Wednesday, 20 January 2010

making trees

Ihave been asked to make some trees by a friend who is heavily into wargaming. His dedication to the hobby is incredible and goodness knows where he keeps all the armies and scenics which I know he has in abundance.

I have made some simple trees before, the "bottle brush" fir type, but matey wants olive trees for which the simple approach just wouldn`t work, so getting the thinking cap on, I decided to construct them from florists wire and Seafoam, a Guagemaster product.

I tried making one, holding a piece of wire in my big fat fingers, and found it quite hard to do. "PING", it suddenly hit me! I tie fishing flies and have this great vice for holding the hooks as I dress them, why not use it to hold the wire too, it then becomes so like fly tying that I took to tree making like the proverbial duck to water.

I also use a bobbin winder to hold the thread, and start by winding on some thread up to the end of the wire, setting it there with a drop of super glue. Next I take a piece of Seafoam from the tip of a frond, and this becomes the crown of the tree, and a couple of turns of thread secures it to the wire. I will have made up some of my "muck", a mixture of Polyfilla, PVA glue and acrylic paint for colour, and it is with this that I coat the thread for the trunk of the tree. The rest of the tree is just repetition using small pieces of the Seafoam, tying it down and coating with "muck" all the way to where I want to stop.

From here on, I build up the thicker trunk with thread , cover it with "muck", and dry it off with a hair dryer. I then scrape the green coating from the wire and solder it to a coin before finishing off with a root system, a spray of fixative and then a spray of green paint.
The photos show my fly tying vice and bobbin winder and the crown of a tree secured to the wire, and some trees at the stage where they are ready for having the trunks painted, the branches flocked and the bases finished off with scenic scatter etc.


  1. Here they are looking very good indeed! They will set a new standard for Olive trees in wargaming. I can't wait to lay my hands on them.

    When I have my olive grove completed, I've thought of an even more complex modelling task we can chat about....

  2. They do look much like the real thing, I've been a fan of your work for a while now. Ever since BRB showed me the Roman villas you made for him. Very good stuff indeed.

  3. That's good coming from Secundus, who makes a mean Beech tree himself!

  4. Very clever and the results are terrific.