Dio-Bolical Monday No: 32 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 10”

Last week I ended by saying I might work on the Blacksmiths building or make a tree.  I decided to make a tree.

Although the Mill is a tall building it is based to the left and I felt height and colour were needed to the right of the base for balance.  I figured the only way to determine this would be to make a tree and then take a view on things once the Blacksmiths and Barn buildings are in situ.  I figured the worst that could happen is I’d make a tree I either didn’t like or wouldn’t use.  The thing is I was in the mood to make one and the nice bit about dioramas is you can flit from one thing to another and still be making progress.

First up was making the wire aperture for which I used florist wire bought on eBay.  There are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to make trees and I’ve even done a blog post of my own on the subject way back so I won’t go into all the details on how to bend and twist the wire.  However, if anybody plans to make one of their own and wants links to relevant articles just drop me a comment and I will duly oblige.


Having created the wire framework and shaped it into something I liked the look of I then set about covering the thicker branches and trunk in Milliput which, once dried I began to scratch up for texture.  Normally I would have wire tree roots too but on this occasion decided to just fix the tree to a very basic base for stability and add roots later when it is properly based.


Next up was adding smaller branches for which I used Seafoam stuck to the various parts of the tree using superglue.  The joints were then hidden using filler which is the white you can see in the image below.


Once dried I then began to get the base layer painting done for which I used Burnt Umber acrylic.  Apologise for the blurred image below but I’m sure you get the gist.


Base layer paint applied it was then about applying washes, for which I once again turned to oil paints, followed by dry brushing.

The tree I am trying to recreate is an English Oak.  In colour terms they tend to lean towards grey rather than brown and they invariably have ivy all over the trunks into the branches.  I wanted to create that look and used teased out twine and flock to simulate that as best I could.  This was followed by applying flock to the Seafoam branches.


The below images are where I am at the moment.  In truth I’m not sure if I am happy with it.  I need to think things through and might be able to make adjustments to the point where I am more satisfied.  Then again I might just start again and hopefully make a better one.  Worst case scenario I’ve wasted a weeks work but the thing with dioramas and modelling generally is, with or without experience, not everything goes quite according to plan at the first time of asking.


For now I’ll give further thought to the tree and while I’m doing that I’ll start painting the Balcksmiths building.


30 thoughts on “Dio-Bolical Monday No: 32 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 10”

  1. Nice to see you branching out TIM, I know I’ve already got my coat ! LOL
    The tree looks great, it needs more foliage in my opinion, as it looks a bit sparse at the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Looks good to me, the very picture of an old oak that’s just starting to get stag-headed. Even if you’re not happy with it though hang onto it, you can always use it as a placeholder for working out heights and arrangements of scenery for the time being. When I’m a proper grown up hobbyist I’ll make my own trees. 

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The tree is a beautiful terrain piece. I do see why you might not be happy with it. while the trunk and branches seem perfect to me, the foliage is leaning a little towards gaming and less towards your usual “reality in miniature”. Tinker. You will make it perfect, you always do!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Staying patient is really wise. For me, that’s usually the hardest part! I do think the tree is looking good but I think the foliage is maybe a bit sparse. Usually people make trees with too much foliage but I think this one might benefit from just a tad more. If you haven’t done so, I’d say hop on Youtube and watch the many tree videos that Luke APS does. That might give you an idea for how to move forward (or redo the foliage if that becomes necessary).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve studied a good few videos over the years but maybe a refresher would do no harm. Interestingly this is by far the biggest tree I’ve attempted and I don’t think I have added enough smaller branches to take the foliage. More thought required I think but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually.

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  5. C’mon Dave, get with it, that tree is just crap! I’ll take it off your hands for nothing, if you can see your way to making another half dozen or so equally crap ones to go with it that I can use for wargames scenery! Actually, if I’m being honest, it looks impressive and is well worth being included on your diorama! 🙂 Something I will not even attempt is making my own trees!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha, thanks John. From most angles except looking down I’m pleased with it but the tree is about a foot tall and looks a bit sparse. I’ve now got a couple of ideas to play around with and am hoping to put things right. Smaller trees are easier!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great result. I echo the other comments that It probably needs filling out of the foliage to look more realistic – or be in autumnal colours to show the leaves are falling off…

    But I would like to try this method myself yesterday as it looks very realistic for a big tree like an oak .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Filling out is what’s needed. As trees go this one dwarfs all the others I’ve done and I didn’t allow for that growth in the rest of the build. Hopefully I can put that right. It’s fun to build trees though even if this one didn’t go as smoothly as I’d like.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Bugger me Dave !! a foot tall! that’s amazing, personally i feel its great but that’s coming from one of your pupils that has done a fair job with your fir trees (that’s why i always use them) but when it comes to oaks I’m absolutely hopeless. I think Kuribo has the answer to my problem, to much foliage. Anyway mate just think about this, will folk be looking down on the tree, normally they look side on and would never notice what you are seeing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suspect I view lots of things from angles that others won’t view it from but you know what it’s like as a diorama builder, it has to be right or it gets inside your own head until you make it so. I’m happy with this one now and learnt something new as a consequence. Make bigger trees by linking smaller trees together. That would never have occurred to me so somethings have a way of working out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your right mate , early on I built a lazy Suzan after one of the kids said one of my dios looked weird, she was behind it 😳I turned it around and she was so right . Since then I have a sign on the wall saying “ turn it around fool” 😅😅. But in saying that I forget that some might like to look down on them, probably because I vertically challenged, or in the old terms just a short guy 😅😅. That’s interesting , trees on trees🤔great thinking but something I won’t have to think about as I plan to go smaller now , well hopefully 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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