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Author Topic: Dr Mathias's Arboreal Extravaganza - Gnarly Old Tree Added 5/10/13  (Read 133255 times)
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Dr Mathias
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« on: May 09, 2012, 08:27:57 PM »



I've received some inquiries into my methods for making trees, bamboo, grass, etc. so I thought I'd begin a tutorial thread.


Contents, linked:
Jungle Trees
Orchids
Bamboo
Flowering Trees
Gnarly Old Trees

 
Jungle Trees



I wanted to produce some massive rainforest trees for my dinosaur hunting games. I did some research and settled on trees that have 'buttress roots' around the base- wide, stabilizing structures on a mostly straight trunk.

I started with a hardboard (Masonite) base, a plastic PVC pipe cut to length, and the scrap remnants from the bases for the buttresses. These were spaced around the trunk semi-randomly. I needed extras which I made out of foam core (the trees have more than four buttress roots). I used two-part epoxy to glue them although a high temp hot glue would probably work as well and be easier.

After drying, I coated the trees with a liberal amount of glue and applied toilet tissue for a bark-like texture. One can also use paper towels but that is less pliable and the texture can appear more 'mechanical'. You can push the tissue around, add to it, whatever you want to build the shape and texture you want.  



Adding a bit to the base to provide a smooth transition to the forest floor.







Glue sand to the base. I use PVA (Elmers for this, now I use Gorilla) for gluing sand etc.



I attached a few strands of yarn to the sides to represent climbing vines, and gave the whole tree a base coat of dark brown. I use craft paint for this type of stuff.





Drybush with craft paint. I used Ceramcoat 'Toffee Brown' judging from the bottle in the picture. It's my go-to for brown highlight on almost anything terrain related including the bases on my miniatures.
I use a 50/50 mix of dark green and white glue for moss effect. Dab it on sporadically, where moss likes to grow, and sprinkle on some fine flocking. The flock I use is the sort of material used by model train enthusiasts. I gave the climbing vine a quick brush of mid/light green.



Static grass and foliage.



Last but not least I added a little cap on the pipe- a cut out cross section of a tree.



Here's a link to the tree ring file I made: http://shawncochran.com/matt/otherimages/treerings.jpg

Next up: The Canopy

« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 07:25:20 AM by Dr Mathias » Logged

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Dr. Mathias's Miniature Extravaganza
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2012, 08:35:03 PM »

That is a great header, never mind the very smart modelling skills on offer!  Smiley
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Dr Mathias
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 08:47:14 PM »

Jungle Tree Tops

Here is my method for the removable tops of my jungle trees. I don't think I would go this route again, although when massed on the table they look pretty nice.

I was at a state fair and saw a kid's 4-H project, a ghost made from cheesecloth. It was rigid and seemed like the method would work for me. Cheesecloth is a very loose, thin, light fabric acquired inexpensively at a fabric or sewing store.

I started by making some forms that I could drape wet cheesecloth on while it dried to shape. I used foam balls cut up and hot glued to paint cans.





Next step was to drape glue-soaked cheesecloth over the forms. I hoped it would provide a dense, drooping, moist-looking canopy. You can see some little strings and fibers I threw on just for the heck of it to try to break up the profile a bit. Let them dry. As I recall I had some problems with sticking to the balls. A intermediary layer of wax paper might help here.





I hot glued a cardboard tube into the hardened canopy. It is cut just short of being visible from the side when on the tree.







To paint the canopy I sprayed them really heavily with red-brown primer and green spray paint, and poured flocking/foliage over them multiple times while they were wet. This is the least fun part and I'm sure there are better methods than mine.







Some of the treetops have an odd fabric draped over the cheesecloth as an experiment. It was kind of web-like and green. I don't think it made much difference.

As you can see I did the trunks and canopy at the same time. As a stage dried on the trunks I moved on to the foliage. Actually, I had a third project going on as well, which I shall not yet reveal Smiley





I hot glued some plastic viney pod things to the underside of the canopy. I acquired these at Hobby Lobby.







