Jump to content

Recommended Posts

When I put all the bits together on the dio I'm working on, I felt that there was something missing. I decided that a tree would be good and as I start to feel unwell at the possibility of reaching for my wallet, that means I'd have to make one. It's something I've always shied away from previously so this thread is about me learning as well.

I have seen a few videos on the subject and this is mostly copied from them, with an idea all of my very own (the idea which avoids having to buy something extra of course :smiling:). Personally I often find a video isn't as clear as still photos.

Many years ago, when my daughter was into dolls houses, I bought a couple of packets of paper covered florist wire with the intention of making a tree, although I never got around to it. The wire I have is 36cm long (14” for Dixi and the dinosaurs – which sounds like a great name for a 1960's band) and that ends up making:

a biggish 7.3m (24') tall tree in 1/72 (mine is for a 1/72 dio)

a medium sized 4.9m (16') tall tree in 1/48

a small 3.5m (11') tall tree in 1/35

Obviously these measurements are variable - it depends how you make your tree. I went for more of a spready tree than a tall one.

I used one pack of 50 lengths of wire, first off, bend them in half and give a few twists:


At the end, the loop at the bottom will get cut to make the roots. Don't cut it now as the tree will fall apart and it also acts as a useful handle. Don't give it too many twists to start as you won't have much wire left to do the branches - unless you want a taller lass spreading shape.

Twist bunches of wires away from the main trunk and then each branch – trying to make the divisions look as natural and tree-like as you can.



This method is useful for increasing the number of little twigs at the end of each branch. Start off with two bits…


Bend them over – in whatever way…




Twist the balloons…


Squash the balloons in the middle (top one) and then twist the ends (bottom one)…


Cut the resulting mini balloons and then bend into twig shapes. From two ends there is now ten!



This isn't easy to make out in the photo, it's the underside of the tree after I've done the roots. I haven't gone into as much detail on the roots as the branches as much of it will be covered in 'soil'.



It's simple, repetitive and takes a looooong time. That's only the first step.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point it's obvious that it's not a tree, it's bunch of twisted wires.


On one of the vids I watched they covered the wire frame with some sort of painted on silicon. I object to that method on two levels; first, I'd have to BUY some sort of painted on silicon! :ohmy: Second, whenever I use liquid silicon I end up with more on me than the item I'm attempting to put it on.

Alternate plan A:

You just know that when there are alternative plans that some of them end up being crap. I wonder how successful this one's going to be – as if we didn't know already. :sad:

I tried generously daubing on neat PVA glue – three layers in total…


It just ended up looking like a perverted tree into tight, rubber bondage gear. A quick blast of primer didn't make it look any better.


Alternate plan B (hint – this is the one which works):

This plan uses dilute PVA and paper tissue (ooooh, lovely and cheap :smiling:). At first I dipped long thin strips of two-ply tissue (roughly torn, not cut) into the PVA…


and then attempting to position it on the tree. Not easy and I was heading for a tree which looked like it was wearing a baggy duvet.


I found it much easier to use bits of tissue smaller than shown above (single ply) and painting the dilute PVA directly onto the tree, then placing the tissue on the wet PVA. Then adding more PVA to blend the paper into the tree. Roughly torn edges blend in easier and look much more natural than sharp edges.


This stage also took quite a long time but the end result looked more barky. A spray all over with my most tree like colour (XF- 52) made it even more tree like.


Then I sprayed a much lighter colour from the top (XF-55) and a much darker colour from underneath (XF-9) to give highlight and shadow and I'm quite please with the result.



Incidentally, even at this stage the trees appendages are position-able.

I'm not sure at this stage if I'm going to add leaves. If I do I'll dab the end of the branches/twigs with PVA and then use some sort of leafy looking herb (obviously when Mrs. Gorby is busy elsewhere :whistle:).


  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a bit of a dilemma. I like my tree naked, but the figures in my dio aren't wearing winter clothing. Do you think I could get away with it being a mild day, either late winter or early spring? Or a dead tree.

I'm also concerned that if I add leaves, because there are a lot less twigs than a real tree, it'll end up looking ridiculously sparse.

What'dya recon?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, RWG686 said:

Maybe add some scorch marks and its a dead tree after a lightning strike ?

That's an idea.

Dead trees usually have a greyish colour so I might mist a bit of grey on it to see what it looks like. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In truth, most all of the trunks of trees I've seen here in the southern U.S. are some shade of grey, particularly the hardwoods. Some pine/evergreen have brown trunks. but yours seems to have the shape of a hardwood tree. You could do early winter/late autumn, or late winter, VERY early spring. 

Just my two kopecks.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Gorby said:

I'm also concerned that if I add leaves, because there are a lot less twigs than a real tree, it'll end up looking ridiculously sparse.

How about something with a bit more bulk, like, say, shredded bits of sponge, or felt, or coarse sawdust, suitably coloured?  

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I did see a vid where they used shredded sponge for the canopy and it didn't pass the Gorby OCD test. :no: 

Mind you there is another problem with using herbs... when Mrs. Gorby asks why my new diorama smells so fragrant.

No idea dear, and no I don't know why we've used so much mixed herb this month. :blushing:

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...