This weeks Bothan Report is a departure from my usual " unit focused" videos/articles and will be instead focusing on some of the modeling aspect of the Star Wars Legion hobby. I have decided that my first project of the new year is going to be a new game board to play on. The friends that I play with already know that I prefer small table size matches ( time and space considerations make it ideal for me) so my Endor table will be a 3' X 3' table and of course heavily focused on forest terrain.
This will be part 1 in the series detailing how I am making the game table in stages. The articles by no mean reflect a definitive starting point or your own table as I am sure by the end everything will come together nicely.
I am starting my table project with the part that I viewed as the most challenging...the giant Endor trees. You know, the ones that no one ever saw anything but the trunks of.
Lets tackle this in steps.
Assembling your tools and parts
-Crumpled newspaper or paper bag
-Toilet Paper Rolls
-Crayola Model Magic ( buy lots )
Step 1: Assemble your tree trunk
Take your 3-4 toilet paper cores and squeeze them into each other until you have the desired trunk height. I find that 3-4 make a good height.
Stuff the core trunk with paper or anything you have lying around the house that will reinforce the rolls when you squeeze them. You want to maintain the shape of the trunk until the clay used in the next step fully hardens.
Step 2: Bust out your clay
The " Magic" of this project is truly the air dry clay from crayola. I have used it in the past and the stuff is amazing. Not only is it fun to mold with and totally not messy but it eventually hardens to a hard clay shell. I bought mine at the local Michaels shop and they had a sale ( buy 2 get 1 free) so shop around . Expect to pay approx $6 a pack and a single pack should take care of 2 small trees or 1 larger sized tree.
The clay needs to be sealed in a ziploc bag after you open it and assuming you dont use it all right away. Try to make strips and sections that are thin and fully stretched out. NOT too thin however as the bark that you are creating with it still has some etching that needs to be done and you dont want it tearing revealing the toilet paper core underneath. Think a little thinner than a pancake.
Step 3: Start applying your bark to the core
One your clay is rolled out to the thickness you are happy with you need to take your clay pancake and lay it down on the counter. Place the core trunk in the middle and then sculpt the base of the tree around the toilet cores. Make sure you sculpt the roots at this stage and provide enough of a clay foundation to support the tree. If you don't create a good base it will most likely topple during game play killing many Ewoks in the process. apply some glue to the seam where your base connects to the cores.
Step 4: Work your bark up the trunk
Now that your base is completed you can start modeling your way up the core trunk applying the pancakes made of clay up until you reach the top. Make sure you cover the top of the cores as well. the top can be modeled to look like the top is either flat or broken off. The payers wont be focusing on the tops of the trees as it is assumed they extend well beyond the game play height anyway.
Continue to apply glue to the cores as you work up just so the clay has some added bonding to the inner trunk.
At this stage if you want to add some " veins" to the trunk you can make some small balls and roll them out like long skinny worms and attach them to the tree trunk as well.
Step 5: Texture the trunk
Once you have the desired look of the trunk and all its protrusions ( you can get creative and add branches and stumps) you can start to texture it by etching it with your modeling knife and steak knife. Be rough and get a really good " barky" look to it. Make sure you don't cut too deep so it reveals the cardboard cores underneath it. Move from down to the top and then make sure you texture the roots and base as best you can.
Step 6: Let your clay harden
That's it for now. You can put your creation in a safe room temperature space and just let it do its thing. The clay should harden significantly in the next few days and then you will be ready to go on to our painting step.
If you have any questions be sure to leave them in the comments below.
Stay tuned and make sure check back for the next article where we will tackle painting your trees.