Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Tree Canopies, 1: Shaping Them Up

I am bored with the rubbery lichen I was using for woods as I only have two colours, a very Autumnal coppery brown and a light green. The former isn't applicable to the Continent in early May and lichen isn't even very practical.

Tank barrels and figures invariably get tangled up when lichen is lifted off the models and the stuff is starting to fall to bits anyway.

I didn't want individual trees on weighted bases or something denoting a wood but was very impressed with the efforts of gamers who have modelled the entire tree canopy which lifts off en masse to gain access to miniatures underneath.

The Mailed Fist's "Hungry Legions" game at Joy of Six 2015

The Terrain Tutor, among others, uses rubberized horsehair (used in upholstery), teased out into tree shapes and fitted to armature trunks for larger scales but I was pretty sure it would be cuttable into tree canopies for 6mm.

A visit to Graham Watson upholsterers in Sleaford netted a 30cm x 90cm offcut of rubberized horsehair for just a few quid. It's £4 for a 12" square on eBay!

Cut to shape
Cut off whatever shape you want for the wood. One side of the horsehair had a slightly denser look so this will be the underside as it won't snag miniatures as easily. I may even glue a sheet of card discreetly underneath.

Trim off corners

Then I trimmed and rounded off all the edges to make the top vaguely dome-shaped.

Cutting channels
Although the crown of the canopy was looking pretty good it was a bit too smooth and needed a few undulations. I tried gluing bits of horsehair onto the top but it looked like...there were some bits of horsehair glued on top. Instead I cut channels in from various angles to create the variations in growth that I wanted.

Cutting the undulations

Then smoothed out and rounded off all the flat cut edges once again. The canopies will be painted in some way and probably be flocked overall a darkish green with a lighter green on the upper areas for highlights.

Tree trunks will be removable tiny twigs from the garden (or possibly cocktail sticks) which could be inserted at an angle if the wood is going to be on a slope.

Tree canopies ready for decoration