Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Cherry Blossom

Hi all

About 3 weeks ago, I was idly surfing the inter-webs looking for nothing in particular when I came across a picture of an Asian- themed terrain board for a samurai skirmish game that for the life I can't remember...  but the board, man the board was beautiful.  Star of the show was some cherry blossom trees which were just perfect, certainly perfect for my Bushido boards!  So I set forth with my feeble web-fu skills to see if I could find some suitable trees.  After a frustrating hour or so, all I could find were architect's trees that would have set me back £9 each - no way! 

However not to be deterred I turned to the dark side and fired up e(vil)Bay and found a supplier in China that would sell 10 for £4.23, whats more P&P was free!  Now I was very cynical indeed.  Although I bought my excellent bamboo from China I had also bought some model trees that were the size of shrubs (relatively speaking). But at that price I thought it was worth a punt, so I clicked "Buy it Now!" and forgot all about them.  

Fast forward to this week and a package from China arrived in da Grotto.  Still fairly cynical I opened the pack and was very, very pleasantly surprised to find some proper sized trees...


The trees are twisted wire trunks and covered in a filler (spackle) type coat and flocked with a mix of green, white and pink sponge and they measure a good 9-10cm high.  Shipped flat they just require a little tweaking to open the wires up to produce a good spread of branches and limbs.


When you do tweak out the limbs, I suggest putting some paper down as they did shed quite a bit of the foliage! Thats ok though as they have loads, probably too much as they expect some to come off at this point.  Once I unpicked mine to the point I was happy, I collected the excess foliage and popped it to one side for later use, as you can see there was quite a bit....


I then mounted the trees on bases, I wanted two different types of bases, some smaller ones so that they would fit in tighter spaces and some standard sizes for woodland areas etc.  Too hand I had 4x 30mm rounds which I added a 2p piece on top of for some extra weight/stability and 6x 60mm rounds. So out came my hot glue gun, I suppose I could have pinned them for extra support but there really wasn't any need as the next step would provide all the support I really required.  Inspired by a video by the terrain guru that is Luke Fellows (which you can watch here) I used the hot glue to layer at the base of the tree to give it some more stability and then drag the gun toward the edge of the base to create a root network.



Next I covered the base and the bottom of the tree where the hot glue has been with a homemade "Stirland Mud" type textured paint, again masterminded by guru Fellows (video is here) I've coloured my paint to match my Temple board but you can colour yours however you like.


I then colour matched the trunk with a mix of browns and black and painted over the textured paint and drybrushed the earth and flocked the bases to match my usual style.  I didn't use too much grass as it doesn't grow well at the base of trees as the tree is generally taking all the nutrients...



Obviously during all of this the trees were shedding foliage, which I dutifully collected so now it was time to seal the trees.  I could have done this at the beginning to prevent further loss but to be honest it was such a minimal loss it really wasn't a problem and I wanted to seal the base flocking too.  Before I did that though I wanted to use up some of the lost foliage, again I could have used some PVA and glued it back onto the branches but they were looking pretty healthy so instead I scattered some of it onto the bases to represent the falling of the blossoms that have inspired so much Haiku.

散る桜心の鬼も出て遊べ

cherry blossoms fall--
come out and play
devil in me!

now it's time to seal all of the good stuff in, so outside I dutifully went in the subzero temps with my spray bottle of PVA/water mix and sprayed the trees/bases until they were sodden.  I then popped them on some greaseproof paper (waxed paper, baking sheets - whatever you call them) to dry.


and voila




I still have a bit of the blossom foliage to play with for other terrain pieces.  So there you have it 10 cherry trees for any Asiatic terrain board for £4.23, the cost of some bases (which I already had) and the investment of a morning's work.  I'm think of buying a few more but 10 will do for most Bushido boards however if they've got some other colours that will pass for autumnal trees of even some decent green ones to pass for most deciduous trees then I think for such a paltry price I might just splash out...

hope you enjoy
dGG


42 comments:

  1. Very nice additions to your scenery Andy, they look very good after all your added effects

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  2. Great article! Love the "roots" idea, with the hot glue!

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    1. Thanks Kevin (and thanks for commenting) I can't take credit for the roots idea, that was a tip from Luke's APS and a corker it was too!

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  3. Realistic and wonderful job, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Cheers Bryan, I think they look the part ;-)

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    1. They turned out well Martin. It's a Chinese company on eBay

      http://stores.ebay.co.uk/gogouptoop?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

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  6. Always good to have some more scatter terrain and at that price, well worth the extra effort to make them stand out (and up). I DO need some of these for when I venture back to the Orient later this year. Very nice work, Andy.

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  7. These are superb Andy and love the way that you have based them, consider the idea stolen! The Table top Gaming Club are eying them up as I write this and are all impressed.

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    1. I'm flattered Michael, steal away mate

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    2. Trees ordered! Just hope that they turn out as well as yours.

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    3. I've no doubt of that at all mate ;-)

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  8. Awesome stuff Andy. They look so atmospheric you'd think you'd grown them!!

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    1. Thanks Simon, I'm really pleased with them. They'll see quite a lot of action tomorrow as Damon and I have a whole day of Bushido ahead of us!

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  9. Very nice like the basing idea with the glue gun to make the roots will have to use this myself I have a stack of green ones todo.

    Sealing now this is what had me holding back. What sort of ratio PVA/Water are you using. I'd read to use Hairspray and others dipping the trees in a bowl of PVA/water. But the Sprayer has me intrigued.

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    1. It's a roughly 1 part Pva to 2 or 3 parts water in a spray bottle I got from Poundland. Soak the trees with the spray, you can always repeat if necessary. Make the Pva as thick as you can get away with and it still spray finely.

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  10. They look great.

    Have you thought of adding more of the loose blossom to the bases? There are cherry trees around our estate, and that stuff gets everywhere!

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    1. I've got a little left Kieron, but I might just get some more from the stockist as the foliage is only £1.20 for a packet. I might have to buy more trees from them too!

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  11. More awesome terrain Andy, these look the business!

    Cheers Roger

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    1. Not bad for less than a fiver Roger ;-)

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  12. Those look very convincing. I too think a little more scattered "petals" on the bases would look better though.

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    1. Fair enough Dai, I might have to buy some in though :-)

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  13. Most excellent! Truly, these are simple, yet very, very effective.

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    1. Thanks C6 they really look terrific on the table

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  14. They look excellent, well worth the little extra effort.

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    1. Thanks Joe, I'm so pleased with them. I wish I could find autumnal shadings but the Chinese ones are bright orange

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  15. Wow. They look brilliant. A fine addition to your already superb tables!

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    1. Thanks Gordon, I'm really, really happy with them

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  16. These turned out really well dGG. I like how you based them! Very clever.
    On a side note, my wife and I are flying to Kyoto this year just to see the cherry blossoms. I can't wait!

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    1. Cheers Rod. That sounds amazing, I've always wanted to go to Japan but my wife won't get on a plane for more than a few hours

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  17. Thanks for this! I've bookmarked this post for future reference.

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