Saturday, September 18, 2010

15mm Birch Trees - Part Two

It has taken me a bit to get around to finishing up this project. I had a couple of set-backs in the project trying to figure out what materials I had that would achieve the effect that I wanted but I finally came up with something that works. I have a tendency to rush through projects and make mistakes and have really had to fight those urges.


After painting and mounting the trunks as I showed in the first post I set to building the tree tops. I realize in retrospect that this might have been better done as step three but with the trees being as tall as they are, I don't think that the tops will get in the way of the final detailing of the bases and lower trunks.

In the pictures above, you can see the three main steps of the process. The first thing I did was to take a chunk of simple styro and to form it into a rough approximation of the general shape you want the tree tops to take. I got this idea off of the excellent Take The High Ground blog. I tried to keep in mind the extra volume that the clump foliage would be adding and made sure that the styro was big enough to anchor to the majority of the trunks without being so huge that they looked like some sort of bizarre Dr Seuss tree.

One the styro was shaped, I pressed it down on the tree trunks and then secured it with a little hot glue. If the initial piece of styro ended up being a bit small, one of the trunks was at an odd angle, or the styro broke, I would just shape up another smaller piece of styro and put it into the gap. This wasn't bad and actually added a bit more dimension to it. I may try to use several smaller pieces of styro and see how that works.

Attaching the foliage was the time consuming part. I used Woodland Scenics clump foliage and went around the styro hot gluing it with hot glue at random spots to begin with. This was done to keep the tree from looking too uniform and formulaic. After this, I then went around and filled in the gaps. There is a bit of artistry that goes into this and sometimes it was necessary to layer a bit. I found that a touch of superglue here and there was good for anchoring stray pieces of foliage. A light sprinkle of some shrub/bush clump foliage (the smaller pieces) worked well for hiding where this glue was placed.

I have to admit that I did not cover the entire bottom of the styro. I went far enough that you will not see it unless you pick it up and flip it over. You all know I like to keep my terrain as cheap as I can.

The ground cover on this was achieved using a blend of teas pulled from the kitchen cupboard. Nobody drinks tea in this house but we always seem to have it. It sits there ignored and likely growing old and tasteless, so I mixed up some of it and sprinkled it over a layer of white glue brushed to the base of the trees. I found that it was easier to paint the glue around the base of the trees after the tops was on. I had a place to hold it and it was much more stable.

Next posting on this will go into detailing the trees and some final thoughts on the project.

Take care,



  1. I would suggest painting the styro black undercoat, and then a dark green - cheap kids' poster paints work well for this - before glueing on the foliage. This means that any bits you miss don't stare out from the foliage in bright styro white.

  2. Amazingly enough, it doesn't show on the completed trees. I'll likely do it, just to be sure, but on the first two it didn't show at all.

  3. Once again, brilliant Eli. Simply brilliant!



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