First off, let me acknowledge that it has been a long time since I posted to this blog. I had abandoned miniature gaming in favor of PC gaming for more than three years. I did pick up a paintbrush and my wooden soldiers every so often, but honestly I had lost the inspiration. There are a number of things I could blame – the disintegration of the local gaming group, three separate local hobby shops going out of business – but the reality is that PC gaming is easy (little to no preparation or cleanup), visually pleasing, and you can usually find a game at any hour day or night. Hopefully this post is a sign that I have found my way back to miniature gaming, or at the very least, making more of my wooden warriors.
The one issue I am constantly faced with is appropriate terrain for my wooden warriors. Given that they are an odd scale (somewhere around 42mm, foot to eye), you are unlikely to find commercially available terrain. Furthermore, all of the "realistic" terrain seems at odds with the "whimsical" nature of my wooden warriors.
One day while strolling through Hobby Lobby in the wood crafts section and I spied these wooden trees on the bottom shelf. They are easy to miss, but look for them. There are usually three different sizes, the smallest being 4" tall and $1.99 each, the middle being about 5" tall and $2.99 each, and the tallest being about 6" tall and $3.99 each. You can see the three tree sizes below, alongside my wooden warriors for comparison. They look great and fit the part.
I feel like these trees are a bit on the expensive side, but I have not found a good source for them elsewhere. I found some 2 3/4" trees on Amazon, five for $13.20. (These would be great for DM Matt's 25mm scale fantasy craftees or his historical craftees, which are the same scale.) American Woodcrafters Supply has 2" trees for an incredibly low price of $4.95 for a bag of 12. It gets even cheaper if you buy in larger quantities. (Yes, this is the kind of markup you are paying for when you buy from Hobby Lobby or Michaels.) Woodworks Ltd. has 2 3/4" trees, 25 for $18.00. Woodworks, however, will make custom items, so I should contact them and get a price for 4', 5", and 6" trees.
Of course, you can always find a Chinese manufacturer on Alibaba and deal direct, but the minimum orders may surprise you. I found the 2 3/4" tall trees for $0.50 a piece, but the minimum order was 10,000 pieces. Even I am not that crazy to place an order like that! (By the way, the trees at Hobby Lobby are all manufactured in China, so it is not like going direct is all that different than what they are doing.) But no 4" or taller trees. Guess I am stuck with Hobby Lobby for now. I buy a couple every week or two and my collection grows.
At first I painted mine with cheap craft paints, but as always, it takes so many coats. Later I found that some of my unused, bought-cheap-at-a-sale Flames of War paints not only covered in 1 to 1 1/2 coats, but they looked nice too. Always nice to mix up the colors.
One final note: these trees are clearly not manufactured by machines, but by hand. There are a lot of variations in height and width. I even have one where the base was cut crooked so the tree leans. (That was a selling point.) Although I wish I could find a cheaper source, I think these trees perfectly fit the style of the figures. What do you think?
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