Saturday, 8 November 2014

Making cheap wargames trees part 3

In this post I am not really making trees, but the magnetic bases on which the trees will stand. If you remember from part 1, the trees are based on 2p pieces, so I needed something with this size holes. My first port of call was the excellent warbases and I found that they did indeed make terrain bases. There are a number of sizes of base and hole to choose, though a 2p sized hole was not on their list. This is not a problem, if you ask them they will happily make the holes this size for you at no extra cost. You can also buy integrated "bottoms" too, but I don't need them.

My tray "bottoms" are simply strips of magnetic sheet superglued on to the mdf bases. I took the opportunity to use some of the offcuts I had accumulated from making movement trays. As you can see I did not attempt to cover the whole underside of the base, just enough to ensure each hole has a magnetic piece beneath it. When the glue was fully dried I simply trimmed off any excess. And that's it! I then flipped them right side up and added a little texture using small stones and sand in the usual way. I set them aside to dry overnight.

The next stage was to seal the texture. I mixed up some water and pva, to which I added a drop of detergent. Then I coloured this mix slightly with some earth colour. I applied this all over the bases with a big nylon brush - these can be picked up cheaply from art and discount book stores and are very useful for terrain work. Note that I have plugged the holes with (non-magnetic) 2p coins here, to prevent too much paint getting on to the magnetic sheet. After a quick blast with a hairdryer I applied a few more splodges of thinned brown craft paints, again picked up from bargain bins along the way to use in terrain projects. I kept this a bit random, though darker in the centre and around rocks was a general principle.

After another blast with the hairdryer it was time for the moment of truth. I knocked out all the non-magnetic coins, a couple had to be prised out as a little paint/glue had managed to seep in. This was easily removed with a bit of tissue. Then the magnetic based trees were popped in for the test. Two of these three trees actually stayed in with the base held fully upside down, the bigger (and thus heavier) tree survived at a 90 degree angle. Not bad at all, perfectly adequate for gaming. There's still a little work to do on the bases with regard to flocking and such like, but hopefully you get the general idea on how it all works.

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