Due to a few requests about how I did my last pieces of scenery , the rock formations in the thread http://forums.megalith-games.com/showthread.php?tid=914
. So instead of just making a few more rock formations (which is something I intend to do later,) I have decided to make some larger bases of rock formations with trees on, the idea being that these would be classified as “woods” in my gaming board. This will of course use many of my rock formations with tree’s on them too, to make them useable within a gaming function as well as tightly packed to represent the more difficult ground of a wood I am using a layered system. I will explain what I mean by this as I go along, but for now lets look at the materials you will need for this project, breaking it down into each stage so if you want to just take it to a certain level of completion its laid out for you. If you a younger wargamer or modeler please get an adult to help as there are sharp tools ,hot tools and glues involved in this project.
Basing board and basic rock supplies.
Some sort of wood or other material flat board for the bases of the structures ( I used 3mm thick chip board.)
Southern pine bark Mulch (This is the main component for the rocks and is easily obtained at any garden centre.)
Twigs from any tree as long as they are an appropriate scale to represent fallen logs and tree stumps.
Wood saw/hack saw and some solid structure for sawing on as well as some mat or cover to catch any sawdust (just make sure you don’t go using the dinning table.)
Sand several sizes of sand is best.
Craft Hot Glue gun and glue sticks for it .(you could use PVA or super glue instead)
An old paint Brush.
Pencil or pen.
Mark out with your pencil the rough shape of the large wood base that you desire, it can be as big or small as you want , just remember the bigger the wood the longer its going to take you to build and paint. Once you have this mark out several smaller shapes, these are going to be your rock bases, I would recommend between three and five but of course this will vary with the size of your wood base. (NB if you are only building rock piles not a wood as well, skip making the wood base and draw out as many rock bases as you want.)
Once all are marked out, fix down your wood sections and saw round the shapes as neatly as you can, don’t worry if they are a bit rough as after all woods and rocks aren’t perfect circles. With your shapes cut out, smooth the edges out using your sandpaper making sure they are nice and rounded off so no one will get any splinters when moving the scenery around. In the end you pieces should look like the below picture, but no doubt a totally different shape.
Gather your bark mulch and find some interesting pieces, make sure the pieces are nice and dry.
This stage is a nice fun part, starting with a rock base place the bark mulch on top of the base any way you wish too, stacking it or leaning them against each other all will look great. Once your happy with all the rock bases you can glue them down into place. For this I used my craft hot glue gun, it provides a strong and quick bond (but you could use other glues PVA or UHU would be better then super glue due to the porous nature of the bark mulch,) do this for all your rock bases.
With your rock bases dry place them onto the wood base in any places you want too, mark around the rock bases with a pencil and number them if you want ,this just helps identify as you progress which rock base goes where especially as I was if you are making more then one wood at a time.
After you have marked on the wood base where your rock bases are going you can then set about placing a few bark mulch sections onto the wood base itself so that they don’t overlap the markings. Once done you can go back to the rock bases and wood bases and add some extra details such as smaller rock pieces from broken up bark mulch sections, maybe a few fallen logs or stumps from snapped twigs, these can be glued down with PVA or some other glue and set aside to dry. Below is a pic of one of the rock bases finished in construction.
This picture is of a whole wood base finished in construction while drying and shows a few different styles of rock formations used. If your only making rock bases of course this step would be skipped.
What ever you do don’t glue down the rock bases to the wood base, the layering effect I mentioned at the start means that while the wood has the rock formations within it during normal play as a model or group of models moves into the wood, the rock bases can be removed to give them space. With the right tools and skill you could saw or remove the wood below the rock bases to allow them to sit perfectly in the hole, but I actually prefer them to sit on the wood base.
