Friday, June 12, 2009

TABLETOP GAMING: "Tree Fortress"

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 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".


Fitz-Badger said...

That's really cool! (I would've liked to see some foliage on the tree, but I know how difficult that can be to get looking right and still be playable) I started on a couple of wood elf tree-houses, based on Pringle's cans several years ago, but have yet to finish them because I got stuck on how to do the foliage. Maybe some day I'll finish them.

Warren said...

I did, in fact, leave off the foliage, for "playability" access. But I agree...would've helped them look better.

Here's a nice link to a blog that shows a pretty good way to make trees with foliage. I'd try tearing up sponges and painting them for the greenery, if you didn't have "store bought" foliage. You could dust on some "flocking" like the demo suggests.

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Todd said...

Hi there.
Just popped in via a link from the Painting Corps blog. Did some looking around, and found your tabletop scenery tags.
Beautiful stuff! As an avid wargamer, it's great to see such beautiful, yet functional scenery produced by someone with real talent.
This tree fort is my absolute favorite, though. I can see a table covered with 4-5 of these, as well as a whole bunch of forest floor detrius like stumps, logs, and root tangles being a real pleasure to play on.
Keep up the good work!

Warren said...

Hey, Todd! Don't know if you'll meander back onto this page to read this, but if you do...THANKS! I have to say that this build was one of my favorites. I haven't made anything new in quite some time...maybe I'll have to get back into it again for my buddies (and also, just to have an excuse to post a tutorial on my blog)!