-scale deciduous tree armatures (that come in packs of 114) – plastic tree trunks with wired branches that can be bent to shape; each plastic piece had one of those ugly mould circles that needed to be trimmed away. The armatures need to be stuck into their tree-trunk stand. I used Plastic Weld to cement them together but even with a liberal brushing I still had to disguise the join – with an improvised mix of ready-mixed coloured grout and white wood glue. After painting the tree armatures, I realised how much I enjoyed the next process. It’s very easy to create a natural looking tree by carefully sticking on Woodland Scenics foliage clusters, and it’s a relaxing pastime seeing an armature gradually begin to look like a tree. I used an adjustable contact solvent-adhesive – a little bit smelly but easier to use than a latex-based, wood or super glue and it remains flexible when it dries. The foliage pieces can be stuck on right away or when the glue is touch dry if the clump and the armature both have a dab of glue on them. Excess glue can easily be removed when dry. For-purpose glues are available but are said to remain tacky and never really dry. The Woodland Scenics tree armatures start off flat and no amount of bending really disguises their flat profile. I planned to try adding branches or see if I could use heat to reshape the armatures. I added a few Hornby wire foliage branches as saplings to the bases and to provide a semblance of undergrowth added some twigs, lichen, Woodland Scenics boulders, clump-foliage and foliage clusters, plastic aquarium plant pieces, static grass, sea grass, and Army Painter tufts, flowers, and ivy. It was my first serious attempt at deciduous tree bases for 10mm wargaming. It wasn’t that I didn’t use anything that I couldn’t use for larger scales but that I did try to stick with using just the smaller of the scenic materials I had.
A Gaugemaster- Noch tree with a couple of Hornby foliage branch saplings on a 50mm hexagonal base.