Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Part of a great tabletop wargaming experience is the cinematic moments, so to speak. Seeing an exchange of musketry, or a flash of swords, or a tank trundling through a field in your imagination as the game unfolds is a large part of what draws a lot of us to miniatures based games.
Enhancing this immersion is easy to do. All it takes is some terrain. A house, a fence, a few trees in place on the game table will make it that much easier to turn your imagination free.
So today, let’s talk trees…
There are quite a few options out there for pre-fabricated trees, they can be a little on the pricey side if your game table needs many. But good news everyone! Trees are easy to make!
Start with a short length of dowel rod, or like I have done, use some cheap BBQ skewers available at your local big box store in the kitchen supplies department. Using inexpensive floral wire, twist together several long strands and start wrapping the skewer. Branch out every once in awhile with a few strands, to make… well… branches…. Go with the flow and just wrap the wire until it looks right. You’ll love how easy this is to do.
Once the skewer is nicely wrapped in wire, you can gently break it to give your tree trunk a more natural bend. I suggest about 1/3rd of the way up the trunk.
But it looks like some kind of metal monstrosity from a cyberpunk horror world, you say….
Not for long, I say!
Get yourself a disposable cup of some sort and some cheap white glue, Elmers or the like. Mix in some saw dust. I get mine off the garage floor after doing some woodworking. So, I’m sure everyone has a source for sawdust whether its from your own woodworking projects or a friend’s.
Coat the trunk and branches with the mixture.
Now shoot it with some black spray primer. If you want, you can hit it with a little gray dry brush to create some highlights.
Now comes the polyfil. You know, the stuffing stuff that crafters use to fill up pillows or teddy bears or whatever. A little goes a long long way. A small bag of polyfil will make tons and tons of trees. I like to use Aileens Tacky Glue for this next step, but super glue works too.
Pull off thin puffs of polyfil, add some of the glue to the branches and just blob on little tufts to the branches. Once the glue is dry and you are happy with the shape, I usually hit it with a little more black primer.
It’s starting to look like a tree, don’t you think? But next a little of 1980s big hair magic enters the picture.
Buy yourself a big can of the cheapest hairspray you can find. I like to use Aqua Net… Two or three dollars for a big can.
Liberally coat the polyfil with hair spray, and know that that smell you are smelling was what every High School smelled like in 1986.
Here is where the magic happens. While that hair spray is wet on the polyfil, you have a bit of time to work if you sprayed it on good and heavy, sprinkle some basic static grass over the entire tree.
I like the Dark Green Static Grass from GaleForce 9.
Shake off the loose grass. Spray it again with more hairspray and reapply the static grass. Do this as many times as you like, until you are happy with how it looks. Then one last spritz of hairspray to seal it.
Now you can add it to your board. I usually attach the tree to a large heavy washer so the tree can be placed on the table and easily moved.
So, next time you want to add some forests to your game table, take a try at making your own.