Using an old brush, paint patches on near the rocks on your bases using a thin layer of PVA, these patches shouldn’t be too big, you can also make some patches elsewhere on the bases. On these patches of glue sprinkle a large sand grain to make the smaller rocks near your actual rock formations. Once that is done you can allow it to dry or if you are careful cover the rest of your bases in a thin layer of PVA glue, but do not cover the marked an numbered outlines of your rock bases on the wood base. Then on these area’s of PVA cover in a finer grade of sand, this represents actual dirt, allow to dry for a few hours if needed. After it is dry then you can move onto the next step which is an extra step which can be skipped if you want but I personally find it helps protect the model form the wear and tear of use, make up a PVA and water mix (a 2 parts PVA and 3 parts water is about right,) paint this PVA water mix onto the rocks and any twigs you have on the bases in a liberal coat and allow it too totally dry. This glue mix will soak into the bark mulch and help stop it from splitting as it is handled and painted.
Now with the bases all constructed its time to paint them.
Painting Material supplies.
Green and grey spray paint (I used army painters necrotic flesh primer for green and Halford’s grey primer, of course feel free to change the colour of your rocks if your wanting to do a different style such.)
Your normal painting kit.
For priming I used the green for the wood base and the grey for the rock bases, I did this mainly because of the ratio of ground to rock , so it would save me some brush painting time. Then once the primer is dry go in and paint up the other elements, use a wash if you want and or highlight/ dry brush to finish. The results should really be starting to come together now and look something like these pictures below.
You may notice that I put in some brown patches to the green of the grass, these are to represent paths or just area’s of revealed earth.
At this stage the project could be left and is perfectly playable, if your making it a wood just simply secure your trees to the rock bases and your good to go.
Still with me? well then lets get onto basic detailing then. This stage really helps to give the pieces some nice looks and is very playable with once its done, but it does start to require more components which need to be purchased. These finishing details are also very subject to the style of rocks and or woods you are wishing to build so the products I have detailed below are just examples that I have used.
Basic detailing supplies.
Pale green/yellow static flock.
Olive green undergrowth flock.
Mixed red/orange/green undergrowth flock.
A Pointed tool or cocktail stick.
Detailing is really all about doing it in layers to get a good effect, first off its best to get a good solid base so I used a thin coat of PVA glue all over the rock bases and wood bases green grass sections, taking care to avoid putting glue on the rocks and twigs ( I also covered the now painted over outlines of the rock bases on the wood base.) Then I sprinkled the pale green/yellow static flock all over the PVA , this will use a lot of flock and it is totally up to you how thick you layer it on, you can get a nice thin layer if you wish with patches of your painted ground colour showing through, or you can go for a really thick layer and lots of grass.
Once the base flock is dry then I moved onto painting on small patches of PVA in various areas on my rock formations and on my twigs, trying to keep the patches of glue to cracks and edges. Using the pointed tool I applied small amounts of the olive green undergrowth flock to the patches of PVA, following this I applied more patches of PVA in other cracks and joints of the rocks to which I added the mixed red/orange/green undergrowth flock. If this process is done correctly it looks very natural, as lichen and mosses grow on the rocks/twigs but tend to gravitate towards the cracks as thats where the nutrients gather in their highest concentration. When all this is done the results should look something like this.
and here is the the wood base finished to this stage.
As you can see at this stage you have a really nice look and is already at a high standard for gaming with.
Now we move into the realms of advanced detailing, this takes a while to do and requires a good eye for natural landscaping and/or research into what things actually look like. While you could just put things here and there and not really bother where they go it wont look as natural or as good, so its worth taking your time over it. Again the list below is just the list of supplies I used and is totally dependent on what look you are going for. Most of these supplies I got from woodland scenics and army painter.
Advanced Detailing supplies
Olive green clump foliage (this is for bushes and so needs to be medium size pieces.)
Yellow/green blended flock
Light green undergrowth flock
Yellow model field grass
Light green model field grass
Green poly fiber
Deciduous tree armatures
Light green fine leaf foliage
Light green grass tufts
Dark green/brown grass tufts
model poison ivy strands
Birch seed, leaf litter
tiny pieces of sisal rope
Drill and drill bit for fixing tree’s into place.
Sharp pair of scissors
Hairspray (a generic cheap brand will do as long as it doesn’t leave white residue, just don’t let the wife know you borrowed it.)
