Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Dark Woods



It's funny even without playing a single game, 'Witchfinder General' has captured my imagination.  The combination of Folklore, Hammer Horror style scenarios and a smattering of historical fact has proved too difficult for yours truly to resist and I seem to have got sidetracked with how the game will look rather than concentrating on its actual dynamics.  One such element that I have stubbled to dislodge is a forbidden forest.  From the offset I imagined a place where only a few dared to tread, a place steeped in folklore, a place where death stalks at night; this place exists, deep in the woods beyond the village.  

Dead or evil looking trees seemed like a simple idea to make, but I just couldn't get myself organised enough to bring together branches, florists' wire and Milliput all in the same place for long enough and then, by happenchance, I stumbled across these at my local 'Games Workshop' shop, a forest in a box - just what I was looking for.  As soon as I got them home, I stated to realise that my quick fix wasn't going to be a quick as I had hoped and spot of assembling was required.    Not a problem, thinks I, after all I enjoyed slathering glue to plastic aeroplane models as a boy, surely I could cope with a couple of gnarly trees?


Well they went together alright, but a combination of my eagerness and their moulding revealed some rather unsightly cracks.  Still before long these were filled with liquid green stuff and Vallejo plastic putty and I was revelling in the wonderfully details that are a feature of this terrain piece.



Although given a black undercoat to begin with, I remembered that I had some brown spray paint hidden around the place and this was then applied to the trees as a sort of base coat, it certainly had the effect of speeding things up too.  The base, itself, was painted using the same colours and style that I had been doing with the individually based miniatures, the only difference being that I used cheaper tubes of acrylic paint, bought from 'The Works'* to mix the colours rather than deplete my stock of priceless Vallejo Model Colour.

*The Works, is a discount hobby and craft shop in the UK that sells all manner of goodies!




The detailed base is great fun, although possibly not to everyone's tastes, with the addition of tree roots and human skulls liberally deposited.  As far as I was concerned these fitted perfectly with the idea that this was a scary part of the land, so they were definitely to be kept!   As a final touch to the base, I did add a little green dry brushing to some of the slate slabs before a delicate mud wash, which just seemed to locate them more convincingly in the soil.  




Following the same 'recipe' for the rocks and stones, the tree sections were then painted up, but I was still faced with the problem of the unsightly gaps.  Although filled they were still annoying me, until I remembered that I had some 'Army Painter' poison ivy - perfect! 


Finishing touches were a few random tufts and some static grass - what could be simpler?

I have to confess that I am delighted with the way that they turned out, they are just what I wanted; if there is a drawback then it is cost.  In my addled brain I imagine a ring of these around a witch's hovel or ruined monastery, but to do that I would need another three packs and that then seems like an awful lot of money to fork out for plastic trees.  I would cleanly be interested to hear of any homegrown solutions for spooky trees, but for the time being, I leave you with these. 



92 comments:

  1. What a nice addition to the Witchfinder project. Although only a small wood I can see this being a valued addition to those games.

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    1. Thank you Clint, ideally I would love to add to it, but the cost is a little prohibitive at the moment.

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  2. very good job!
    i have this kit too, but i used it to create a jungle for my lizardmen.
    bye

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    1. Thank you Luca and I bet it looks great with Lizardmen running around it!

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  3. I find these trees fall over very easily so I cut out the underside of my trees and filled them with 2 pence pieces and loads of PDF. It'll take a forklift to knock them over now!

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    1. That should read PVA not PDF!… lol

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    2. You can get some very heavy PDFs! ;) These ones are already open so I might have to take your advice and pack them with something.

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  4. Excellent! and thanks for the links :)

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  5. Both Witchfinder and those trees are taunting me too. You're done the trees proud :D

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    1. Thank you so much Paul, the whole project has been great fun and I haven't even played a game yet!

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  6. Great use of the ivy. I still remember the hours spent fixing the seams on three sets of these trees.

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    1. Thank you Brian, such a shame about the seems, but not insurmountable.

