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Turning a Pumpkin Stem into a Tree Stump

In this article, well look at the process of taking a common (yet seasonal) object and turning it into a piece of wargamming terrain. Doing this made me realize that, with the right idea and technique, nothing is safe from wargamers.

The basic though here was that I could use the Stem from a Pumpkin to
make a tree stump. As you can see in the picture, it looks more like an
alien fungus than a tree but I could see the essence of a tree screaming
to get out. (Thats the type of stuff us Artistes are suppose to say arent
Break the stem in half rather than cutting it. This will create a rough
surface at the top of the stump. Youll need strong hands for this part.
The stems are more cellular than real wood would be so care has to be taken
not to crush the stem. The edges of the stump are are still too “straight”
so take your thumbnail and gouge out hunks of stem randomly along the edge.
Flatten the bottom of the Stem by cutting or filing it. Glue it down to
the surface you are working on. In this case I stuck it to a 40mm monster
base from GW. As you can see in the first pic, the bottom of the stump is
rounded inward. I took DAP DryDex, which is a Spackling compound, and sculpted
roots onto the base and up onto the “stump”. I followed the shape
of the stem and made the roots in random directions. I made it fairly rough
and didnt worry about getting it neat on the ground.
Once the Spackle was dry (starts pink, drys white), I glued down small
stones to the base. I smeared white glue on the base and up to and on to
the roots and stump. I didnt try for even coverage and left bare patches
on purpose. I let it dry and then mixed a really thin mix of water and white
glue (10:1?). I dripped this over the stones with an eye dropper. This soaks
into all the nooks and crannies and makes the stones set like concrete.
I prefer this method to making a “sand paste”. Thats were you
mix sand and white glue and spread it over a surface with a popcicle stick
or something.
Not much to explain here; when the glue is dry, spray the damn thing black.
If you use white undercoating, youll have to make up your own painting
scheme. I did the watered down black coat to fill in parts missed by the
spray paint.
For this project I used Vallejo Game Colors.
The first coat was a fairly heavy application of Charred Brown. I didnt
however try and get into all the creases. Its important for the black to
be in the creases as it gives the piece depth. Even the ground gets this
I took the colour up a notch to Beasty Brown and put on another fairly
heavy coat. I covered less total area this time but still treated the ground
and stump the same. I did the coverage randomly too so didnt do the normal
“layering” or “blending” method. Thats were you move
up through a colour scheme from darkest to lightest, covering less and less
area with each stage. I didnt follow any real contours yet.
I now moved up to Cobra Leather and randomly coated the ground and stump
again same as above except that this is the basic ground colour so I edged
the base and covered the flat ground evenly. I also started to paint the
stump only from the ground up using a fairly wet brush and a light hand.
This causes a wide to narrow streaking going up the trunk. Im still using
paint straight from the bottle so far and not cleaning my brushes so the
colours mix in random ways.
I now start to treat the stump and ground differently. I took a couple
of drops of Camouflage Green and painted random ground areas and creases
in the stump. I drew the colour up the stump also with decreasing pressure.
Darker, greener at ground level getting lighter and thinner near the top.
I took some Stonewall Grey and put a couple of drops beside the Cobra Leather.
I did a light dry brush of grey in my bottom to top method. Remember, I
still havent cleaned my brush. I also started to pull some of the grey
into the Cobra Leather and mix it and pull that randomly up the stump. I
also do a dry brush across the top with these various colours.
Here it starts to get harder to describe. Taking Dead Flesh and Bone White,
I put a couple of drops of each on my palette beside the Grey and Cobra.
Using a dry brush technique I go up the stump with random colours, again…
never cleaning my brush. Tending to lighter and lighter shades, I pull up
the colours and randomly go across the top. The last highlight (so far)
is a straight Bonewhite.
Time to attack the ground. I put a fairly heavy coat of Sombre Grey down
(has a bluish tint). I stay away from the deeper crevasses that have the
Camouflage Green in it. Make sure not to cover up all the other colours
and stay off the flat ground.
Now I dry brush on a layer of Stonewall Grey (already on my palette as
I only pull the edges into other colours. I try to leave a blob of raw colour
in the center of each puddle.
Now an even lighter dry brush of Ghost Grey. I even dusted the stump a
touch as grey is normal on trees. It offsets the Bonewhite too.
Ok, last pic. Final dry brush of Skull White on just the tips of things
and off to flocking. I put down a 50/50 mix of water and white glue in drops
over the ground and dipped it into my flock bucket. I knock off the excess
and pull some glue up the stump and a couple of drops on top of the stump.
Back into the flock and shake it off.Next I use straight glue and attach some ground foam. I also stuck on some
static grass which doesnt show in the pics but looks good in little clumps.
Well, thats it. Pumpkin to Tree Stump in 400 steps. The neighbours
will be wondering where their stems got to as I take the kids door to door.
TRICK OR TREAT {Snapping sound in the background}.

Posted in Terrain Building.

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