Since shortly after Test of Honour was released in 2017, I’ve had some suitable model trees squirrelled away and now that I’ve lined up a few games, I got a selection of them out and based them up ready for the table.
Cheap scale model railways trees are widely available on eBay, often coming from China or Hong Kong with free or very low cost shipping worldwide. The same models are generally available from a variety of sellers so it’s worth checking who is currently selling them in the quantities you require.
Links to the ones I bought are below but if they no longer work, search for the descriptions as they seem to regularly pop up again.
5.9 Inch Scenery Landscape Model Tree Japanese Maple
Approximately AUD 2.50 each
20 x HO scale Model Trees – Cherry Blossom (NOT SHOWN)
< AUD 1.00 each
28mm wargames models are around 1:56 scale so the model railway scales you should be look for are generally any of HO (1:87); S (1:64) or O (1:45). Don’t be too put off by the variety of scales as real trees vary in size considerably and smaller models can just represent immature specimens.
All these styles of trees have a wire trunk with no base so won’t stand up on their own. Railway modellers often poke these wires through their boards to fix them in place for a static display but for wargames we’re going to need to mount them on some sort of base so they can be placed on a table and moved around. Personally I like to use 40mm and 60mm round lipped bases from Warlord Games to ensure a consistent size and because they have a low profile and won’t warp or bend when textured and painted. The consistent size is important for me as I like to produce sabot bases for groups of trees (more on these in a future post)
The basing process is described below – be aware that’s potentially quite messy so I’d avoid the dining room table if possible.
You’ll need some trees, a small pair of round-nosed pliers, a two-part putty like Milliput or Green stuff and some basing materials. See another recent article for more details of my usual basing method.
- Spread out the branches of the tree and ensure the trunk is relatively straight. Don’t worry about making everything totally uniform and don’t panic when a load of the foliage material falls off everywhere!
- Use some small round-nosed pliers to rub off any paint from about the bottom 1cm of the trunk (a little more if the tree is particularly tall)
- Use the pliers to fan out the exposed wire from the trunk as evenly as possible
- Put some of the mixed putty on the base, press it in and spread it out a bit (I used some Gale Force Nine Grey Stuff I had to hand)
- Firmly press the fanned wires from the end of the trunk into the putty
- Allow at least 4 hours for the putty to dry (check the instructions for your particular putty)
- Cover the wires, putty and rest of the base with some texturing material and leave to dry (I used Reeves Coarse Texture Gel)
- Brush the base and exposed wires with acrylic primer
- Paint with acrylic paints (I used Kaisercraft Raw Umber as the base coat then drybrushed with Mud puddle and Mocha)
- Flock the base but leave most of the area of the wires bare in order to represent roots (I used a 50/50 mix of Army Painter Spring Grass and Grass Green flock)
- Decorate with any tufts, stones, or other details as you see fit
- Seal with two coats of matt varnish spray, including the foliage at the top of the tree (I used Army Painter)
Next I’ll put together some bamboo groves to add a bit more variety to my Test of Honour tables.