Saturday, 15 December 2012

Making birch trees

I have been looking through several sites, researching the best ways to make scenery - or at least effective and relatively simple ways of making good looking scenery. Through one of my searches I came across a nice method for making birch trees (the tutorial was for trees in winter that were leafless but it would be easy enough to convert them to summer trees). I liked the idea of having trees that had nice white trunks and would contrast nicely with the green tabletop. Plus they would be something different to the regular trees you always see. So I set about making my very first trees. Ever. Crazy to think that I have been involved with the Warhammer hobby for over 20 years and have never made a tree. Turns out these were dead simple to make.

The materials needed were as follows. A bundle of florists wire, some florist tape (white), white spray paint, black paint, modelling clay, large metal washers, reindeer moss and your regular basing materials.

Step one is the build the trunks of the trees out of the florists wire, wrapping it with the florists tape. Take 2 or 3 lengths of wire and wrap the tape tightly around the wire, then add another length of shorter wire once you have wrapped the tape about a quarter of the way down the original length of wire.Wrap the tape around this new piece of wire and around the rest of the trunk. Keep adding new wire to form the branches of the tree till you are satisfied.

Once you have the trunks of your trees made (I made mine to several different lengths for variety) spray the whole lot white. Let the trees dry then paint on the distinctive bark patterns that birch trees have. Some simple black paint is all that is needed to make these makings.

Now you need to build up your bases. Using the large metal washers to from the bottom of the base you then build up the roots and ground the tree stands on with the modelling clay. Put the clay aside to harden and pluck out chunks of the reindeer moss.  This stuff is great and makes for fantastic foliage.

Add the reindeer moss to the tops of your branches, gluing them in place as best you can (although they do seem to stay fast just by feeding the wire through the moss).

Now all that is left is to base your trees to match your gaming table. I based a few of the large trees with a smaller tree on the same base for added variety. Then add them to your gaming table and enjoy! :)

It is probably a good idea to spray the trees with a matt varnish as well to protect them as much as possible. I haven't done this yet. I have to say I am very impressed with my first foray into scenery making, now for some more bits and pieces, hedges and walls I think. More trees will need to be made, but for these I think I will go with a more traditional brown barked tree.


  1. not seen this technique before... very impressive. I shall definitely be having a go at this method!

    1. It really is very very easy. Took me a couple of evenings to produce this set of trees. Everything up to the basing was done in a single evening.

  2. Nice work! Very convincing! One problem I've always had with store-bought model trees is that they tend to be very short, so that my troops look like they're maneuvering through a Christmas Tree farm...this looks like a very viable solution...thanks for sharing! Think I will try this someday soon!

  3. Very nice! How would I go about making fall foliage?

  4. Very nice! How would I go about making fall foliage?