Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tutorial: Making A Forest

A couple of weeks ago, I got the bug to make some terrain. I think it was all the Cryx infantry that was driving me a little was time to do something different.

I'm making this forest in the style shown at the back of the Warmachine rule book. Essentially, this is a forest template base with stands of multiple, moveable trees to facilitate unit movement through the forest as necessary.

I start with 1mm plasticard.

The large piece on the left will be the forest base template, while the three pieces on the right are the bases for the tree stands. Theoretically, the three tree stands fit nicely inside the bounds of the forest base template. As you'll see, practice is different than theory.

Because the tree stands will rest on top of the forest base template, I didn't want too much texture on the base. I used fine silica sand...the type found in aquarium shops for salt water tanks. This was sprinkled on top of white glue.

Skipping ahead a bit, here the forest base template is given the brown/orange/off-white paint treatment, and some watered down glue is then dabbed on to take the static grass.

Moving on to the tree stands, I glued several Woodland Scenic tree armatures to each tree base. Beforehand, the armatures are bent into the correct shape, and coated with a thin layer of acrylic texture gel to hide the join lines and give the bark a finer texture. Each one was sprayed black, brown and dark grey, and then drybrushed with light grey and given a wash of Reaper Brown Woodstain.

Each tree armature was bulked up with Woodland Scenic Foliage Clusters. This forms the main shape of each tree.

As seen here, each tree was then given an application of bits of Woodland Scenics Fine Leaf Foliage. This adds texture to the tree model and helps break up the clumpy shape of the foam clusters. Here, the tree bases have also been given the glue and sand treatment, and painted brown.

Drybrushing orange-brown and off-white onto the base sand brings out the texture, and just off to the right of the base you can see a pile of twigs I used to glue onto the tree stand bases to give the finished model a more natural and rustic look.

As you can see here, my plan to get three tree stands onto the template went awry due to the bulk of the finished foliage. No matter. The forest template now holds two moveable tree stands, and the third will form the basis for another template I'll do later.

'Til next time...


  1. Great looking forest, thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  2. Nice job. Any idea of the cost of these trees versus the pre-built trees you used in your MayDay game?

  3. Bob,
    Those trees were made by me a few years back using the same method (just not mounted on multiple stands). So...same cost I guess.

  4. Nice work Kevin. Your trees really do look the part.

  5. Nice tutorial. The trees look really smart. I like the way you've varied the "leaf" tone - they look perfect!

  6. They look great. Can I ask what you use to fix the woodland scenics foliage to the trees? In the past I bought some "Hobby Tac" but it didn't seem to work to well for me!?

    Also, how rigid are the finished articles? As in, do they benefit from a clear spray coat of some sort to help stop things falling off? I'm not only looking to replicate this sort of thing for trees, but also think that you could create quite convincing smoke plumes.

  7. Luis,

    Thanks for the comments. The foam and "fine leaf foliage" are attached to the armature with Tacky Glue...essentially a somewhat tack-ier white glue. Got it at Michaels. This glue takes about a day to dry, and is good at holding the Woodland Scenics stuff in place.

    In the past I've misted these sorts of trees with watered down white glue to hold all the fine bits in place better. This time around I just sprayed a clear flat over everything and called it a day. Essentially, these sorts of tree models will shed little bits of foam every time you use them...but they are so bulked out, that you can go for years of pretty regular use and they don't look much the worse for wear. Of course, you can always go back at a later time and glue in some more foliage if they start getting threadbare...but I haven't had to do that yet with models that are a couple of years old.

  8. I've always liked the way you paint trees/wood. Adding grey to the brown is something I never considered. Thanks for the great tip. It looks great.

  9. Nice tutorial :) I did a similar thing but had it so that the Woodland Scenic trees can be removed from their bases to place troops.