Dio-Bolical Monday No: 36 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 14”

All the time I was painting the Blacksmiths building I had half an eye on the tree I had made.  I wasn’t happy with it and knew that I would need to do something about it or it would bug me forever and a day.  I decided to start over.

Out came the florist wire and I spent several hours bending and twisting the wire into shape until I came up  with a tree shape I liked.  The main branches on this one would not be so far apart and as such I would be able to produce a less sparse and leafy canopy.


It was looking good and I was pleased and so next I put it on the base to get a feel for what it would look like in a mock up against the buildings.  I didn’t like what I saw.  It was a nice enough looking tree but it was to small.   Oak trees are bloody enormous and this one needs to look like a mature adult tree not one going through pubity.  It needed to look more like this one in the field opposite our house only in leaf.


Here we go again!  Start over or …or … or…?

Then I had an idea!  A light bulb moment.

What if I could combine this tree with the other one?

Somethings you just have to give a go and I couldn’t shake off the idea so there was nothing for it but to strip down the first tree and see what could be achieved.  Either I would end up with one decent looking tree or two shit ones fit for the bin.


A test fit followed and it looked to have serious possibilities so out came the glue followed by the Milliput followed by the filler and several hours later I got to this stage.


Allowed to dry the next stage would, once again, be to get some paint on it.  This would hopefully start to make it look a little more like a proper tree.  Brown and black diluted oils along with some dry brushing got me to this stage, albeit with more paint work to be done.


After some further painting I was ready to move to the next stage.  Now normally I would start adding Sea Foam for the smaller branches, however, on this occasion I decided to go with a different approach.  Although I like the look of Sea Foam it’s very delicate and becomes brittle.  Instead I went for a technique using wadding that SWMBO had.  The wadding was dyed and immersed in a mix of water, PVA and paint and then stretched out over the branches of the tree.  Bit by bit each piece was teased out and layered over the branches.  With so many more branches this time around I felt confident this technique would work.  This got me to this stage.


Looks crap doesnt it?

But then it was time to apply some static grass and Noch leaves of various shades.  I started with a sample piece to make sure I was on track with the look I was after.  If I had to start over it would be easier to remove one section rather than the whole lot.


I liked the look, in fact I was very pleased with it so it was time to boldly go …

No holding back and in a short matter of time the tree looked like this.


I was more than a little chuffed with the result.  The next step was to do a little more dry brushing and reapply ivy to the trunk and some of the branches before eventually considering it complete.


Looking ahead I need to think carefully about when I fix it permanently to the base.  That might not be for a while pending what access I need to allow myself but that will be determined all in good time.

In the meanwhile below is a before and after image of the tree.  The before image being the first tree that I wasn’t happy with, the second one being the adapted tree which I like.  Let me know what you think in the comments if you have time.

Next I think I will start work on the base work around the Blacksmiths building and think about how I intend to make some hedgerow.


27 thoughts on “Dio-Bolical Monday No: 36 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 14”

  1. The new tree looks like much more of a realistic oak tree. Mid post I thought it headed for the trash (or a British “bin” as you say), but then the SWMBO wadding was magically transformed with the leaves into a mighty oak. Very cool and it was fun to take the hobby ride on this with you. Nice Dave!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Mark. Completely agree with you about mid post. As I was trying to transform it I kept thinking I was simply wasting my time again but decided to keep going. It really did surprise me that it was only at the final stage that in truly came together.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great work, this really does have a Oak tree feel, I was down in Sharwood forest earlier in the year and this would of fit with the trees there!
    Also the stage before the flock was added reminds me of the spider screen in the Hobbit movie.

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  3. Holy cow, that looks flippin’ brill mate… Out of interest, how much would a guy like me have to pay for a guy like you to produce 10 or so of these?? Asking for a friend 🙃

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you like the Mark II Alex. As to how much, that’s a bloody good question. I’d tell your friend that when I get this diorama finished I’ll consider making him a smaller one (this one is a foot tall) for nothing. If it comes out as well and arrives safe and sound then maybe I’ll make him some more. Either that or I’ll teach him how to make them him/herself. 🙂

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  4. Well matey I’ll go out on a limb and say that like Roger I thought the first was great and it would be the kind I would be happy with, but that’s just me, The thing that always bothers me is the size of trees!! as you say they are enormous, its been a problem I have had to grapple with ever since I started using them. We were in the Botanical gardens here and were looking at one hundred year old Oaks and I was saying that if I was to do that tree to scale for my 1/72 scale figures it would have to be a good ten to twelve inches high!! Weird but true, cant imagine what price I would be paying for a cap on that one!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The nice thing about trees Pat is they can be any size you like and still in scale. It’s just a case of whether the tree is a young small one or a much bigger older one. I felt I needed the latter for this diorama to balance it but that will only make sense when it’s nearly tinished I suspect. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To right Dave , I have often thought about showing the original plan , like trees and rocks that I started of using but as I’m one to get carried away with the moment I forget to take some shots until I realise it’s to late 🧐. I’m sure you know which way to go as it is your image that you are working with,will check in tomorrow and see more of your progress🤓.

        Liked by 1 person

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