Monday, 7 April 2008

Name that tree....

Before I get stuck in to some photos of my recent AWI-themed holiday, I thought I'd post about some rather spectacular terrain pieces I recently acquired. I liked Barry Scarlett's vines so much that I asked him and his colleague Mark (both of Murray Bridge Trees and Terrain, here) if they'd be able to make some of those huge trees that appear in paintings and photos of American landscape. I was thinking particularly of Robert Griffing's paintings of the Ohio and Hudson valleys, which often feature enormous trees of varying kinds. Pictures of the ACW's Wilderness campaign also spring to mind. In my last post I referred to giant redwoods, and I appreciate that those trees are only found on the Pacific coast. I suppose that's generally what I had in mind, absent any other specific genus. But to be honest, I'm not really that fussed about what species of tree these are; I just wanted something large to float at the back of my terrain and heighten the impression of a battlefield that was a long way away from old Europe. That said, answers on a comment post if you think you may have a convincing idea as to what these trees could feasibly be in upstate New York....There are no prizes - it's a serious question!

The largest tree, on the right of the second photo, measures 36.5 cm high. Golly. The figures are of course 25mm Perry sculpts, to give a sense of scale. In the background is the wooded base I usually use for my photos - these are "small" trees from Realistic Modelling. Mark added a couple of bases of broken trunks; the shape of the larger one is, I think, a practical joke...I also bought some sachets of differently coloured "flower scatter" which I will add to the 84th Foot's bases when that unit is finally finished. When I painted the 55th Foot a few years ago I liberally added to the bases the crystals from a Woodland Scenics lavender field mat - the result worked ok; I must take some photos of that regiment at some stage.

Anyway, if you fancy some sequoia, or whatever they are, drop Barry and Mark a line. Each tree and base cost Aus $47.50, which is about £22 or US $44 (the trees were based at my request; the chaps can supply the trees unbased for less). That includes a "prototype discount" since the lads hadn't really made any before; but I think the price is very good value given the size of the trees, at least compared to UK-manufactured trees of a similar quality. Postage to the UK was a substantial Aus $90 for the lot (2 boxes' worth), so I suppose that adds an extra £10 on to the price of each tree, although I also received the two bases of logs and 5 bags of flower scatter. I have to say that the packaging was excellent. Overall I'm delighted with these products and I certainly don't mind paying a premium for postage to receive such excellent items from Australia, especially when I've never seen anything similar in the UK or come across modellers so eager to jump into a new challenge. In any event, I buy large amounts of wine from Australia, so why not wargames terrain? It could be Australia's next big growth export if marketed properly....


Bill said...

Giles Actually, being from NY State I can tell you that these trees would be giant Pine trees if they were correct.
The trunks of the trees need larger branches on the bottom. There is way too much space between the ground and the first branch.

You can either add branches to the trees or build up the ground with bushes and rocks to make the space diffenertial more realistic.

Sorry, but that's nature.....Bill

Barry S said...

Thanks Giles. We are glad you are happy with the trees... whatever you decide to call them...

No, the larger base was not a practical joke but something neither of us noticed until it was finished.

Bill, no need to be sorry, we appreciate the feebdback. We were working off photos of Giant Redwoods and the Griffing painting 'Moving Among the Giants' as other business partners (wives) wouldn't allow us to make a 'field/research' trip to the US ;o)

dave said...

Size wise they are a good match for mature Eastern White Pine. the branch structure isn't quite right, but I'll forgive that.

These are perfect for true 28mm scale mature trees, or for 40mm "wargame scale" trees.

I have white pine out side my house that aproaches these in size.

Bill said...

I just went outside and checked the Pines in my yard. The branches start at about 12 feet off the ground and are thinner and smaller. Then when you get to about 18 feet off the ground, they then begin to get thicker and heavier until they reach about 60 feet where they begin to take on a "normal" Christmas tree type appearance.

Since I am about 6 feet tall, that would mean that smaller, wispier branches should begin at about double a 28 mm figures height.

Barry, I have not seen the painting, but the trees are in my yard. Nice work in any case....Bill

Giles said...

Bill, Dave

Thanks very much for your comments - this constructive and helpful feedback will ensure the next consignment is as true to life as can be!

It's also interesting to think about what a wargames table would look like with trees that are all to "real" scale, as opposed to the "wargames scale" we all normally use.

Still Anonymous said...

Nice trees! Yes, eastern white pine sounds about right.

Depending on how dense (and dry) the forest is, you might tend to have a 'carpet' of fallen russet pine needles underneath.

legatushedlius said...

Interesting. In 28mm a normal 60 foot tree would be nearly a foot tall and that isn't even a very big tree.

Some of the trees in British Columbia where I travel quite a bit (even in Stanley Park in the middle of Vancouver)are 250 feet tall. That would be about 30 inches!

Bill said...

Barry, The Giant Redwoods or Sequoias are only found on the West Coast of the North American continent.
The Pines that you are attempting to depict are on both coasts. Since you are attempting to portray Eastern Woodlands Indains you should only be looking at photos of Pine trees and NOT Giant Redwoods.
Perhaps, that is what confused you.
The Giant Redwood in California would dwarf the eastern pines. Especially in regard to thickness.

I checked the Griffing painting and if you look carefully, you will see how large rocks and dense underbrush abound in the NY forrest.
Giles, I suggest that you just build up around the trunks with large rock castings and some forrest scatter.............Bill

Giles said...

The confusion over the "giant redwoods" was entirely my own mistake and lack of proper research. I clearly picked up the idea somehow that the trees in the Griffing paintings were redwoods. I told Barry and asked him to use those paintings for reference accordingly.

To be honest, I'm not that fussed - model trees are model trees at the end of the day, and these models were a learning curve both for Barry and Mark and for me :) .

Thomas Mante said...


Amazed at some of the books that you bought! mainly because I bought Buchnanan and Anderson's books in the UK - YEARS ago!

As something of a palaeobotanist (of a kind) one thing that strikes me about most trees I see as agamer is that they are out of scale! This is the same effect with buildings or indeed figures.

Hope you and the Kiwi enjoyed the US. Maybe next time you can tempt her southwatds towards GCH, Cowpens, Yorktown and Kings Mountain.

GreenmanTim said...

The "primeval forests" of the New York Frontier would most certainly have included massive White Pines, which nearer the New England Coast were often marked with the King's Arrow as "Mast Trees" for the Royal Navy. They would not have reached these heights in monocultures, though, and would have have grown in mixed stands that included hardwoods like sugar maple. Not many oaks would be that far north in that colder time, but the Champlain and Mohawk Valleys would have supported vast American Chestnut trees, with red and white spruce and balsam fir in the higher elevations. Eastern hemlock, as today, would be a minor componant of the forest, preferring northern slopes and shaded ravines. In places where there had been forest disturbance -largely blowdown - there would be younger trees, including the various birches and hardwoods. There would be no young pines in a closed canopy forest.