JTT Trees Part 3

February 9, 2015

The final steps were to paint over each base with the same cheap craft paint I use for all of my bases.  I’ve had this paint for about 10 years and I think I bought it new for about $2.50 from Michael’s.  Once dry I painted a third coat and dipped each base in the flock wet.  The results were pretty nice.  The bases  did warp slightly but not enough to make it noticeable.  The only thing left to do is put a couple of coats of matte varnish on the bases to hold the flock in place.

Bases after a coat of cheap earth paint.

Bases after a coat of cheap earth paint.

The (nearly) finished product.  An inexpensive solution to getting some trees on the table.  The white stuff on the tree in the foreground is probably some plaster dust.  It was easily removed.

The (nearly) finished product. An inexpensive solution to getting some trees on the table. The white stuff on the tree in the foreground is probably some plaster dust. It was easily removed.

Over the course of 3 days, it took me a total of 3 hours to produce the bases and mount the trees.  Doing the initial spray down of the trees with matte varnish took maybe 15 minutes.  The trees themselves cost about $30.  All other products costs were negligible and came from supplies I had on hand.

JTT Trees WIP Part 2

February 8, 2015

After letting the bases dry I found two problems.  Gorilla glue did not fasten the plastic bases to the paper disk very well.  Also the expansion of the glue lifted up the plastic base to the point where the trees were noticeably leaning to one side.  I primed the plastic base with the Loktite All Plastics primer stick and glued them down with Gorilla super glue instead.  After the glue set, I tinted the joint compound with earth brown and built the sides up.  The results thus far are below.

The disks are drying.  here's hoping there are no more problems!

The disks are drying. here’s hoping there are no more problems!

Part 3 soon.

JTT Trees WIP Part 1

February 7, 2015

I’ve finally started in on my new trees.  After some thought I’ve come up with the following plan.  Each tree will be mounted with it’s base on a 1.5″ disk.  The disk is made of matting board.  To make it easy to cut these disks out, I used a pair of heavy snips.  Mine are tin snips but you could use heavy kitchen scissors as well…the ones that can cut through chicken bones.  I am using a dollop of gorilla glue to hold the tree in place on the disk.  This glue is notorious for expanding and leaving unsightly globs if you use too much.  In my case, the disk will be topped with dry-wall joint compound so the mess will be covered up.  You can give yourself a small head start by using brown or green matting board.  Mine was light blue simply because that is what I had.

Some of the items you will need.

Some of the items you will need.

The disks took about 20 minutes to cut out and I had all 24 trees mounted in about 5 minutes.

The trees are ready to be textured.

The trees are ready to be textured.  The disks are wide enough to keep the tree from toppling from an accidental shove of the table.

Next time, I shall texture, paint and flock the base.  The only thing I am concerned about now is warping.  I think the matting board is think and dense enough to resist the wet compound but we shall see.

Got Trees?

January 25, 2015
JTT HO Trees

JTT HO Trees

Our hobby can be expensive.  These days, it is hard to find inexpensive terrain.  I have noticed tree manufacturers are still selling, but at a premium price.  There was a kickstarter not long ago for a company called “War Trees“.  They were making resin trees ready for the battlefield.  The pine trees did not look like much but the deciduous trees looked like they would do.  The problem was that each tree cost about $4US.   Sadly, the funding was unsuccessful as they did not generate any interest.

The other day, I was up near a local hobby shop and popped in to see what they had in their model railroad scenery.  I found a bulk back of 24 HO scale trees (3″-4″ tall) for about $30.  This was the best deal I had seen in a long time.  I decided to take a chance.  The trees are made from natural material and come with small plastic bases.  The bases are inadequate to hold the tree up reliably on their own.  So some wider bases will have to be manufactured.  The plastic bases can still be utilized as they are molded to look like the roots at the base of the tree.  The flocking on the tree also seems to shed pretty easily.  I remedied this by giving each tree a generous coat of dull coat.  I am not finished basing them yet…who am I kidding!  I have not even got them started!  I’ll post some pictures when I get them done.  There are also other bags of 36 N-Scale trees (2″-3″) and 55 micro scale (1″-2”) for the same price.  Company website is here.