Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trees for the DOA Outpost

Well, I'm a bit stuck with the outpost buildings at the moment; one is pretty much done, but I'm just waiting for some final trim I ordered at the model railroad store; another is in process (also needs parts); and the last got lost in the mail, so I'm trying to get a replacement shipment. In the mean time, I thought I'd get started on some vegetation for the outpost.  

From many of the old photos I've seen, palm trees seem to be a common decoration on the main avenues and squares.  I wasn't able to find palms that looked exactly like the types pictured, but the Pegasus Hobbies Type B palms looked reasonable.   Ordering direct from Pegasus was pretty pricey with the shipping (and I live in the same country!), but I found a good deal at the Warstore.  And delivery was really fast!

The kit comes with three large trunks (all identical), bases, and palm fronds of various sizes/shapes that will need to be trimmed off the injection mold points.  The fronds are a softer plastic and can take some bending, but be careful not to over do it, as I managed to snap a few off during construction (I added some of these to the bases for some variety).

I painted the trees as follows:
Trunks: Earth base, German Camouflage Beige midtone, Bleached Sand highlights
Fronds: Olive base, Hauser Light Green midtone, Citron Green highlights, Golden Straw for dried out portions.

When sorting out the fronds, you have enough for two small, two large, and a cap for each tree.  I arranged mine small, the two large, another small, then the cap.   After assembling (which was very easy), I used spray matte sealer on the trees.  Sadly the trees ended up frosting up a bit, so some of the color was lost.   However, in a dusty town I guess that would be expected.

The completed trees look good and are tall enough to extend over my two story buildings, so I think they'll look impressive in the completed square.

 Now I felt the outpost also needed some crops growing near the native huts, and it seems maize and banana are common crops in that area.  Pegasus also makes banana trees, so I added a few of those to my Warstore purchase as well.

These are also soft plastic and you get two shades of green per box (2 medium green, one lighter green).  I have to say the box descriptions have some issues.  The box says 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches, so I was expecting them to look pretty good next to 28mm figures.  Now I don't know what the person who wrote that spends their time measuring, but let's just say they are very generous!  They tallest I was able to assemble was  1 3/4 inches.  If you were to try to really fluff the leaves you might get them up a little bit more, but the leave stalks are so thin they can snap easily.  On the plus side, the box says you are only getting 15 trees per box, but both of mine has 18 each.

Assembling these was a bit tricky. You add 2-3 leave bundles to each stem, and I ran into a few that didn't slide down all the way and either stuck midway (I was using glue as I added then) or snapped off the top of the stem as I tried to move them down. My advice is to assemble the leaves as you want them (without glue or paint), then drip superglue down along the stalk tip into the leaves.  The bases were also a pain.  Besides being too small and letting the trees tip over, the designer though it would be a good idea to use half circle pegs rather than just circles. Now these pegs are maybe 1.5mm wide, so trying to get everything lines up when you have a dab of glue on the tip was just an exercise in frustration. Lastly, there are no dedicated slots for the banana bunches or flowers (you also won't have one for every tree), so you just have to add the stems where you can between the leaves.

Since the trees were so unstable, I decided to glue then down to strips of fiberboard and add some base texture before painting.

The banana trees I've seen had fairly bright green leaves, so I kept the base plastic green and drybrushed with the Hauser Light Green and Citron Green used on the palm trees.  The trunks went from Golden Straw to Orange Brown to German Camouflage Black at the base.  The banana flowers  were base coated with the same Camouflage black and highlighted Violet Red.  For the banana bunches, I used Citron Green, washed with Camouflage Black, then highlighted with Golden Yellow and Light Yellow.

In the end they weren't as grand as I hoped for (I think they'd look better with 20mm figures), but will work as as young trees.


  1. Both the B palm trees and the banana trees look very nice. Which company paints were you using to spruce them up?

    Have you tried Pegasus' A palm trees?

  2. Thanks! These were painted with both Vallejo model paints and Americana craft paints. I haven't tried the Style A palms.

  3. Just got a pack of Banana trees myself for my African campaign. Does not help that they dont come with some kind of instructions. Thanks for the assembly instructions, a great help.