Question about making a tree...

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by Kyle, May 30, 2006.

  1. Kyle Member

    I am about to start building a large oak tree in 1/35 scale. I have an idea of how to use the wire to form the trunk and branches, but I'd like any advice on what type(s) of compound can be used to finish the trunk.

    I have Windrow's excellent book Terrain Modeling, and he features an SBS with Barry Bowen. They suggest a UK product called Tetrion. Does anyone (Yank, Brit or other international comrade!) know the U.S. equivalent for this? Are we talkin' basic spackle, or?? :eek:

    Any help would be appreciated!



  2. Roy New Member

    Hi Kyle...Tetrion comes in either powder form that is mixed with water, or ready mixed in a tub, it's smooth white domestic I guess it's similar to basic spackle as you guys would call it in the U.S.

    Barry's a great guy, and to see he's trees in the flesh is a real treat, he's known locally, and affectionately, as 'Barry the tree'..

    Good luck with your project.

    All the best...Roy.
  3. Kyle Member

    Thank you, Roy. I would love to see Barry's work in the flesh. His work in the book is amazing. He's inspired me to take the plunge and have a go at one myself.

    I will go to my local DIY and check into different compounds, powdered and pre-mixed.

    Thanks and cheers,


  4. Ray Active Member

    You know you could just use a piece of sage brush trunk, they look really nice, realistic and should be easily found up where you live. :)

  5. Kyle Member


    Yes, I usually do use what I find in the plentiful woods here in Minnesota, but this time I thought it would be fun to try to actually make a tree - was inspired by Barry Bowen's incredible trees!

  6. renarts Active Member

    Good luck with this Kyle and keep us updated. I'll admit I'd like to make a tree but I usually take the easy way out. The roots of woody plants like bushes, shrubs, some weeds and trees make some great trees. The branches of the roots and the bark of the roots will give you the perfect scale version of a tree with some very fine detail. You can enhance these details with a little wash and highlighting or dry brushing and still get some very realistic and very detailed branch systems.
    I'm notorious in my neighborhood for carrying a set of pruning shears in my pocket when I walk the dogs and look for brush piles out by the street or in areas where there is construction going on and they are lot clearing.
  7. Brushguy Active Member

    Hi Kyle!

    Here's an image (sorry for the poore quality, I uses my scanner, befor I got my digicam) of two small trees I made with the method from said book.

    For the "bark" I used a simple mix of plaster and white wood glue (would be "Elmer's" in your case. Here in Germany the brand is "Ponal")

    I made these two a few years ago for a small 28mm-scale fantasy project, which is unfortnately still not finished. But there is more wire in my closet for some larger trees to come.


    For sure nature holds some nice materials for us modelers to use, but from time to time it is a nice experience to "recreate" such a thing as a tree.

    Please keep us updated.

  8. Bluesking Active Member

    A few years ago I had an article published in Military Modelcraft International in which I posed the PiliPili 120mm Hawkeye in a large tree. I made it from pieces of windfall branches and twigs pinned and screwed together, the joins disguised using Milliput and the finest extremities from wire. I worlked well and was a lot lighter to carry than one made of wire.
  9. megroot A Fixture

  10. Mongo Mel Active Member

    Hi Kyle,
    Someone mentioned using spackle. I'd suggest trying Durham's Wood Putty. It comes in powder form and you mix it with water to the consistancy you want. Great stuff. Good working time so you can sculpt in the texture and dries rock hard and very strong. You can get it at most any hardware store here in the states.
    Good luck ;)
  11. modelix Active Member

    Hello Kyle

    try a dead bonsai tree!


  12. nagashino New Member

    Hi Kyle

    You are right about Barry "the tree" Bowen's skill with fake foliage. I've seen some of his work up real close, and it is a job to tell it from real bonsai - and his fallen pine trees in various McCarthy inspired dios are unbelievably realistic.

    Barry produced a simple spiral bound guide to making trees. I'm sure he would have copies available - maybe Roy or Dave (figure mad) would know?

    Anyway, here is one of Barry's "bonsai". I've got real ones that don't look this good :lol:



  13. Kyle Member

    Thanks everyone for such great tips.

    Thanks, Marc, for the helpful links.

    The creativity here at pF is amazing, and now I am even more determined to give this process a try.

    Dank je

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
  14. dsc New Member


    Recently I've been toying with the idea to make a tree in 1/60 (wfb scale). Below you will find some pictures showing a test piece that I made in plasticine (the kind of modeling clay that stays soft). It's only showing some bark, no roots or anything like that. To create it I used a simple technique which includes a modeling knife and a hard bristle brush. All you need to do is create a lot of verticle lines on the surface of your trunk imitation (you can add some angled lines, to break the vertical character) and then use the brush to add more texture. Only remember to move the brush verticaly and to make long "sweeps". This is how it looks like after around 3 minutes:




    I hope this is helpful and that you don't think that I want to steal your topic Kyle:)

    Materialwise you can't use metioned plasticine cause it stays soft all the time. I guess you can try using Miliput or Magic Sculpt (I will try the second one), cause they are similar to plasticine, but dry rock hard.

    Hope this helps:)

    Oh I forgot, this piece is around 3cm long and has a diameter of 1cm.

  15. Kyle Member


    Thanks so much for that demonstration. That's not stealing the topic - it's improving it!

    I think I am going to experiment with magic sculp as well as spackel paste for trunk....

    Thanks again :) :)

  16. romain Active Member

    it is too much difficult to sculpt a good tree , so the best way to make a tree is to use natural roots !

    I show you the begening of a diorama


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