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Trees and Cows!

Alright. Finding plastic cows in farm toys that fit with your desired scale then painting them up. Not a big deal.

But what I like to do to make it a bigger deal is to "box" my paints for painting them. I will pick two browns, a lighter one and a darker one. I start with the lighter one. Once I paint one cow, I add a little of the darker color to the palette, mix, and paint the next cow. And so on.

This results in a gradated set of cows in related colors, but no two cows are exactly the same. I think this breaks up the homogeneity a lot. If you combing boxing with shaving some of the hooves to make some short cows and bend the legs a bit to get slightly different angles of stance, you can end up with a quite varied herd without major bovine renovations.

Here is the whole herd with Olaf Gristjuv. The difference between the two "end cows" is pretty obvious in the top pic. But in this one, they blend together much more.

Now to the trees. No, we're not making trees from cardboard. What we're doing is "tetrising" (Yes, that's a verb now ... if you've ever helped someone move apartments, you know what I mean.) the bases. I laid down a rough grid, then divided it up into a set of interlocking shapes.

The we just cut up some aquarium grass into commensurate shapes. It helps to have you son put himself through graduate school at PetSmart, so you can (1) get an employee discount, and (2) know when everything is on sale.

Next, we hit the Crayola Model Magic clay. It's air dry clay. And it stays soft when it dries (not pliable, just soft), so it's not good for a lot of modeling applicaitons, especially when you need details. But it's great for covering a large area or volume like this.

Just roll up your clay into a snake, then wrap it around the base, while the glue (I used Loc Tite indoor adhesive)is still wet, then squish.

From the pictures, you can tell it is best to do this while drunk so everything looks blurry and out of focus.

I didn't want green bases, so I covered it with my "standard ground" paint. Brown paint, wood glue, and ballast. This gives a nice grainy dirt texture without tons of work. If you just use paint and ballast, it won't stick. Add the wood glue.

After I was done with the bases, I picked a lighter brown and did the tree trunks. For the grass ones, I just did the base of the trunk. For the other ones that look more treelike, I pushed a little light brown in for the stems.

I didn't paint up all the stems in detail. I just hit them with enough to create the visual of tree branches. It's the kind of detail that no one will notice that they notice, but they will notice.

Here's Olaf with some new friends and new trees, but that same old pig.


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