This week was a bit of a low point for me hobbywise. I had a difficult week at work where I had to get re-acclimated to being in the office which completely exhausted me. It felt like I had little energy and less time to hobby this week than I’ve ever had. I still don’t have many minis to paint and haven’t quite figured out what to buy (more on that later) which only increased my hobby malaise. I ended up working on pine trees more out of a lack of better alternatives. It is a big accomplishment and relief to have the trees made and I thought I’d share my overall experiences now that I have 16 trees made. No, they’re not truly done yet but as you can see, they just need to be glued and based (which is honestly the fun part). My apologies for the so-so picture as well. Since it is a WIP, I figured it wasn’t worth doing much more than taking a picture on my beat up hobby desk. I’ll take a victory lap once these are done and show them all laid out on my mat 🙂
First, there are some other Pine Trees out there you can buy but I think even if you haven’t made trees before, going with a Woodland Scenics Learning kit is a great way to go. Pine trees are easy to work with and bending the tree branches is so easy anyone can do it. I would recommend going for a dark clump foliage like Woodland Scenics provides in their learning kit pictured below but you could always go for lighter looking pine trees too. I mentioned this a while back but I highly recommend using wood glue which is strong enough to really grab ahold of clump foliage. The most frustrating part of making trees is the amount of time it takes to glue all of the foliage on. The only way that worked for me was to glue each piece on one by one as I never found something that would grab the foliage so you can “dunk” the armatures into the clump foliage. That would save hours of time making trees.
Speaking of time I would estimate it takes about 3-4 hours to make a tree like I did. Maybe even slightly longer. There is a lot of drying time involved on the back end of the process as well so at best, you’d need 4-5 days to make a tree end-to-end I would say. The best thing you can do is make a production line to crank out as many trees as you can as fast as you can and save the final step of sealing the trees until you have a bunch done. Spraying the trees with Scenic Cement (watered down PVA) will make the trees rock hard after 2-3 sprays but each time should really dry overnight. I used Woodland Scenics flock to give highlights to the foliage with each spray. If I were making a diorama, I would use an airbrush as the flock stands out in closeups photos. Its great for a tabletop standard though and I’d recommend applying at least some highlights as it makes the trees look way more lifelike.
With all this said, I learned a lot making these trees and one thing I struggled with was whether I should make the trees myself or just buy some from a place like 4ground. Honestly, if you’re pressed for time and can afford the trees, I would maybe consider saving time and just buying some. Making trees is not hard, possibly a bit boring, but it is time consuming. Your hobby time is limited and it is worth saving time where you can. This is definitely a case where spending money may save you time though if you want to learn the art of making trees, it is certainly well-worth giving pine trees a shot. I learned a bunch which is why I thought it was worthwhile to share some of my experiences to anyone interested and slightly intimidated by the art of making trees.
In terms of hobby malaise, I have taken one step already to improve things. I ordered what I want to paint for Golden Demon 🙂 That will slow down my gaming hobby goals but I think I should enter something in the competition since it is in my backyard so to speak. I’m also close to pulling the trigger on either Goblin Town Terrain or some Eagles to further add to my painting options. My goal over the next couple months is to buy at least one thing each month that I need to paint to build up a bit of a backlog again. I thrive on variety and I need to paint eagles and wargs, among other things so why not have some around whenever the mood strikes! I’m hopeful that my hobby funk will be short lived as I have an itch to paint something now and I’m looking forward to basing the trees as well.