Finished trees getting a really heavy spray coat of Plasti-Dip clear to seal everything on. Be warned this stuff imparts a slightly satin plastic feel to things, but is very tough. I use it on almost all my terrain for hardiness.



http://www.plastidip.com/home_solutions/Plasti_Dip

If you want to download all the images in one shot for some bizarre reason, here's a link to a zip file:
http://shawncochran.com/matt/otherimages/DrMathiasJungleTrees.zip

That's about it for jungle trees. Next up, orchids in pots.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 05:08:07 AM by Dr Mathias » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 08:48:02 PM »

Very nice. A similar process to how I do my large jungle trees, just smaller. Hadn't actually thought of scaling it down for other trees, looks good.

Edit: Ooh, I like the canopies, clever idea that. I'd prefer it to be a little more broken up than solid but a great start, just needs a little experimentation.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 08:52:58 PM by Dewbakuk » Logged

So many projects..... so little time.......
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 08:54:35 PM »

I'd prefer it to be a little more broken up than solid but a great start, just needs a little experimentation.

Agreed. Perhaps I'll make new tops for them someday, although I need to tackle a few other tree species first Smiley
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Dr Mathias
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 09:20:16 PM »

Orchids

Here's my method for orchids in pots, which I made for my Round 9 LPL entry. I will try to make some in the near future in their natural environment.



I used a short piece of electrical wire for the stems. I stripped off the insulation and twisted the thin inner copper wires, and unraveled them partway to make flowers with two or more offshoots. I hot glued the stem into a wooden bead, and sculpted leaves with greenstuff. Apparently Dr. Mathias prefers Phalaenopsis varietals...  

Then I carefully glued on three pieces of glitter for petals, in a triangular shape.



Finally, a small dab of GW's new 'Liquid Greenstuff' in the lower part for the reproductive bits of the flower.



Here's a horrible photo of the beads attached to brush ends with sticky poster tack so I could handle them easily and rotate them. This is how I quickly painted on the not-so-great woven texture to the pots. I was going to make them ceramic, but Mr. Laphroaig objected to the weight and his somewhat overbearing wife Lorna was forced to relent on this rare occasion.



Flowers painted as anything else. Orchids have five petals and I only glued on three, so I painted the left and right to look like two each.




« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 12:20:43 AM by Dr Mathias » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 09:27:36 PM »

 Shocked Shocked Shocked

Bloody great tutorials, Dr!
Superb!

Will be stealing the canopy idea, with small modifications, like adding some strings etc.

Thanks for posting!
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 09:32:41 PM »

This is an absolutely great tutorial, Mathias!
Especially when I was thinking on how I should do my large Redwood trees Smiley Had some thoughts, but your valuable tutorial has really pushed me in the right direction Smiley
So thank you!

I had to read one phrase twice before I got it the right way Laugh
Quote
I coated the trees with a liberal amount of glue and used toilet tissue

Cheers!
S
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 09:43:11 PM »


After drying, I coated the trees with a liberal amount of glue and used toilet tissue for a bark-like texture.


You coated them with used toilet tissue?  That's taking recycling a bit too far!

Seriously, this a a great tutorial - thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 09:56:16 PM »

Great ideas.  Love
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Dr Mathias
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 10:01:45 PM »

You coated them with used toilet tissue?  That's taking recycling a bit too far!

Thank you my fellows! Word order, and more importantly, word choice, makes all the difference. I shall modify the original text  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 10:10:12 PM »

 Love

Wow! I luv the way you made those tree trunks... especially the roots.

Nice tutorial, I'll have to give it try.
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 10:18:36 PM »

Those look great, I'll have to file this away for future reference as a couple of big jungle trees have been on the agenda for my jungle terrain for a couple of years now without me actually getting anything built!
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 10:19:11 PM »

Well, that's rather good  Love Love

Good idea and execution  Cool

cheers

James
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 11:36:48 PM »

Sorry... Glitter??? Mental, Dr. M! But genius as well. I never thought that glitter pieces are that big.

Beautiful work. I seriously adore the orchids.
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