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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Tiny leaves

I'm always looking to improve the quality of my miniatures. If I'm being brutally honest with myself, my painting is probably as good as it's ever going to get. My eyesight slowly going south and not getting much time to practice being the main culprits.

A friend told me that it's faces, bases and flags that define the quality of the completed job. So I've decided to look at some small and simple ways to improve my basing. The usual static grass is already in use, along with the tufts you get from the likes of MiniNatur and Army Painter. I saw some of these little leaves on the bases of miniatures on CMON that I liked the look of. So I did a Google search and discovered that they are actually a natural product. Birch tree seed scales to be precise.

Now, Silver Birch trees have to be (arguably) the easiest type of tree in the UK to identify due to their silvery grey bark. Here's one at the end of my street.

Now the scales we are looking for come from the catkins produced by the tree. But I've left it too late in the year and they've all fallen from the tree. Not to be deterred I searched around the tree and found a lot of rusty coloured mush. On closer inspection this contained the bits I was looking for. I took a handful home and dried it out in the oven on a low heat for about 15 minutes on a baking tray. Having picked out the items of dubious origin, this is what I'm left with.

You can see the 'leaves' are definitely in there, even if there's still quite a bit of fluff, grass and unidentifiable matter in the tub, but as I'll be using it one or two bits at a time, I can live with this.

Here's a unit of my Roses Billmen, with fallen leaves scattered strategically around the base. I think it looks acceptable - I might paint the leaves a dark red to pick them out, but I'll need to procrastinate on this a bit.


  1. I think they look great Martin.
    May have to have a load of these sabot trays for my awi.
    The leaves add that special little touch.
    I too have started to put more on the bases of my own troops, usualy a bit of battlefield debris.
    I know what you mean about the eyesight.
    My specs are getting stronger every year.
    At this rate i will be using binoculars to paint within 5 years lol.

  2. Very nice effect. I get some very odd looks picking up bits and pieces from the local park - bark, twigs, seeds etc. but as good as its free and looks good I don't care.

  3. Me to! I like them on the bases!


  4. Next time we meet Martin ask me about laser eyesight correction.

    I've done it and my painting is hanging in there!