Thursday, 10 December 2009

Scenery for 1/300th scale: Trees

These are my various efforts at making trees and woods for 1/300 scale microarmour. The first picture is some pine trees. A few years ago I discovered a discarded plastic christmas tree in a skip and rescued some of it (not a very popular move with the wife!). As a result I have loads and loads of plastic christmas tree branches. I tried cutting them down to various sizes, including these which I think make very passable 1/300 scale pine trees.

These are a variation on what you can do with the aforementioned christmas tree 'trimmings'. In this case I've glued the trimmed branches the other way up, dipped them in glue and then dipped them in modelling flock.

Again, I'm not displeased, but have to confess that the amount of work trimming the little plastic branches to the right size/shape is pretty time consuming for one tiny tree and it was fairly clear that it would take many, many more hours to get a decent number of trees to represent woodland.

Down at my old club, Rob mentioned that he had made some 15 mm trees using some discarded upholstery foam he had scrounged from work. He used screws covered in putty for the trunks and coloured and flocked the foam which he attached with superglue from the local Pound Shop.

I thought I'd give the idea a spin for both 15mm and 1/300 scale. I didn't have upholstery foam, but an expedition to the Pound Shop produced a big bag of foam washing up sponges. They were in different textures of foam and different colours, both of which turned out to be an advantage.

I ripped up the foam sponges, trying as hard as I could to remove all straight sides/edges. I then got an old 2 litre ice-cream container and squirted artists acrylic into it, and added water, stirring and adding more paint until I got a darkish green. I then chucked in the ripped up sponges, stirred them around with my fingers until I was sure they were completed saturated. I left them a few hours, then squeezed them out and put them on a tray covered generously with kitchen paper and put them in a dry place for about a week. I varied the paint colour a little with a second batch. The fact that the original washing up sponges came in different colours also worked to my advantage as they dried different shades of green depending on the base colour, while the different textures helped to.

I tried making a few individual trees, but quickly realised that it was far easier to make a whole tree 'canopy'.

I also cut out some irregular bases with a jig saw from 2mm MDF and stuck several screws on each one with superglue. I found window putty the cheapest type down the local hardware store, but it takes a while to harden, but as I needed to wait for the sponges to completely dry out too, I didn't mind. I covered the screws in putty and left them for a week. Then painted the lot brown and applies some flock and static grass to the bases.

Finally, when the sponges were completely dry I assembled the tree stands, using cheap superglue to stick on bits of sponge onto the screws. It took a bit of arranging to get each clump looking right, usually achieved by sticking small scraps of a different colour on to a larger bit until they gave the impression of being several different trees close together.

I considered flocking, but at this scale, particularly the dark green shade looked very good without it. Overall, I was very pleased with the result, and I made far more 'wood' far more quickly than trying to make one tree at a time.

This is the whole lot...enough for lots of 1/300 woods on the tabletop when spread out

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