Tuesday 28 February 2023

Pine Trees

Hi everyone. Here we are with another post, this time the pine trees I made for the Bohemia 1866 setup. I also made fir trees and the coniferous wood bases onto which both go, which will form the subjects of two later posts. I took the photos of both kinds of trees, then selected and cropped these images before realising I hadn't posed any figures with them. I know you chaps like to see that, but this time we'll have to do without.

I made these trees maybe 11 years ago, and for some reason, perhaps not unrelated to advancing age, I can't remember too much detail about how I made them. Roughly what you are seeing here is trunks made from dowel, topped with branch-ey parts made from twigs and / or Woodland Scenics tree armatures(?) The dead lower branches are lengths of wire, inserted in holes drilled through the trunk. The branches were then expanded by gluing on small pieces of well teased-out rubberised horsehair. The leaves/ needles were mostly static grass. I think I could do that element somewhat better now as I have a powerful grass applicator and could perhaps source short, dark green static grass more easily. But there we are, because I made over 40 pine and fir trees and I'm not fixing to do any more in the near future!

Those who've followed my blog may remember me saying very firmly that I thought it unwise to research individual species of trees, beeches, elms and what-not, because that was a trouble that wouldn't add anything to the appearance of the wargames table. But when it came to coniferous trees I thought this principle needed to be contravened, because we all have at least vague concepts of the things in our heads. Scots pines are one thing, Christmas trees quite another! So I did look into different coniferous types. The upshot is they come in roughly four flavours, at least in Europe: pines, firs, spruce and larch. The latter two have drooping foliage, which could be modelled with the (expensive) materials produced by Mininatur in Germany, but I preferred to stick with the other two. 

So pines are the ones with long trunks and bushy foliage at the top. The lower trunks are greyish and very rough, but that on the upper, growing parts is smooth, and quite a bright brown in colour. So that's what you've got here, as best as I could do it. One more feature that seems common with conifers is dead areas, caused either by insects or by lightning strikes. I modelled one such patch by fixing on a sagebrush twig. As usual I've made some trees on bases and other mounted on pins; both are useful for the wargames wood. 

As I have already photographed the fir trees, a post showing them should be up a bit more promptly than this one. Hopefully a week or two hence.


  1. They may not have figures posed with them John, but they still look damned fine, given they are some 10 years or more in age. One thing that struck me in the 'pine' woods and forests in Austria is how little undergrowth there is; just lots of pine needles and the odd bush.

  2. Very nice work once again John, one thing I am pretty short on is trees - maybe I should look to remedy that situation?

  3. They look excellent - and the method seems straightforward enough to achieve a good result.

  4. Very nice work indeed. In answer to Steve J it is the case that pine trees in particular shed their needles in vast quantities creating mats of dead brown useless stuff all around below them. Hence nothing can grow. Walking through a plantation of commercial fir trees in, say, Scotland is a very haunting and sad experience , with no wildlife to speak of . We modellers need to do place some lifeless brown scatter in evergreen woodlands.

  5. Wonderful John - I respect the effort taken to get something resembling the actual tree and like the dead bit especially.

  6. Thanks as always, guys. I agree with the comments about the floor coverage of pine woods, although my picture research suggests that patches of grass do peep through. That's how I did my coniferous wood bases anyway, as you'll be seeing in a couple of posts' time. Next post fir trees, then the bases I made, which were when I discovered flexible felt basing.