First of all I made up my tree’s ,one for each rock base. Before I glued the fine leaf foliage to the branches though I painted the tree trunks,washed them in ink and dry brushed them, just to give them a better finished appearance. The Fine leaf foliage was attached using super glue and lots of patience, it takes time to do this and its easy to skip this stage by using pre made tree’s or something bulkier then fine leaf foliage like clump foliage, but as the tree style I wanted was a very sparse spring looking tree it was worth it for the overall look. Once the glue is totally dry use your hairspray to lightly spray the fine leaf foliage attached to the branches, this is just to give the tree’s an extra level of hold and protection from general day to day life, they will still be delicate but any help is a help.
Set aside your tree’s and move back to your rock and wood bases, put pieces of your various colored grass tufts here and there and fix them securely using whatever glue you are happy with. Once your happy with your look of grass tufts move onto placing your birch seed leaf litter, I tend to dab each leaf in PVA then place it on the model it take longer to do this but the “leaf’s” tend to stick on the model better and don’t fall off two weeks later as easily, don’t go overboard on this leaf litter ,just a few here and there where leafs would gather from the wind will do just fine, unless of course your doing an autumn or winter wood then of course you will have a lot more leaf litter.
The next step requires some before hand prep work, of which I wont go into details of for now but if anyone wants me too I can in a separate how too post. But basically use your light green grass tufts and glue on sprinkles of various flock (pink, yellow, blue) let those dry and you have little tufts of flowers, also while they are drying cut down sections of the field grass into about 1cm -1.5cm tall sections and bundle them together into small piles, a dab of PVA glue on the end and time to dry and you have pre made tall grass clumps. Add both of these elements to your bases again keeping them in sensible area’s where they would naturally grow. For really tiny flowers on your ground flock you laid down in stage 5 simply get a stiff old brush of whatever size you like, dab the hard bristles into PVA glue and then onto the flock, lightly scatter one of your brightly colored flocks onto this and remove the excess, if done right this really helps set a nice variation in the model’s main grass (like small patches of buttercups or some other tiny flower in the grass.) You can even use this method on area’s of flock you have put on rocks/ tree’s to give different tones there.
Cut down sections of the green poly fibre and using super glue attach them to the underneath of some of your rock over hangs, this simulates hanging weeds and vines. You can also use your poison ivy strands glued to rocks and tree trunks to give a vertical element to your model as ivy tends to grow upwards more then outwards. PVA can be used again to glue down the Olive green clump foliage in various area’s to represent bushes and other larger ground plants. I also used small sections of the fine leaf foliage glued next to rocks and other larger elements to represent sapling/young tree’s growing within the woods. Along the woodland trails/paths or other earth area’s you can add small amounts of green undergrowth to break up the brown’s and make it look more as a naturally eroded walkway or animal run.
Just because I really wanted some fauna elements to the woods i made up a few to scale ravens and a squirrel in green stuff, painted them along with a birds nest made from small bits of sisal rope glued together and painted (These bits of rope where trimmings off the thatching roof sections of my round houses..I throw little away if I can think of a use for it.)
After that its a matter of drilling holes in your rock bases and or wood base to fix your tree’s into and glue those down and your done... stand back and admire. Below are a few pictures of the finished pieces, firstly without tree’s fixed then pictures with the tree’s fixed in, also there is one showing how easily with the layered system it is to switch the rock bases out so models can move through the forest.
1st is the main demo rock base without tree including a little squirrel.
main demo wood base with all its rock bases placed on it, without tree’s
close up of demo rock base with tree
main demo wood base with all rock bases with tree’s
Close up of another rock base complete with tree and Huninn and Muninn the raven’s with nest.
unit of Fjell Warriors moving down the woodland path of the second wood I have made.
Another shot of Fjell warriors but this time with some of the rock bases removed so they can traverse the wood.
If you got this far reading all the way down grats as its quite a lengthy process for the full thing . Well thats all I have for this project, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have and I do really like the results of it. I will be doing more projects in the future so keep an eye out and I hope that you will be seeing these terrain pieces featured in my battle reports soon.