Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Experimental Forestry

I need to build a lot of Scandinavian forest for the Bjerkvik game we're presenting at Joy of Six in July.

The original plan was to create more of the squirrel-chewed pine-cone trees I did for the original run-through of the game and put them on pieces of felt that would define the edges of the wooded areas.  Looking like this:

This is OK but I felt the bases needed work so I started looking at pictures of real Scandinavian forest so I could decide how to colour the bases.

The problem is, you don't see the forest floor from outside a conifer forest.  You can't see the floor for the trees.  The other problem is that a 6'x12' table is going to need a hell of a lot of trees.  The squirrels of Oughtibridge Park just ain't that productive.

So I thought I'd have a go at an alternative approach using Woodland Scenics clump foliage and some ripped up prices of 18mm thick packaging foam.

18mm foam torn to a rough shape.
I then started attaching the clump foliage using a hot glue gun.

The classic thing to do would be to create a base with tree trunks made from glued-down nails but I wanted to give the impression of a conifer forest which has vegetation right down to ground level around the edges.

The result is this:

Or from above, this:

I think that works OK.  One wood completed in about an hour.

I may declare these sections of woods as impassible within the context of the game.  This would have a realistic effect in channelling forces and would also avoid the question of whether to put forces on top or underneath.


Phil said...

Looks creative and beautiful!

Phil Broeders said...

Looking forward to seeing this in the flesh at Joy of Six.

I have approached pine forests from a different view as many of our rulesets allow troops to move through woods and so we needed moveable trees.

I found a supplier from China on ebay - you can buy 100 fir trees in 6mm scale for about £5 (free postage) and 400 for £13. The need a bit of work as a lot of the foilage comes off in transit but 'painting' them with PVA then rolling in flock has the desired effect.

I use different flock as well to provide the variation you normally see in a pine forest (i.e. dfferent tree types / colours). I did around 400 during a weeks holiday last year (although actual labour time was only about 4 hours in total). I've added to them and probably now have close to 800 trees based on circular bases of different sizes (large in the middle, individual trees on small bases around the edge.

We used them in the Banja Luka game at Joy of Six last year. I'll dig out the links so you can view them.

Phil Broeders said...


This was the first batch I made.

Phil Broeders said...


Some of the trees in action. Note that some are incomplete (bases are unpainted and unflocked) and we threw in a few 'unusual' trees to make it more Japanesey. In the flesh they look pretty good, especially in highly wooded terrain. I'm working on some snow covered ones (you can see a couple of these sprinkled in the pictures) for Eastern Front WW2 winter battles.

Counterpane said...

Tanks Phil. They do look good. I've already bought some deciduous trees from China (maybe the same manufacturer).

I agree there should be some more colour variation. I'm probably going to buy another bag of clump foliage tomorrow.

Right now I'm sipping a whisky and nursing burned finger ends!

Phil Broeders said...

Ouchy! What's the battle / period you're putting on. We are doing Plassey (Clive in India) 1757.

Richard Phillips said...

I hope its malt, not any of that blended rubbish! The forest clumps look great. Remember seeing a ACW game that used something similar looked really good.
Richard P

Richard Phillips said...

Just thinking that the idea of impassable terrain would work perfectly as the area was both heavily wooded and rocky so these areas would be great. If you need me to do any let me know.
Richard P

Counterpane said...

Phil B,

The Cold War Commanders are doing a refight of the action on the Bjerkvik table of the game we played at Dungworth in 2013. It's Norway, August 1985 based roughly on events in John Hackett's The Third World War.