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  7. They do indeed look very spooky! Well done Michael!

    Christopher

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  8. Great work there. Loving the first picture at the top - very atmospheric.

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    1. Thank you Mike, it was great fun to tinker with.

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  9. Excellent work Michael, love the first pic especially!

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    1. Thank you Phil, I am always inspired by your great posts so wanted to add a little extra.

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  10. Those GW trees are pretty cool even now. Really like the additonal flock/foliage on the trunks!

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    1. Thank you, they fit the project perfectly, but now I need a few more.

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  11. These trees do look the part and your added bits have given them a unique look.

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  12. Top job matey - really very cool indeed

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  13. Inspiring work, what incredible attention to detail and color nuances in the highlighting. A treat for the eye!

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    1. Thank you so much, they were hugely enjoyable to work on, which always helps.

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  14. Excellent work, Michael.
    Looks perfect for spooky witchfinding.

    Cheers
    Stefan

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  15. A foreboding place to be out for a stroll. Great modeling, Michael.

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    1. Thank you Jay, danger lurks behind every bough!

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  16. Very well done Michael. A lot of ambiance to these woods. Danger could be lurking behind every tree.

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    1. Thank you Anne, just remember, never stray from the path!

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  17. Absolutely beautiful stuff there! If only they were a bit cheaper to purchase and I'd be tempted as with a little work they would make a really impressive 15mm scale haunted wood!

    Take a peek at this topic over on Lead Adventure Forum! http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=41545.0

    Theres loads of really great ideas for tree construction in it!

    All the best!

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    1. Thank you very much and for the links too - awesome ideas there, I might have to give some of them a go.

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  18. Hmm, I'm not a huge fan of most of GW's products but those are very characterful. I could see them serving very nicely in a Pulp/Horror setting. Perhaps I can find a set (or two) through a deep discounter... But more importantly: absolutely lovely work Michael!!

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    1. Thank you Curt, they do have that Pulp quality to them - totally over the top, but perfect for this project.

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  19. Michael, your work on that forest is most excellent. You definately have managed to capture the ambiance, the only thing missing is the glowing eyes from the underbrush.

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    1. Oh Terry that is a brilliant idea - now where's that camera!

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  20. The wood does indeed look very spooky, great idea using the ivy to hide the holes!

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    1. Thank you Ray, although the solution was more through necessity rather than inspiration.

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  21. I love those trees Michael and there are very well painted and give the feel of spookiness.

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  22. Excellent! Haven't seen those trees that well painted yet. They really do look like that part of the wood one never wanted to go as a child.

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    1. Thank you, there were great fun to work on and it helped knowing exactly what I wanted to achieve with them.

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  23. Those are great Michael. Very Hansel and Gretel.

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    1. Thank you Mark, that was certainly an inspiration, but I need a few more now.

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  24. I love how you brought these to life!

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    1. Thank you so much Monty, that is really kind of you to say so.

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  25. Very useful post. I have bought a box of those to use for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit games. They look exactly like the ones in the most recent Hobbit film. I need to make sure I get some more liquid greenstuff, obviously!

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    1. Glad to be of service! Liquid greenstuff will help, but you might find it easier, on reflection, to fill will just some household filler. It will be quicker and cheaper and the course surface will only add to the tree's bark.

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  26. You've done a great job on those trees and they certainly work for the creepy spooky setting you are after. As for cheaper alternatives... I guess it depends on how much effort you want to go to? I have found a wander in the woods or along the beach can turn up all manner twigs that can be pressed into service... also the root stock of various bushes actually works rather well too... I have managed to kill the odd bush on my property by over indulgent use of weed killer so at least the roots of the dug up dead bush were useful!

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    1. Thank you Scott and some great ideas. My problem is one of space insomuch that I can only have one project on the go at once. I dream of having an area like a shed where I can have little terrain pieces left out to come back to as I fancy. I think that this is one of the reasons why this worked so well, but the price is quite prohibitive if considering a dense wood.

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  27. Nicely done Michael! Cost is the major reason I ditched GW a long time ago!

