Friday Quick Tip: Tree Templates

When it comes to trees, I've always wanted to do a set that were extremely functional. And when I put together my Autumn Foothills mini-board, I had the chance to make that wish a reality. When I started thinking about how to go about them I came up with a great way to make them look great and remain game friendly by using Woodland Scenics Fantastic Trees.

Some of what you'll need:

To start off I used a piece of paper to rough out the size and shape of the template I was going to create. I know it seems like a step you might be able to skip, but for my foothills, space was a commodity I wasn't rolling around in. So using this method helped me be sure my templates would fit the table with ease.

Using the template made from paper I traced its outline to the MDF board using a sharpie. When cutting my templates I usually use a Hand Saw
to rough cut my shapes and a Rasp to help the curves along.

Using a mouse sander I put a nice bevel to the edge to help give it a more 'finished' appearance. I also use the Rasp to rough this step out.

Place your trees and glue them down using some white glue or super glue. Once dry, remove the trees from their trunks. It will make the base much easier to work with from here out.

I used spackle to create a root system and sand to rough the surface. When making the spackle roots, use your forefinger and thumb to squeeze the spackle into the board and drag it along to create 'veins' along the roots. Sharpen the details using a sculpting tool of some sort when dry. After creating the roots, paint on some white glue and sand much of the surface for a nice rough texture.

I used a Bestial Brown color followed by a quick drybrush of Snakebite Leather and an even lighter drybrush of Bleached Bone for the trunks and trees. Rocks were picked out with Codex and Fortress Grey, again drybrushed with Bleached Bone. Woodland Scenics Turf was also added after painting.

All in all the finished product follows much of the same conventions as my hill tutorial. I highly suggest you check that out as well if you've got a bit of time on your hands!!

One upgrade you may consider for this project would be to magnetize your tree trunks. I did this by using a magnet in the trunk and in the tree (making sure their facing the right direction!!) and hiding them using some Testors Contour Putty and sculpting it to fit the details in the tree trunks. They do work just fine as they come though, and I highly suggest the Woodland Scenics Trees to anyone looking for a quick effective forest!

So I've shown my favorite method for creating forest templates, what's yours?


  1. great post. as I'm working on a WE army right now, I will soon be making a few tree templates like this. funny thing is, I was already planning on the woodland scenics trees (as the fall ones match my bases)

    I'll be sure to check out your post again in time.

  2. Nice trees mate!

    The bases are especially nice.

  3. Nice work. I like these with the ability to remove them and then put them back exactly where they came from.
    Very nice.

  4. Zealot, be sure to check out the Foothills thread link and the hill tutorial for a bit more with the trees. I have a lot more info in them that I've yet to put into article form!

    CMD, Thanks!

    Ron, That's really the big driving force behind doing the tree templates this way. I upgraded them further with magnets (as mentioned), and will hopefully do an article on 'building a better tree' in the future based around the Woodland Scenics stuff.

  5. Like the nice tutorial to create nice scenery. Only got one thing that could be improved in my opinion, and that is the edge need to be more smooth. Give it a good sanding before glueing stuff onto it. But that is a minor detail ;)