A Tree Grows In Malifaux
by W. Ambrose "TheBugKing" Coddington

Tools Needed:
Wire cutters
Two sets of pliers
Sculpting tools
Cheap paintbrushes
Scroll saw
Disk sander
Kitchen oven
Disposable plastic tub

Materials Needed:
Two gages of wire. One about 1/16" diameter and one 1/32".
Sculpy (or another polymer clay)
Clump foliage flock (I used Woodland Scenics)
Green poly fiber (Woodland Scenics)
Fine Green Flock
Medium Green Flock
Milliput (super fine works best)
Yellow horse hair (Woodland Scenics)
Medium talus (Woodland Scenics)
Acrylic Paint (I use Artist Paint that comes in tubes. Black, Burnt Umber, Umber, White, Cadmium Green, Emerald)
Cyanoacrylate glue (Super Glue or CA)
Whiteglue (PVA)
1/8" hard board
Wax paper

Section 1 : Creating the Tree Armature
Begin by deciding how many primary branches your tree needs. In this case I settled on ten. Cut the heavier gage wire to a length of about 18". (A1)

Twist the primary wires together and begin forming the basic structure for the tree. It is fine to begin with three or four wires and then add more as you work up the tree. I also find that if you twist into something that resembles roots it will give the tree stability up until you cut the off making the fabrication process go much smoother. (A2 & A3)

Run out a length of the smaller gage wire to about 30" and then double it up repeatedly until you get a length of about 6". Cut all of the loops on one end. Then wrapped the resulting bundle around one of the primary branches. You will have to make a bunch of decisions about how the final tree will look. At times it makes sense to make lengths that are 8" and twist the into additional branches. (A4)

Section 2: Bulking Out The Tree Trunk
Begin by choosing one of the outer most branches. Roll a sausage of Sculpy about the length of the branch. Place the Sculpy along one side of the wire and begin working it around the wire. It may take a few passes but you are aiming to cover the wires completely. Continue working from the outer-most branches towards the main trunk. This will give you something to hold on to. (B1, B2, B3 & B4)  

Finish by bulking out the main trunk and adding in some protrusions where you intend to add roots. Then use a sculpting tool to score in a bark pattern again working from the outer-most branches towards the main trunk. Again, this will give you something to hold on to as you work. Finish by baking the tree.(B5, B6 & B7)

Section 3: Painting The Trunk, Making the Spanish Moss, Adding Clump Flock
To paint the trunk, use a cheap brush and lay down a base coat of black mixed with a small amount of burnt umber and green. Brighten the color by adding more amounts of burnt umber and green. Once the base coat is dry, drybrush a few highlights of black, umber, cadmium green and white mixed in about equal measures. (C1)

To create the Spanish moss begin by stretching clumps of poly fiber into 3" x 1" clumps. Try to get the most of the fibers running in the same direction. (C2)

Take each clump and stretch it evenly over a small dowel. Add a bead of CA glue along the top to secure the clump in place. Water down some wood glue to 50% water 50% glue. Dip your fingers in the glue and then dip them in some medium flock. Message the mix into the bottom of the poly fiber clumps, stretching the clump as you do so. (C3)

Allow the moss clumps to dry for a day and then take a pair of scissors and cut them off of the wooden dowel as close to the dowel as you can get. (C4)

Add CA glue to the top edge of the moss clump and press the clump onto a horizontal section of tree branch. Repeat for the pieces you have made. (C5 & C6)

To add the foliage to the tree take clump flock and glue small pieces onto the exposed wires. This is a time consuming process so be patient. The more meticulous you are the more natural the tree will look. (C7& C8)

Section 4: Creating The Base and Adding Final Details
Set the tree on a piece of hard board and trace a circle around the tree footprint. This is where you will make a decision about weather you want a large area terrain piece or a single element terrain piece. For this project I chose to go with area terrain as the tree is quite large. (D1)

Cut out the traced piece of hard board out and bevel the edge. Once that is done, mix up some Milliput and mount the tree to the base with it. You can glue the tree down in the stop instead of using the milliput but de to the base of the tree being very uneven you will get a better bond using the milliput. (D2, D3 & D4)

Once the milliput is dry, use the flexible shaft to cut off the protruding wire "root" pieces. Use more milliput to sculpt in the roots on the base. I went ahead and added a few rocks and some other root details to the base for character. Base coat the base in a mix of 75% burnt umber 5% black 5% emerald and 5% white. (D5 & D6)

Use watered down wood glue to apply fine flock over the base as well as some talus (D7).

While the base is drying take a piece of wax paper and add a bunch of dots of whiteglue. Take some small clumps of horse hair and press them into the glue dots in the middle of the clumps. Once the glue dries, remove the horse hair clumps from the wax paper and cut the pieces in half. (D8 & D9)

Take a pair of pliers and apply several horse hair clumps to the base in various places using CA glue. Glue some medium flock to the base in various places over the base. And then add some dark green static grass to the top. Glue yellow static grass into the recess of the roots and scatter some over the base.

Once everything is dry take the airbrush and spray black over the entire piece to darken everything up. Focus on the yellow flock, the base of the horse hair clumps, any wires that you may have missed while adding the clump flock and the places where the Spanish moss attaches to the tree branches.

Have Fun and Good Luck!

Ambrose "TheBugKing" Coddington