Sunday, 25 October 2009

Making Wire Trees

Hello all! It's been a busy couple of weeks so the blog has had to take a break (It has been gaming related though, so expect a treat next week!). I managed to get both a game of Necromunda and Warhammer Fantasy played yesterday against Matt. I won Necro and Matt won WFB so all was good, however, it was Matt's first game of WFB so it probably counts double!

This week I thought I'd show you all how I make trees. This is a very common method and you can find lots of variations of it on the internet, but here's how I do it:

Materials Required
150cm of Thin Wire (I use florist's wire, but any wire slightly less than 1mm thin will do)
Two part modeling putty (I use Milliput, you can use greenstuff, but you use a lot so it can work out a bit expensive)
Sand or Gravel
Flock or other vegetation for detailing
Thin Plywood (2mm) or plasticard

Glue gun (or strong thick glue; superglue and PVA are not suitable).
Wire Cutters
Sharp knife/Saw
Sculpting tool


Step 1 Cut and Bend wire
Cut the wire into six or seven equal length strips. Bend each length in half and twist it around itself, leaving a loop at the bottom and two small, separate branches at the top.

Step 2 Form the Trunk
Taking your twisted wires, twist them around each other to form a trunk for the tree with the branches coming out of the top. Make sure that the loops at the end of each twisted wire are at the bottom of the tree as these will be stuck to the base and covered when finished. Bend the branches out at the top of the tree to make the desired shape.

Step 3 Attach to the base
Cut out a small base from the plywood or plasticard and attach your tree using hot glue or epoxy resin. You need a strong, thick glue at this stage, so superglue or PVA is not suitable.

Step 4 Texture the Tree
Add Milliput or plaster over the whole of the tree and base. Smear it on, then create some rough lines with the edge of a knife or sculpting tool down the trunk to represent the bark. At this stage you can also roughly texture the base as well.

[EDIT: Jimborex from The Miniatures Page suggested using Caulking or Mastic to cover the wire. This is more flexible than Milliput so will not break off as easily if damaged. It may not take the detail as well, but hey, all engineering's a compromise]

Step 5 Basing
When the putty or plaster has fully dried, add gravel or any basing materials you wish and leave to dry.

Step 6 Painting
Spray with the primer of your choice then paint brown (or grey for a desolate look). All that's then needed is a light drybrush to bring out the texture.

Step 7 Finishing touches
If you wish you can add leaves to the tree (many specialist flocks are available) or just leave bare. Flock the base as desired.

So there you go, one easy to make tree. This is a very simple design and has much room for improvement or experimentation. You can make these as large or small as you like, in small batches or large forests. Have a play, experiment and let me know how you get on. As always, photos are welcomed and I'll even post them on the site if you fancy! Happy Gaming.


Faolain said...

I was trying to figure out how best to seal up the wire, caulking sounds like a great option. I shall give that a try.

Dave said...

Let me know how you get on!