ALY MORRISON'S "BUTTERFLY" ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD OF WARGAMES AND TOY SOLDIERS

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Shiny Napoleonics… Merit Alder trees.

Greetings…

On a nice sunny afternoon last week it sat in the garden and stuck together some Merit Alders that I picked up on eBay….

I wasn’t sure whether to leave these as they came or put some paint on them… in the end I decided to paint them… I think they go better with the way I am painting the miniatures-and now the buildings.

I did attempt to glue them together using No More Nails Invisible… this only partially worked… so they are just mostly glued. I think that they will be robust enough… it’s not like I am going to throw rocks at them.


I think that the trees which are an overall dark olive green are the older ones and the more multi-coloured are… relatively speaking… the newer ones. The older ones are made of a better quality plastic and have less flash… I briefly considered trimming the flash off, but decided that life is just too short for that kind of thing.


Once the trees were all assembled I gave them a good spray of Humbrol Grass Green.

The Trunks were painted with Citadel… Dryad Bark.

The Leaves were given a light dry brush of Foundry… Phlegm Green Light 28C.

Everything was given a spray of… Citadel… Munitorum Matt Varnish.



Three of the finished trees with a mounted officer for scale…

I am very pleased with how these have come out… I will probably pick up a few more as time goes by.

In the comments in my last post, my good chum David Bickley pointed out that the building (like these trees) are not actually shiny…
This did get me pondering…and I like a bit of pondering…
I am more than happy to gloss varnish toy soldiers but it has never crossed my mind to gloss varnish terrain pieces.
Looking back through some of my old books and magazines there would appear to be no one gloss varnishing their terrain… 
I think it’s just one of these aesthetic conventions that have always been accepted… I’m sure someone somewhere has done it but it’s not for me.
Mind you I’m not really trying to be ‘realistic’ with my toys soldiers… I’m trying to do something that I like and I find the juxtaposition between the matt and the gloss very pleasing…


The paints are Wargames Foundry and Citadel...
All the best.  Aly


 


41 comments:

  1. This article has actually answered a question - would it be sacrilegious to paint over my Merit trees? Paint it will be! (I have used a hot glue gun to stick mine together with reasonable success).

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    1. I was surprised how well they have come out…Matt

      I look forward to seeing yours when they are done

      All the best. Aly

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  2. Never seen those merit trees before - they look ace - and definitely better matt for what it’s worth.

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    1. They are classic 1960’s model railway fare JBM…
      The first ones I remember seeing were on my older brothers train set… it didn’t take long for them to move to the battlefield for my Airfix ACW figures… (the kitchen table)…

      All the best. Aly

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  3. Those retro trees are a perfect fit for the shiny project. I still have an old Mainly Military resin bridge that is gloss varnished.

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    1. Thank you Phil…
      So your that person who glossed your terrain… cutting edge as always 😁

      All the best. Aly

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  4. Dad gum you Aly. I had decided not to paint my Merit trees and there you go turning out such lovely looking Alders. My favorites are the pines, but the Alders and Poplars are pretty wonderful. Yours are particularly nice with the "snot" green paint...

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    1. Thank you David…
      I finished off one tree as a test… why not try that…
      And then dive in and do them all if you like what you see…
      I would like to get some Pines and Poplars as well they seem to come up on eBay fairly regularly.

      All the best. Aly

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  5. Hello there Aly,

    They look really lovely old chap and I have many happy memories of hunting these down to use with Charge and Battle in days gone by. I picked up a few a couple of years ago but the plastic has perished and they were incredibly brittle - I assume you had no such difficulty?

    All the best,

    DC

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    1. Thank you David…
      I think it’s a bit hit or miss with soft plastic (or as the Merit box’s says ‘Unbreakable Polythene)…
      Depending on a number of circumstances the plastic can degrade and go very brittle… I once found a bag of my old Airfix figures which just crumbled away when handled…
      I have however been very lucky with these… they are as good as new and even came in their original boxes.

      All the best. Aly

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  6. Shiny figures are just wrong! There, I said it. Bits of equipment might be shiny, horses’ coats can be shiny; but not an all over gloss. That’s horrid.

