Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to: Inspiring Tree Ferns

We are glad to announce a nice illustrated tree fern tutorial created for Wargame News and Terrain by the very talented and seasoned wargamer and scratchbuilder Alan Martin. To better follow this tutorial you first of all need to take a closer look at the fern tutorial which has been published here. For those of you wanting tree ferns to fight your Maori Wars campaign, Tree Ferns are fairly simple to produce. The ones I have made are a bit over scale, so again, if you want smaller ones then use smaller fronds and stems.

Starting with the stem, you can use wooden dowel, but I think that Christmas tree stems are pretty good – minus the needles of course. At this time of year you might find a ready supply of material! Glue and pin it to the base. This one is around 3 inches high. 

Prepare a bunch of fronds – arrange them in size order, as you can see above, then again using the hot glue gun weld them to the top of the stem. Try and arrange them largest first, radiating outwards – perhaps 5 or 6 in a layer. As each layer is added, the angle from the horizontal should increase and the frond size should decrease. I hope that the photo below helps to explain. Personally, I feel I have used too many fronds on this one, and I prefer the look of a couple of thers I have done which use fewer – a later photo will show both and you can decide for yourself. 

Photos below show a smaller specimen on a dowel stem and a top view to show the radial arrangement mentioned above. Some pictures look similar, but the difference is that in the last picture a matt spray has been used to dull down the plastic. I prefer it – you can decide if you think it’s worth doing. 

You’ll notice that I have added new growth in the centre as per the fern above. 

Tree ferns have rather furry trunks. To do this I paint the trunk with a mix of Burnt Umber acryclic and pva, then smear some short static flock I have over that and allow it to dry. 

When it’s dry it’ll look like photo above. Liberally paint it with the same brown paint/pva mix and allow it to dry. Apply a lighter dry brush to bring out the texture, as in the picture below. 

Decorate your base and add some accompanying plants. The final photo shows a Foundry 28mm Hunter for scale. The 2 Tree Ferns on the left are on dowels, but as mentioned above they have fewer fronds in the crown and I think I prefer it. 

I hope you find this useful – if nothing else you now know how to make furry stems! Tutorial by Alan Martin.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Nice tutorial. Thank you for posting.