Medieval Fantasy Scenery

With the recent events, I’ve found the need to do something relaxing for the mind.
I had started working on a few items of scenery. I’m not skilled at this, so I started with a few items and cheap consumables.
I think that proper scenery really helps with immersion and that’s an important part of the solo experience.

What I used

  • Air dry clay
  • Plaster
  • Acrylic paints
  • White glue
  • Thin wire
  • Thin kidcraft wood
  • Green hard sponge
  • Tube of toilet paper
  • Furniture pads
  • Various assortment of tools

The trees

For the tree trunk I took three pieces of wire and twisted them tightly using two pairs of pliers. On purpose, I left the bottom a bit untwisted to give them roots and base them, and a lot more room on top, untwisted for the branches.
The wire I used had a green plastic coating, which makes it useable as is if you don’t want to bother yourself further and also helps with the branches. The plastic makes it a bit more difficult to get the clay stuck on it afterwards.

For the foliage I used common kitchen hard green sponge. It’s like the hard part of regular sponges, but comes sold separately.
I had seen a video here on how to make the foliage.
I attached it to my wire armature by piercing through each piece of foliage and then twisting the wire to hold it.

tree with foliage

I then used furniture pads and stuck them to the bottom of the trees to base them. That’s an optional step, but I believe it will help with the overall durability of the piece if you decide to go ahead and add a clay trunk.

I then shaped air dry clay around the trunk and roots. I didn’t add any of it to the branches as I found the risk of contaminating the foliage too high. I sculpted a few nooks here and there on the clay to give it a bark feel.
I also spread a thin layer of plaster on the part of the pad that was left uncovered to make sure it will be paintable afterwards.

trees with clay

I then did a first hand of paint to it, using a brown base for the trunk and a sand-grey base for the bottom.

trees first hand painted

For the finished, I did a second hand of paint (hadn’t used primer). And dry brushed the trunks and roots with a brown-green color.

The Tower

For the armature I used toilet paper carton tube.
I measured the dimensions I needed (a rectangle of 2πr * h) and spread my air dry clay onto a surface.
I textured the surface by hand using a long flat stick and a flat screwdriver to make the bricks/blocks. Then carefully I removed the clay from the surface and applied it to the tube which I first had dampened first to make it stick, as suggested in the video here.

Textured tower

I didn’t do a very fine job and had many gaps and crooked look. I left it to dry at least 48hours under a damp towel as suggested in the video above, to avoid the formation of cracks, and it worked.
After it dried out I covered some severe gaps with acrylic plaster.

Now, I wanted a roof and some battlements.
For the roof I took a round furniture pad, which seemed to fit exactly right into the tube. For additional strength I poured white glue all around its contact points, first at the top and after it dried, at the bottom. After this dried too I cut out a disc of air dry clay which I textured with little tiles. For texturing I used small heat sinks but any tool could be used.
For the battlements and the inner wall I again measured the surface needed and textured bricks and removed the unnecessary parts afterwards with a spatula to shape the battlements.

Tower with roof and battlements

For the gate I cut out 4 pieces of wood, moistened and added a bit of white glue and mounted them on air dry clay. I cut out the unnecessary parts of the clay while moist. I then moistened the surface of the tower where I wanted the gate and squeezed it carefully there. I plastered the perimeter and mounted some clay bricks from a failed wall attempt. I moistened and put a bit of white glue on the bricks before mounting them. I then proceeded to plaster any gaps.

tower with gate

Once that dried too, I painted a first hand with dark grey acrylic paint. I added a tad bit of white glue to the paint along with water to make it stick and fall into the gaps.

tower first hand paint

I then passed a second hand. Since my tower was crooked and had several gaps, even after plastering, there were places where the paint couldn’t get in. I solved this problem by making a wash of watered down paint, where in the water I had added a drop of dishwasher soap first. It flowed nicely into every last bit.

tower painted

I finished it off with drybrushing with an ochre-gray color.

Finished Tower

Mistakes

My main mistakes were with regards to the tower. I was so eager to set it up that I made no considerations for openings.
Attaching the gate required a lot of consideration, and if I had planned ahead and cut parts of the carton for battlements they would be more refined and easier to do.
I also could not add any windows, and that’s a pity because I would love some arrow slits.