Making Trees for your Dioramas :
During a recent build (the Corythosaurus), I ran out of 'pre-made' trees for the diorama I was making. When I say 'pre-made', I mean the trunks in the kit were already made, I just had to add the foliage to them. I thought it would be good to make a couple of my own trunks using a method I have read about (using wire) but I ended up doing it a little differently and now I'll demonstrate how I did it.
The following is required to make these trees :
Step 1 :
Take the wooden skewer (in this case, I am using an old one I use to paint model pieces with) and the wire and wrap the wire around the skewer and twist it until it's tight.
Step 2 :
Take the Glue (in this case, I am using Zap-a-Gap, a really strong Super Glue) and apply some to where the wire and skewer meet. This will bond the wire and skewer together to hold the wire in the spot you want.
Step 3 :
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 all the way up the skewer at regular intervals, making sure to both stagger the 'brances' so that they are not even and shorten the wire as you go up higher.
Step 4 :
Take some cutter and trim the 'branches' in necessary.
Step 5 :
It's hot glue time now. Grab your Hot Glue Gun and, once it's heated up, coat the wire branches with the glue. Make sure the you get the wires completely coated.
Don't worry if the glue makes a mess (see picture below).
Just wait for the glue to dry and pull off the strands with your fingers. The tree should look something like this now :
Step 6 :
Time to paint. If you wish, you can give it a quick coat of primer but it is really not needed as the majority of the painted pieces will be covered in foliage anyway. Make sure paint everything though as the piece you don't paint is the one that stands out the most when it's finished. Murphy's Law I suppose. Painting the tree brown allows for the small sections you can see through. It looks better to see brown then blue inside a tree!
Once it's painted it should look like someone has stuck some turds on a stick. Don't worry, this is covered up.
Step 7 :
Let the paint dry then add the Cluster Foliage. You can use whatever type of foliage you want for this part but I find Cluster Foliage much easier to use. It holds it's shape and looks much more realistic than standard types of foliage. Coat each branch with the Glue (Zap-a-Gap again), rip off some Cluster Foliage from the pack and press it hard against the glue coated area.
Repeat this all the way from the bottom to top of the tree, making sure to cover all the exposed branches. Once the majority of the foliage is on, take a look for spots you may have missed so areas that need to be built up more (for example, if the tree has more foliage on one side than the other, take some foliage and glue it to the side that has less to even it out more).
And there's your tree! Now that it's done, it can be added to the diorama as it is or you can further enhance it by getting the air brush out and lightly coating the foliage with a different color. Lighter green is good for new shoots and foliage, browns are good for dying foliage or just color contrast, red/yellow/orange is also good for Autumn colors or even white for a winter scene.
Trees of different heights can be made to your own needs as well. Just lengthen / shorten the skewer and add more or less wire.
Experiment and see what you can come up with!