Realistic wood elf forest tutorial
Since I play wood elves, I wanted to make a nice forest, to use as my free wood. I wanted it to look as good as possible, while still be pretty easy to make. I also wanted something portable. I read several tutorials online and came up with this method.
You will need:
* A piece of styrofoam, the size of your desired forest, about 1" thick. More is ok.
* White glue (PVA)
* Sand, regular sand pit stuff will do.
* About 5m of 1.2mm copper wire, can be a bit thicker
* About 10m of 0.8 copper wire, can be a bit thinner
* Toilet paper / paper towels
* Static grass
* Modelling flock in the color your forest should be. You can also mix 2 or more colors.
* 2m of rough rope, as stringy as possible. I used a special "Eco friendly" rope, made of natural materials.
* A pair of pliers
* A sharp knife
* Acrylic paint, Citadel colors will do.
* Old brush to apply PVA, one smaller brush to drybrush.
* Plant mister
1. Draw the desired shape of your forest on the styrofoam, then cut it out.
2. Cut the edges of the base, to remove unnatural edges.
3. Sand down the base of your forest, to remove any sharp edges left. You don't have to be super careful, just make sure the shape is ok.
4. Cut 3-5 pieces of your thicker copper wire, 15-25 cm long. It is better if the pieces are not the same length, to get a random look. This will give you trees about 15 cm tall.
5. Grab all the pieces about 3cm from the bottom. Then twist the middle part, until there are no loose pieces. Make sure you leave about half the length untwisted towards the top. And about 4 cm on the bottom.
6. This will form the trunks and bigger branches of your trees. Play with the armature, to get the desired look. You can bend it any way you like. Make sure to spread the "roots" apart, because these will anchor your tree to the base.
7. Start adding the thinner wire. You can twist it on from the bottom, or you can insert it inside the middle and then twist it around the bigger branches. Try to make a naturaly looking treetop.
8. Once you have enough trees, stick them into your base as you see fit. You can glue them with PVA, if you want, but it is not necessary.
9. Prepare a mix of PVA glue and water, about 1:4. Then soak a piece of toilet paper in it, and lay it on your base, over the "roots" of your trees. To improve adhesion, paint your PVA mix over the pieces, until they stick to the base. Repeat many times, to completely cover the wire. If you want to spray your base, it is a good idea to cover all the styrofoam as well. Do the same for your trunks, to give them bulk. You can make interesting bark like textures using the brush, by stroking the trees vertically.
9. It is best to let it dry for several hours after you have the base and the trunks covered. Then repeat the same process for the smaller branches. In the end, you should have everything covered in toilet paper. If you make a mistake, use more water and your brush to smooth it out.
10. Let it dry, then paint random spots on the base with PVA glue and sprinkle with sand. You can add bigger stones at this step if you like.
11. Spray your forest in black, or paint it black with acrylic color. Make sure to cover everything.
12. Time to start painting. For the ground, I used a Scorched brown drybrush, followed by VGC Earth (you can use any medium brown). Final highlight is done with 50% VMC Ivory (Bleach bone) and 50% VGC Earth. If you like more contrast, give it one more highlight with just VMC Ivory (Bleach bone)
13. The trees are heavily drybrushed with VGC Cold grey (Codex grey) VGC Cayman green (Camo green), then highlighted with VGC Stonewall grey (Fortress grey) VGC Cayman green. Apply a wash of Devlan mud, then drybrush once more with VGC Stonewall grey VGC Cayman green.
13. To make the foliage, you need a rough rope. Cut it into 5cm pieces and untie them into individual strings. You will need quite a bit of those. You can skip this if your train store has something like this for sale. I could not get this, so I had to make my own.
14. Tree by tree, apply undiluted PVA glue to the branches, where you want the leaves to be. Stick small clumps of rope strings on there. Let dry. Shake off any excess and repeat. After a while, you can glue the rope to other rope, to make bigger clumps.
15. Make sure the coverage of strings is about as thick, as you want your final trees to be. The foliage added in the next step does not make the treetops much bulkier.
16. Sprinkle the trees with a plant mister filled with 1:5 PVA and water. It is a good idea to cover the base at this step, as it will drip down. After you have the treetops covered in drops of whiteglue, sprinkle your flock on the trees. Repeat this step several times, until you get a good coverage. Let dry. And make sure you clean the plant mister with lots of water, to keep it functional. You can of course use any other spray on glue at this step. I just found this method to be a lot cheaper and it gave me a more resilient trees.
17. You can prune your trees with scissors, to get the shape you want and to remove any stray "branches". If you feel you need bulkier trees, you can repeat any of the previous steps and just glue more foliage on.
18. Apply PVA to the base in random splotches. Sprinkle with static grass.
19. You can glue birch seed pods to the base, to represent fallen leaves.
20. Spray your forest with varnish, let dry and enjoy