Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Little Trees, Fresh as a Breeze

My Vietnam game is set in a lush seaside valley full of rice paddies and trees. Most of the trees I own are completely unsuited for south east Asia so it was clearly time to get more terrain. Unfortunately I am struggling to do the project with some kind of financial restraint and a forest of miniature trees can be very expensive.

A Package From China!
As my wife is aware, when confronted with expense, I use schemes I have learned on the internet to save money and finish my projects. That's what I was doing when I used a power sander in the living room on insulation board. I was saving money when I burned through three cans of spray paint in on un-ventilated basement. Thrift was tops in my mind when I used her bread knives to saw through insulation board (a different project, more insulation board though) and her colander to dry lead figures washed in bulk. That being said she was very excited to learn I was going to buy a forest of tiny trees from China via eBay. I had read on The Miniatures Page that this was a good idea and the advice of an anonymous stranger on a web forum is good enough for me!

Amazingly enough my trees arrived quickly and were exactly perfect for the job. The colors are appropriate for Vietnam and at roughly 6-10mm scale the detail is fine. For a week I kept on re-examining them waiting for the punchline. Would they melt? Are they radioactive plastic trees? Illusions? Nope, they were perfect for the project and very affordable.

Awaiting flocking on the trunk base
Happily there was still opportunity for disaster and mess making in the house. The trees were supplied without bases and had to be somehow affixed to the play surface. The trunks are so very tiny that gluing them to bases would not be very durable. The trunks are also too thin to be drilled and have pins placed inside. I came up with a scheme without the internet this time. I took 17mm pins and clamped one end around the bottom of each tree. Now the trees can be pinned into a foam based mat and removed when the game is over. The clamped pin is pretty secure but I am placing a drop of white glue on each and then adding some flock. The result is stronger and the pin will be invisible.

Considering my record of disastrous goof ups and project malfunctions I'm very pleased with my trees. They were cheap, they look good, and they should do the job!

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