Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Brécourt Manor - Part 7 - Hedgerows and Trees

I am now all but finished on the Brecourt board with just some minor experiments and finishing touches to go. Today I will describe how I created the hedges, hedgerows and trees for the model.

I already had the hedge lines defined on the model - I’d laid out a line of cork board early in the build. I began the hedge build with brown walnut scouring pads. Each pad was 6mm deep so I  cut strips about 3mm wide. Each strip was then shaped roughly with scissors to make the height variable.
No matter how I tried each of these strips ended up looking like waves on the sea
I then pipetted liquid glue onto them until fully absorbed and flocked with Woodland Scenics Weeds (dark green) fine turf.
Once dry I applied PVA to the base and glued them onto the hedge lines on the model. Gaps were left for gates and I made sure to place lower sections opposite the gun emplacements. Smaller bits were cut and inserted where there were gaps.

To create a somewhat wilder hedge look I tore strips off the Woodland Scenics foliage range and using scenic cement and a brush applied it to the strips, gluing tops and sides. I varied the colours but used more dark green than mid green with light green applied only sparingly. 

By the vegetable patch I only placed and glued the foliage on the top and other side as I figured the small holder would trim the hedge on his side.
To create a proper hedgerow though I then took a selection of bush and longer grass products from a range of manufacturers and cut them into thinner strips and pieces and glued and pushed them into the bottom of the hedges.

A small section of the border of the vegetable patch seems to have had a wire fence. I used cut down toothpicks as posts and some barb wire from army painter to create the fence and then glued some bushes through or across it.

I decided to try an experiment with this model and to try using sea foam moss for my trees. I think the moss is frequently used by railway modellers and diorama builders but I had never used it before. I’ll insert a warning here to those who are thinking of using the sea foam on their wargaming tables that I have found it to be very realistic but quite fragile. My board is designed to see only a small number of battles, to be carefully transported and for the action to take place generally away from the trees. Be very careful using on your war games tables!

I found another wargames blogger who had used them before - although at a larger scale than I needed - including detailed instructions..
I started with Plastidip spray. This spray, camo brown, coloured the sea foam and helped strengthen it, making the smaller sprigs more resistant to knocks and breaks. I didn’t bother cutting the foam before spraying - but I would recommend doing so if you are using this for bigger trees as the sprigs easily glue together.

I cut the sprigs into a variety of sizes - I needed some trees about 6cm tall ranging down to 1cm.
I then dipped the sprigs into scenic cement or watered down PVA just covering the upper parts of my tree. I mixed dark and mid green coarse turf, about 2/3rds dark, and the pushed the sprigs into it or dropped the turf onto it. A quick shake to remove the excess, the odd touch up and then clamped in a peg to dry. 

I repeated this a number of times sometimes varying the turf mix and on some of the trees applying another layer of glue and sprinkling mid green fine turf on it.
I used a modellers pick or bradawl to make a hole into the hedges and the gently inserted the stem of my sprig trees into the hole. Scenic cement helped secure it in place and often I used the glue to fix the foliage of trees to another tree for greater stability.

The trees are much stronger than the base sea foam and are fairly robust but I doubt they would last a long time if used on my normal wargaming tables. They look pretty good and are absolutely worth the effort that it took to create them.

Next time I’ll look at the troops that I’ll be using for the refight.

Hopefully it won’t be long before the lockdowns end, until then stay safe!

Charles the Modeller

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