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Wood Elf Champion: Trees

Wood Elf Champion
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Suggested Retail Price
$10.50 USD


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29 December 2006page first published

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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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R Strickland Fezian of Null Horizon writes:

Making Sagebrush Trees

The bare tree armature

As this dried, I constructed the trees. The Sweetwater trees are made of a kind of sagebrush. I found them incredibly detailed and treelike, and they felt surprisingly sturdy.

Tree Branch Fibers (optional)

A pack of tree fibers

I followed the instructions that Sweetwater provided to make the trees. When I was ordering, I sprang for the optional "tree branch fibers." These ostensibly help you flesh out the tree and extend the branches. I knew they weren't necessary, and only got them because they were only a few dollars more and I didn't want to feel like I was missing anything. The idea is to paint matte varnish or glue on the ends of the tree branches, and then add tiny clumps of the fibers with tweezers and then tweeze them into place. I found this extremely tedious, and the results didn't convince me the time spent was worth it. On the second tree I skipped this step and I can't tell them apart!

Worth it? Hard to say

The fibers are still an interesting scenic material that I plan to experiment with, but for trees I don't really recommend them.


A thin netting of polyfiber for the foam to adhere to

This stuff has the feel of Halloween cobwebs, only it's black. You tease out a tiny amount into a thin netting, and then drape over the armature. The idea is to pull the stuff as thin as possible, since the advantage of these trees, the realism, comes from their airy quality, and all the negative space you're going to trap in the branches.


For the leaves, I used AMSI foam (which was recommended on the Sweetwater site). I've heard it's more realistic than the more easily obtained Woodland Scenics brand, but I don't have enough experience to comment.

I picked up the Light, Medium and Dark tree blends, which are a mix of colors and grit size. (I wanted to experiment with the vast array of other colors, but since there wasn't a full-service hobby store in my area, I was limited to guessing the colors and ordering on the internet.)

For these trees, I used the medium texture first, and then put the light texture on top in a second pass to give a highlighting effect. I sprayed the tree armature liberally with hairspray, then sprinkled on the texture over a bag. Once I was happy with the tree, I sprayed it with Krylon Crystal Clear varnish to help affix the foam and seal it.

When it was dry, I snipped away at the tree with a small pair of scissors to finalize the shape. (I kept the snipped portions to make tiny bushes later on.)

A completed tree