Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Building a forest

As [mentioned before](, we're going to do an Arnhem game for this year's [Crisis]( convention. The basic distribution of tasks is that Alan does the miniatures and I do the terrain.

I'm going to do a series of articles on the terrain building in the future, but I want to focus now on an important part of it: trees. You see, a lot of the action in the Arnhem battle was focused not in Arnhem itself, but several miles to the west of it, in the vicinity of Oosterbeek, Wolfheze and Heelsum, and that general area is quite heavily wooded. Hence, the terrain features *a lot* of woods, and I need *a lot* of trees.

After some experimenting, I've gone the [Woodlands Scenics]( route. Woodlands Scenics is a producer of excellent (albeit a bit on the expensive side) of terrain materials, aimed at the upscale model train enthousiast, but that does not stop one using their stuff in miniatures tables, of course. I'm using their tree kits, ordered from [EC Scenics]( in the UK (which I can recommend). The kits consist of a bunch of plastic tree armatures and several bags of 'clumpy foliage', a kind of clumpy foam flock, which serves admirably as leaves for trees.

The process is simple: take an armature (I got the ones that range in size from just under an inch with two measly brances to 3" big ones with a multitude of main and side brances), twist the brances in a convincing treeish shape (anything will do, really), liberally apply glue (preferably one that does not dry too quickly and needs only to be applied on one of the two surfaces to be glued, and not white glue -- I use [Pattex Contact Glue](, although that does need to be applied to both tree armature and foliage, which is awkward -- ["Krachtlijm"]( would be better) and stick foliage on. Finished. The tree armatures come with tiny bases, which I don't use -- I stick the trees directly into the terrain board (polyurethane isolation board).

To get a rough idea of what this looks like, here's a shot of my first trial setup:

![Woodlands Scenics trees](/snv/ttm/pics/trees.jpg)

Note that this is just some trial trees, the forest in question has now been enlarged significantly (I'll try to post pictures later). These specific trees are also ready made from Woodlands Scenics. I bought a few packs of these to see what the trees should look like, but they're not really worth the expense -- the ones you make yourself from the basic materials are just as good if not better.

In case you're wondering -- that's a part of the forest between the landing zone for 1st Airlanding Brigade northwest of Wolfheze and Ginkel Heath, the drop zone for 4th Parachute Brigade. The road is Amsterdamse weg, one of the three main routes used by the British on the way to Arnhem.

More to follow.

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