I have quite a bit on my mind so this post might be a longer one than usual. Obviously, the world is kind of falling apart at the moment (or certainly the United States is) and while I’ve seen many people celebrating the extra hobby time (which I have been enjoying as well), it is definitely getting scary out there and I have a feeling we’re going to be mostly inside our homes for quite some time. I hope each one of you stay safe and can make the most of this time at home too. Its pretty much the only option we have.
For this week’s hobby update, I can finally share a task that has been driving me insane the last couple of weeks. I once again foolishly decided to power through all the trees I thought I needed to play the next scenario and was driven mad by the tedium of it. The end result is that I do have a bunch of trees now for Scouring of the Shire games which is nice. I think these can do double-duty and work for a lot of Fellowship of the Ring Journeybook scenarios too one day so all around, it is a good thing.
However, I do have some annoyances with these trees (besides making them). Despite my best effort, I could not perfect highlighting the trees and so they’re all made a bit differently from one another which shows. I started using flock as I had with pine trees. This works for darker foliage (using Woodland Scenics flocks) but anything lighter than dark foliage does not work sadly. Woodland Scenics just doesn’t have the range of colors to make this work. Unfortunately, I tried to use some of my flock from Scenery Express on the next batch of trees which does not blend like Woodland Scenics does. You can see these trees on the right in the picture below. Thanks to a tip from Bret, I then tried dry-brushing which is cheaper than buying a lot of flock and worked better than anything else. I think that is what I will generally do in the future since the pre-made Woodland Scenics trees can stand up to the “abuse” of drybrushing but while I like how those trees look, I’m still not completely satisfied.
I have a hard time accepting that playability and durability is what matters most in making terrain and it is hard to maximize those two things and still have something that looks fantastic. Either that, or maybe I just know how to make a miniature look good with a paintbrush and I can’t quite match that with terrain and that frustrates me.
Speaking of annoyances, I also feel like while my terrain basing has improved compared to the Hobbit terrain I made a few months ago, it still isn’t quite where I want it to be. I chose the wrong dark color for the flock because it is too dull to match the mat I’m using. There are plenty of richer, more vibrant flocks and I’m not sure exactly why I chose the color that I did. I mostly used it shade either the edges or the shadows left by a tree but I’m contemplating ordering some better flock from Scenery Express down the road and trying to cover up the dark green I used on these trees. I have no idea how successful I will be but I figure it is worth a shot and would help the terrain match the mat even more which is always something I’m keen on.
The other thing I did is not include almost any tufts on this terrain. I’m not sure how much the tufts add to the look and I have learned how they can negatively impact the playability. For those of you who have more terrain experience than me, do these tree bases look a bit bare? What would you add to give them more life and bring The Shire to life, if anything? I think I’m satisfied with them but I’m always happy to receive some advice on how to improve at the same time.
The pictures above hopefully show off what I’m talking about but if not, you can see the Ruffian I managed to hammer out this week amidst all the terrain. He looks better than that picture shows and I’ll take some close ups when I get him varnished and based. That’s now 10 out of 12 done. Not too shabby!
Here is a quick peek at the Farmer Maggot “board” layout with the trees done. It could probably use a couple more pieces of scatter terrain and maybe a hill or two but all in all, I think that looks quite nice. If you look closely on the left, you see a new crop field in progress that looks much different than the previous one. Why is that? The one I originally made continues to warp so I wised up and ordered MDF bases instead. I’ve got two which should fit my needs perfectly and those will stand up to gaming much better I think anyway. Once I get the two cropfields done and some hedges to go around them, I should be ready to get a game in finally!
One unfortunate reality of being in quarantine is that hobby supplies are now much harder to get and require ordering online and then patiently waiting. I’m currently waiting for some more flower tufts to finish up the crops above and I am going to need several other supplies to finish the remaining projects that I have. While I think many people are quite happy to have extra hobby time, it could quickly become unproductive if we have any delays in our postal service. I’m contemplating ordering what I think I need this weekend, to ensure I can keep hobbying for quite some time into the future. Its a crazy way of thinking but seemingly necessary right now.
That wraps up my hobby progress but I have figured out a couple of things this week which I also wanted to share. I have realized over the last week or two why I’ve been eyeing just about every other skirmish wargame that exists. When I set myself to a hobby project where I need to grind through stuff or it just gets tedious after a while, I suddenly start thinking, “Wouldn’t it be fun if I played X game in addition to MESBG?” or “I should paint X because that is really cool looking and would be a nice break from what I’m doing.” Obviously, I should do a better job of not allowing myself to be in a situation where I’m not enjoying whatever I’m working on but I do think that I may need to take up a second game to give myself a little hobbying variety. I’ve certainly been doing enough thinking about it over the last couple of weeks or month or so.
I’m thinking I may scoop up Fallout Wasteland Warfare’s starter set and give that a shot. It has Solo play in the game (unlike most wargames). I’d love to paint and make Post-Apocalypse terrain one day. The game requires fewer miniatures to play (though perhaps it offsets this with terrain, we’ll see). It also has excellent support from Modiphius with lots of scenarios that look intriguing as well. Assuming I follow through and pick it up, Fallout will very likely always be a back-up or reserve game for me. I’ll paint it when I need a break from MESBG and it would be unlikely to overtake MESBG as the core subject of this website. So have no fear if you visit for the Lord of the Rings content. It isn’t going anywhere!
