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Those Blasted Trees

dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP writes:

Just my opinion but I think the tree branches should be broken, hanging down. More branches laying on the ground, stumps with the trees fallen and the stumps should not be smoothly cut but jagged.

Wow. Didn't notice I was off by a mere 8 freakin' years. Never mind.


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8 April 2013page first published

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

I was recently toying with the idea to play some of Lock 'n Load Publishing's World at War WWIII boardgame scenarios as miniatures games.

I was also thinking about getting out my old GHQ Terrain Maker hexes and refurbishing them. (For those of you who don't know, Terrain Maker is a terrain system that uses 4" hexagons.)

One problem: The scenarios called for some areas of "Shattered Forest," which were depicted as skeletal trees and bushes in disturbed ground. So, how to make it?

With Terrain Maker, my preference is to make the different terrain types clearly visible, so players aren't having to guess which terrain type their pieces are in. I'm also experimenting with making the trees removable from the hexes, which makes it easier when moving models around.

So I built two prototype terrain hexes - one plain, and one with a river. I sank holes into them, into which the trees could be inserted later.

Plastic needle cover

I'm always looking for ways to reuse rather than discard, so what I did for the "tree holes" was use plastic needle covers (which I can easily get my hands on). I hand-drilled the holes, added white glue, then pressed the needle tips into place. The tips have a lip around the top, so when the glue was dry, I came back with paintable caulk and (sort of) leveled the surface around the holes.

Tree holes

I kept things simple for the terrain treatment - I painted the hex grey, let it dry, coated it with a sticky-type terrain glue, and then dipped the hex into a container of grey sand. I then sprayed the finished hex with a watery-type terrain glue. I then applied a faint black-ink wash, and a little drybrushing with grey.

Finished terrain hexes

On to the Trees!

I had thought the trees would be simple. My concept was to take some wire, twist it up, bend out some "branches," and coat it with some glue to add body.

Either I've no talent for this, or I have the wrong type of wire, as this just didn't work. The wires fell apart, they didn't look right, or they didn't fit into my tree holes.

On to version two: I used some thin aluminum tubing for trunks, twisted wires as branches and inserted them in the top of the tubing. I then coated the trees with glue, painted them black, and drybrushed some grey on them.

Finished trees

Trees in place

Trees, Another Try

I didn't like my new trees, and the branches didn't stay in place very well... so on to a new plan.

This time, I bought some inexpensive "tree bodies" from Woodland Scenics. These are greyish plastic, and though they are two-dimensional, the idea is that you twist the branches around to make them three-dimensional.

Again, I painted the trees black, and drybrushed them with grey.

The trees ended in pegs for inserting into the ground, but there were different sizes, and none fit my "tree holes" very well. Therefore, I cut some aluminum tubing and superglued it over the pegs on the tree bottoms.


Trees in place

Trees in place

Trees in place

I think this will work OK.