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    1. Each to their own old chap…
      But you had best turn your gaze away… as there is a lot more to come.

      All the best. Aly

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  7. The trees look great and those Merit Alders really capture the look you are going for.
    I think you are right not to gloss the terrain.

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    1. Thank you Paul…
      I am very pleased with the results.
      I shall of course gloss the river 😁

      All the best. Aly

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    2. Well, the river goes without saying ;)

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  8. Looking good Aly , all about the aesthetics and what looks right to you. 👍

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  9. Cool trees Aly but I am slightly confused about the non shinyness - I get buildings, but trees of this design seem ideal for your retro glossiness I would have thought? Mind you, what do I know, I dont actually like gloss varnish on the toy soldiers in the first place.....!

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    1. Thank you Keith…

      It doesn’t really make much sense when you think about it… but I like it 😁

      All the best. Aly

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  10. The trees have just the right look to my mind.

    Being shiny is a very appropriate thing for toy soldiers but I don't ever remember having or seeing shiny toy buildings or trees back when. Of course there is more and more I don't rememeber so...

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    1. Thank you Ross…
      I suppose if you think about the likes of Britains… all their hollow cast castings, trees, hay stacks, walls etc were all given the same finish… but although we often think of them as being ‘shiny’ they were more of a satin finish.
      Other than that I don’t recall seeing any other ‘gloss’ terrain.
      I suppose I could go all arty farty and say that they matt terrain acts as a perfect canvas to help my toys shine even brighter 😂

      All the best. Aly

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  11. Those Merit Alders are spot on for your shiny project Aly! I remember having similar back in the 1970's, long before K&M bog brush trees came along!

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    1. They fit in well David…
      I quite like the good old K&M bog brushes… A quick spray of Matt varnish helps the flock stay in place and they are fairly robust…

      All the best. Aly

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  12. Save the glossiness for your figures - your terrain basing is enough to make them ‘at one with’ the soldiers. After all the troops are the performers while buildings and trees are just the stage scenery.

    Your article is both helpful and timely as I have some Merit Alders I want to paint. I glued my 60+ Merit Fir Trees with two-part Loctite (you apply an activator with a large marker pen before the superglue) and they've survived many battles with only one or two needing regluing. That said my Alders seem to clip together quite firmly so I’m not sure any glue is required. If only they were hard polystyrene and could be firmly cemented. I mount my trees on large washers, it gives them a lower centre of gravity (less likely to topple), and keeps them safely upright in a Really Useful crate lined with magnetic sheet.

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    1. I like the performers and stage scenery metaphor Rob…
      I had forgotten about the Loctite soft plastic super glue… I will need to get some.

      All the best. Aly

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  13. Hi Aly, I have some of these trees and painted them as you have with Humbrol 80, however, I dry brushed them with a bit of yellow and this improves them further. They should not be gloss.

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    1. It certainly doesn’t take much to put some life into them Bob.

      All the best. Aly

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  14. Have you considered a "soft sheen"? Just saying...

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    1. Strangely enough the Citadel Matt Varnish does have a slightly satin finish to it.
      So “soft sheen” yes😁

      All the best. Aly

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  15. Nice looking trees.

    All the best,
    Helen

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  16. Lovely trees that fit your retro look well,I think you're being sensible about keeping your terrain matt to showcase your shiny troops!
    Best Iain

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  17. Now I haven’t seen those trees for years, in fact forgot all about them! Painting them works well in fact you changed the photo to B/W it could be straight out of an old Miniature Warfare mag😁 I really like this project Aly

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    1. Thank you Graham…

      I really must try some black and white photos.

      All the best. Aly

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  18. Wonderful trees Aly. The choice of colour really does them justice

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    1. Thank you Mark…
      I’ve tried to keep things simple… the fairly clean lines work well with the shiny figures…

      All the best. Aly

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  19. Late reply because I've been thinking about it. They really do match the Old School look - never considered them before but yes, they are ideal for the job and possibly better than more realistic modern trees.

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    1. I think that the fact that the shiny toys are stylised means it makes more sense to have stylised terrain.
      I’m very pleased with how things are starting to come together…

      All the best. Aly

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