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    1. Thank you Bob and I'm not surprised either - shame, because they produce so nice looking kit.

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  28. This is the first and only time I've seen this set done up in a way I like. Well done mate. By the way, what's "poison icy"? Is it like yellow snow? ;-)

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    1. You say the sweetest things! As for the poison icy, I don't know what you mean! ;)

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  29. You might be able to find small spooky trees and such amongst Halloween decorations at crafts stores.
    Nice work! (as per your usual top notch painting and conversions and miniatures and terrain)

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    1. Now that's a cracking idea, roll on October!

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  30. The Dark Wood looks really old and evil great work.

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    1. Thank you so much, just what I was hoping to achieve.

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  31. They don't look too bad in the Witchfinder setting (it has to be said!) and I don't mean to be negative at all but they would not look so great on a Medieval battlefield etc.

    Perhaps this is why they suit the enviroment you have chosen so well(?).

    Darrell.

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    1. Thank you Darrell, there is a definite 'pulp' quality to the Witchfinder world, somewhere between Hammer Horror and the real world so more than happy to have a little tongue and cheek poke at fairy tales along the way. I take your point about a 'real' setting, but not overly worried in this case.

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  32. Looks great, you should take a picture or 2 with more gloomy lighting too :)

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    1. Thank you Adam, that's a great idea, I'll have to give that a go.

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  33. Excellent work! I feel that this kind of wood would fit perfectly in my own private Gondor. Time to have a look in my local shop, I think.
    Just had a though:are the tree bases completely round and if so, what diameter? I was thinking that maybe the nice folks at Warbases could be asked to provide alternate bases that can be filled with rocks, bushes, smaller trees etc for variation?

    Cheers/Thomas

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    1. Many thank Thomas, the trees' bases are all perfectly round and open so you could weight them or perhaps add magnets. As for the Diameter that are 48mm and i love the idea of adding them to different bases for more variety.

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    2. Excellent! I shall have to ask Warbases for some custom stuff later this year, getting a couple of these will be perfect. Thanks.

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  34. Hola Amigo
    Buenos esos bosques
    Yo los tengo pintado ,pero para mi bosque fantasma
    un saludo

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    1. Thank you J.D. I bet they are perfect for the ghost too.

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  35. Top notch results from a flawed and expensive set. The only alternative is probably to make your own with wire armature and Millput (or something similar) to create the bark. Not sure if the time and effort of making your own cancels out the expensive of the GW though tbh.

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    1. Thank you Matt, although flawed they certainly have a quality to them and perfect for my needs. I will need to give some thought to building some, purely to avoid going broke by paying the price GW want for theirs!

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  36. The forest looks fantastic ... well done Michael!

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  37. Nicely done, Michael, suitably scary. I've long admired that model - I like how the sculptor suggests faces in the trunks and waving hands in the tree limbs. It would be hard to match these, but I often find that a walk under a tree in the woods, especially after a night of strong winds, leaves all sorts of twigs and bits on the ground that look quite fine with a bit of flocking on them -- mind you, you need a way to base them, but I'm sure a bright chap like you could do that.
    Again, bravo.
    MP

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    1. Thank you Michael and I couldn't agree more about the sculpt, just enough to suggest faces - the stuff of childhood dreams and fairy tales. I will need to give some serious thought to building my own at some point though.

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  38. Wow - I love everything about that!

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    1. That's incredib;y kind of you Cory, thank you.

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  39. Now your channeling Hammer! This is exactly the sort of thing I expected of you once to took up Witchfinder. This is the best modeling of this set I've ever seen well done Sir.

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    1. Thank you Robert, just what I wanted to hear as of course Hammer is most defiantly a huge inspiration to the project.

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  40. Darn Creepy.
    Well done Michael.

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  41. They are quite excellent but I agree on the price point!

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    1. Thank you Phil, there must be a cheaper alternative out there.

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  42. Fantastic work on this kit! Lovely wood!

    Greetings
    Peter

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