Alright, that is enough hobbying grumbling from me. Please do stay safe and I’ll do my best to do the same. I hope to continue to share fun hobby projects in the coming days as an escape from our bleak reality at the moment.
6 thoughts on “Trees for Scouring of the Shire”
I think the trees look great. If you feel their bases are too empty you could always add bushes (such as reindeer moss) for a certain scenario or battle. However I wouldn’t glue it on, that way you have more customizability.
I understand your interest in other skirmish wargames. I am always drawn to other board, card, miniature or video games if I’m not realistically playing any MESBG in the near future. For example because I still need to paint a lot of miniatures, create terrain or wait for better weather before I can spray paint. I think it’s a good thing to diversify, but for myself I now also try to be cautious and realistic about my feelings towards trying something new. Mostly because of the financial or time investment a new game could take.
Though it seems that Fallout starter set would be actually quite safe to try in that regard. Anyway, while I of course like the LotR / Hobbit content, I also like Fallout and am always interested to see other miniature games. I recently bought another miniature expansion for the board game Nemesis and have been painting those minis up and really enjoyed it! Very different from LotR, but it greatly increased my pleasure in painting and it carries over now that I’m painting about 80 Morannon orcs. So I’d certainly go for it! 🙂
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That is a good thought on adding some bushes “on-the-fly”. I hadn’t thought about it and it would be really easy to do!
I’ve quickly learned that everyone is a bit tempted by other games which makes me feel better. I try to stick to video games and miniature games because I don’t think board or card games would make for interesting content on this site but I do enjoy both quite a bit and would play more if I had money, space, and time! 🙂
The Fallout starter is pretty cheap and you can play a number of scenarios out of the box so I figure if I just buy it and nothing else, I’ll get my money’s worth out of the game. Your example with Nemesis is exactly what I’m hoping for. I would like a little more hobby “balance” or variety in my projects. I appreciate your encouragement and I imagine I’ll do an unboxing of some kind once I order and receive it!
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I agree, it is tough times. I had gone out a couple of weeks ago and bought some paint and brushes at a couple of local independent hobby stores but yesterday I realized I needed a pot of paint. I’m hesitant to go to a hobby store now just for that, is the worry worth it. I’m having a hard time balancing watching the news for information and too much news.
Anyways, back to your trees. If it was me, I would take the tuffs off. They don’t add to the base and will get in the way. Plus, I don’t think you like them and they will bother you everytime you use them. If you want to add some color to the base but not get in play-ability, you could stipple some red or yellow paint on the grass for low flowers. With what you do your figure bases, when you put the hobbits on the tree base you will be adding the color and flowers to complete the overall picture.
Hard to tell from the pictures, but did you try using a wash and drybrushing the trunks and branches themselves? That will help break up the monotony of the trees also. Treat the trees as you would a large figure that you are painting and you will be happier with them.
I have a hard time not digressing from LOTR, with so many different figures out there I would never get out of that rabbit hole if I went down it. I tend to go to my PlayStation when I want a break.
As you say, enough rambling. Stay safe.
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I know what you mean, Bret. I just ordered some supplies on eBay and Amazon because the local store is only easily accessible on the train and I’m trying to avoid that even if the trains are surely empty in Chicago right now. Just going to the grocery is unsettling with half of the people shopping wearing masks…
I’ll skip the tufts then for now and probably for good on these flat pieces of terrain. I was leaning in that direction but wanted to see what others thought. Thanks for mentioning washing and drybrushing. I did the wash and not any drybrushing. I’ll see if some light drybrushing helps me feel better about the trees. I think redoing the one flocked parts will probably really help too whenever I get around to it.
I’ve been doing some extra video gaming lately myself which has been fun but I do yearn for some actual wargaming as well. Hopefully in a couple of week’s time I’ll be ready for that again. I don’t know how effectively I can balance or juggle two games but I guess we’ll find out soon. Stay safe and keep the hobby updates coming on One Ring!
I got stuck for a moment on the ‘highlight the tree’ part. It’s just something I’ve thought of.
I think the trees look fantastic. The bases are good, not bare, and grass tuffs do sometimes get in the way. Flat bases are better for playability and I agree with Gero above that you can add bushes and logs and such to break it up if you want. The board looks great with the trees and field. Don’t fret about the flock not matching the mat.
And trees are a great thing to plow through, since they’re generic terrain to be used in any scenario. You’ll be glad you have them.
In truth, I don’t know any miniature gamer that sticks to just one game/ genre. I have 6 different ones and I’m probably on the low side.
So go on! Get something else. Everybody is doing it. 😀
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I appreciate your feedback on the trees! I know I’m being a bit of a perfectionist with them. I think I viewed Scouring of the Shire as being the best hobby work I’ve ever done and something I’d be extremely proud of for years to come. No pressure there, right!?
I am really glad to have a huge chunk of trees done. I’m sure I’ll need some more down the road but not having a need to do more for a while will be quite nice.
I appreciate your blessings to expand my horizons as well 🙂 On one hand, I like keeping a razor focus as I’ve done here on the site for a year plus now but on the other hand, it is causing some burnout so changing things up can only be a good thing.