I made a slew of simple forests years ago, trying out different techniques. I tried the armatures from Woodland Scenics, gluing the bases to a piece of wood and plugging a pin into the trunk so the trees could be removed during play.
For those who don’t know, forests in Warmachine/Hordes are passable, but slow your models’ movement. The trees aren’t interactive; they merely mark the base as a forest. You could have one, two, or a dozen trees in the forest base, and you just move them out of the way for models.
I’ve solved the issue of having moveable trees by plugging the trunks into 40mm and 50mm circular bases with a hole drilled in the middle. The trees are based with the same flock pattern I used for my models.
I’ve used plywood bases, with flock or vinyl grass, and I’ve used plastic. The wood warped over time (it took around 5 years and a cross-country move), and the plastic just didn’t look right to my eye. It’s time for new bases.
I decided to try out MDF. The stuff they have here is rough on one side and smooth on the other. I’m not sure which side is best for gluing and texturing. Should the smooth side of the MDF go on the top of the terrain, or bottom? Since the whole thing is kind of an experiment, I’ve decided to do some face up and others face down.
Gluing is easy enough – just smearing around some PVA with a wet brush. After that, a quick dusting of sand/sawdust/ballast mix.
Paint it up!
Because my new mix isn’t pre-dyed like the woodland scenic flocking is, these require paint. First, they’re primed with spray black and white. Then comes the paint. I’m using craft paint and a little Vallejo. The craft paint is a basic black, brown, green, followed by Vallejo Model Color “German Camouflage.” A second coat of 50% watered glue keeps it from flaking.
The paint job looks good, initially but has a slight problem. It doesn’t match my trees.
What to do about the mismatch?
I asked the internet, and got mixed results. Some just “liked” the post, others gave actual advice. One idea was to leave the trees as is, but I don’t think they really give the illusion of a dense forest. Another solution involves finding the right mixes of pre-made flocking and dusting the base to make it look more like the tree bases. Finally, someone suggested painting the tree bases to make them look like the new bases. That’s the one I chose.
Overall, this seems like it works well for my needs. I think the bases that are smooth side up look better. Maybe the rough side up could have used a little more material on top. But I also think the rough sides absorbed the glue water a little more than the smooth sides. In the future, I will work smooth side up. I wasn’t sure about the coloring, until I looked at some pictures I’ve taken in the deep woods. The over-crowded, dense forest is what I’m going for here, and this scheme works.
Next step will be to treat the rest of my trees in the same manner as these. I’m going to spray paint the main shades, and dust the bottom with a little German camo to make the tree bases blend in with the forest. I may add a little extra brown (like the tree on the left side of the above picture) because that’s what happens to pine needles.
Next week, I’ll go over some water features, and following that acid pools. Then… who knows? Walls again? Revisit my trenches? Maybe some rocks. I don’t know. I’ll figure it out in a week.
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