Here's another fun gaming project for my friend, Jaye. And thanks to Jenni for the use of a couple more of her New Zealand photos for the background foliage...works great...looks like my tree is really there in the deep jungle!
Obviously, I was heavily influenced by the "Lord of the Rings" movies, Disney's "Swiss Family Robinson", and all the Tarzan movies I watched as a kid. Always wanted a really cool treehouse like that...just made one a lot smaller! Below are the initial sketches for the fortress.
Here's how this all came together...I cut rough shapes from pink insulation foam and glued them together. I then began the messy process of sanding everything to a smoother surface. I then coated everything with gesso. I also hot-glued on wire bits for the root system.
Next I began to cover the foam with paper mache (the premade "mulch" formula that just needs water added). I made several circular shaped platforms and stairs, then hotglued them to the tree. I covered all the "decking" with toothpicks, sanded the edges, then painted everything with gray acrylic.
I later decided that I needed some kind of railing around the platforms. I glued toothpicks onto soft foam rubber strips, cut them apart, then hotglued them on. Finally I built up washes of browns, grays and greens to finish the paintjob.
Here is the completed "fortress". You can see the tiny little figure standing in the "secret doorway" at the base of the tree. (Though, white is not the recommended color to wear, if you wish for your secret entrance to stay that way.) I like to imagine that the huge tree has been hollowed out inside, with a circular stairway leading up to the big opening in the middle of the tree. From there, the occupants can climb ladders up the limbs to get into the " lookout towers".