Last year at the Bugeater GT, the one thing lacking from my army was a neat display board. I just used a Realm of Battle tile, which did OK in a pinch, but for this year I wanted to actually put some effort into it! During our trip to Florida this past holiday season, we were fortunate enough to visit the Disney Animal Kingdom, and I was immediately hit with a wave of inspiration upon entering the park:
The “Tree of Life” serves as the center piece of the park, and it dominates the skyline. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed one for my Wood Elves! Fast forward a couple of months, I saw this really cool wire tree in a jewelry store that they used to hang seasonal ornaments, and “Presto! ” I had my armature.
I debated back and forth on what to use to texture it (clay, toilet paper, plaster cloth), but I finally decided on paper mache because I wanted to keep the weight down (the thing weighed like 5 pounds already!). A quick trip to the local Hobby Lobby resulted in several packages of Celluclay, which is essentially a package of fibers that you add some water to, which results in a paste that is almost like clay, but with half the weight! I also got a sweet frame as well.
It took ages to texture it, mainly because I grossly underestimated how big the tree was, so I did not have enough Celluclay to cover it initially, so I had to do it in 2 batches. It also took forever to dry as well due to the humidity at the time. I actually had a freakout moment picking it up by the trunk to see if it was dry, and my fingers sunk right in! I was able to patch it quickly, and against all temptation, I let it sit for a whole 2 days before touching it again! When it was fully dry, it was hard as a rock! The tree also weighed substantially more as well, which was also a huge surprise. I can only imagine how much it would have been if I went with clay!
For the branches, I took a page out of the old General’s Compendium and went with using Great Stuff spray insulation foam. This proved to be both a good and bad thing! It was a good thing because it was super quick and easy… you literally just shake the can and spray away. The bad thing was is that I forgot how much the foam expands before drying!
Because they ended up so big, I ended up having to go out and buying double the amount of flock I initially did when it came time to flocking. Flocking took FOREVER, as the spray adhesive I bought wouldn’t stick at all, so I ended up having to use the trusty old hot glue gun and close to 100 sticks of glue!
When it was all finally flocked, I drained a whole can of matte varnish and a can of Mrs. Douglas’ hairspray to try and seal it. It still shed like crazy every time I moved it, but it did the job well enough.
Here was the finished product:
It came out pretty well I thought, and I received a lot of nice compliments throughout the event… I definitely achieved my goal of having the largest/most over the top display board there!
I did leave a HUGE mess in our dinning room, which Mrs. Douglas was not happy with:
Luckily for me, this was able to soften the blow (quiet literally!):
I was pretty surprised that I won, as there were some pretty awesome armies there (saving that for another post!), but it was really cool hearing my name called and knowing that all my hard work paid off!
Now the question is what to do with the Tree in between events? It’s really too big to “hide” in a one-bedroom apartment, so I have to figure out to somehow use it less I incur the wrath of Mrs. Douglas again!