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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bolt Action - Beginner's Guide to Making Forests

By Anthony "Anfernee" Mason

  Recently I based up another batch of trees I'd purchased from an ebay store in China for the tabletop. I've probably based about 150 trees this way now and it's quite effective for the small amount of work. I've got enough to make a pretty solid forest table and still have a few more waiting in the wings to be done. So I thought I'd slap together a quick basic guide for those new to the hobby scene who want to add some great looking terrain to their tables.

  First off, you'll need to gather supplies. For the bases, I use 3mm mdf from my local hardware store and a jigsaw. For texturing I use a grout (pictured to the right), also from the hardware store, but you could also use putties such as Spackle as long as it hardens and allows you to paint over it. You can source model trees from many places but the ebay store I buy mine from is 9amfree and they have a massive range available. I try to go for ones around 120mm high for decent coverage. Then I have an assortment of basing materials, such as static grass, lichen, as well as small twigs and rocks from the garden. Lastly you'll need a few tools to put everything together. Pencil, PVA/wood glue, superglue, sand paper, sharp knife, cutting board and brown spray paint.

Step 1: Create the bases
  So the first step is to create the bases. I used a 40mm diameter circle for most of my stand alone trees, to give them a good stable base. For the larger clumps, I simply added a bunch of 40mm circles to make a new shape. Once I marked out a good number of these, I went to work with the jigsaw, cutting them all out. You'll want to then sand off the rough edges. Next I would assign trees to certain bases. Because I was doing so many at a time, I would number the bases so I knew which trees were going where.

Step 2: Texturing the bases
  Then I applied the grout to the bases. The grout needed little work to get a good textured affect, although you will want to fit your trees into the grout now while it is wet so you will have slots to affix your trees in later. Now you will need to wait for the grout to dry. I usually would do a large batch of bases at once and then leave them overnight.

Step 3: Painting
  A quick spray of brown on the dried bases goes on next.

Step 4: Attaching the trees
  Next I superglue the trees into the slots left in the dried grout. Superglue gives them extra strength and I am yet to have a tree pull off the base yet (and I usually pick them up tree first which is a bad habit if you want your terrain to last!)

Step 5: Basing
  Last step now is to finish off the bases. I base mine the same way as I have based my Germans and Soviets, which is with a liberal amount of static grass and then an assortment of other materials like twigs, rocks, lichen, tufts, etc.  I attach these basing materials with PVA glue same as my model bases.

  Below you can see the finished product and the forest table that I can put together so far. I have a bunch more ideas on how to use these trees now that I have a huge supply of basic trees done. I have some fruit trees from the same place and plans to make an orchard or two, as well as some small flowering bushes for making garden beds and the like to really enhance my town battlefields. I am also working on some bunkers/large foxholes with sandbags built under the protective canopy of some of the larger trees.

  So there you go. Building some great looking terrain is not that hard and really enhances your battlefield. One of the best parts about Bolt Action is fighting a scenic battle over a realistic looking table that feels lived in. If you found this guide helpful or want to see more of it's like, let us know over on the forums or on the Bolt Action Alliance facebook page.

 "Anf" is a long-time gamer from Down Under, who currently focuses his hobby time on Bolt Action.
With an equal love of rockets and Ice Hockey, he constantly explores weird and wonderful army lists in his  never-ending quest to collect them all.

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