Work in Progress

Tyre 332 BC

Posted by Wolfgang Meyer on 02 May 2016, 15:11

Again a fantastic job! :yeah: :yeah: :yeah:

Wolfgang
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Wolfgang Meyer  Germany
 
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 05 May 2016, 11:30

Wolfgang and Andreas, thank you for your positive replies.

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What you see in this single post has not been build for Tyre in particular but (some years ago) for our Greek-Persian campaigns of the 5th C. BC. and Philippos II of Macedons campaigns against the Greek City States.

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Limestone block bases topped with plastered mudbrick. This way of building defensive walls was common in the bronze age but still in use all around the Mediterranean sea up till the Roman Empire era.

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The Heroon of Trysa and the Nereid Monument, both from early 4th century BC Lycia in present day Turkey, show walls with these typical merlons.

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Also the towers were topped this way.

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Tyre's eastern walls facing the mainland where Alexander approached the city have been recorded as massive, mortared limestone walls, raised to a higher level by King Hiram around 950 BC and re-enforced and raised to an even higher level in 332 BC. So my mudbrick walls have nothing to do with that. But it has also been recorded that Alexander managed to breach some weaker walls near the Egyptian harbour at the southern seaside of the town with rams mounted on ships. These walls may have been much thinner, lower, or made of inferior material like rubble stone or plastered mudbrick.

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Wall, shed, house and steps are all cut out of one massive block of foam.

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Skytian mercenary archers

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Single block mudbrick walls like those used for building houses and sheds were often enforced by horizontal wooden beams to keep the structure together.

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Tiled roofs were scarce in Tyre around 332 BC. Its a typical Greek thing and abroad Greece it was used mainly for the more expensive buildings.

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A wall that has been breached already has been hastily repaired with unplastered mudbrick.

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At the back of the wall the impact of the damage is visible too.

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Since these walls are cut in a vertical angle, it creates some unusual joints...

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...but a very lively snake like shape when the different elements are put together.

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Mr. Cryns  Netherlands

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Posted by Peter on 05 May 2016, 12:51

Again some rea nice wall sections! :thumbup:
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Beano Boy on 05 May 2016, 17:14

Yes I like the design of the zig zag walls ,and the finished result with the buttress`s and rock looks great. BB
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Posted by Ben90 on 05 May 2016, 19:03

Fantastic work, every update again...
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Ben90  Germany
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 09 May 2016, 11:50

Peter, Beano and Ben, thanks for your nice replies.

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One reason for using massive styropur blocks to sculpt buildings is to avoid ugly joints in the masonry structure.

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But once a miscut is made, it is very difficult to fix it since the typical structure of the foam gets lost after repairing the damage with plaster. Left and right above the rock in the wallplaster, two such diagonal miscuts can be seen, created during the rough shaping of this model with an extra large size carpetcutters knive using it when the 15cm long blade is drawn out to its maximum extension.

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The construction of this wall section shows similarities with the Greek colony citywall of Empuries, Spain.

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This empuries wall is not build of real sundried mudbrick but some kind of concrete. Sundried mudbrick would have been washed away almost completely after 2400 years. To save time and money, only the lower part is build of heavy limestone blocks.

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Mudbrick has a surprising advantage compared to limestone: it absorbs the impact of a battering ram. Especially when enforced with horizontal wooden beams it also resists earthquakes better than stone walls. It has been plastered to protect it for rain.

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Posted by Wiking on 09 May 2016, 12:26

Impresive work. :yeah:
What is very nice are the pic, explanation (the interesting advantage of mudbrick as an example)
of what you build and why.
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Posted by ToneTW on 09 May 2016, 21:44

This work is stunning, its bringing the Ancient world to life!
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 12 May 2016, 10:42

Thank you so much Wiking and ToneTW for your wonderfull responses.

Three weeks ago Kostis Ornerakis wrote this to me:

Kostis Ornerakis wrote: When I want to give wood an aged look, I put it in an airtight plastic food container with vinegar and steel wool. After a day or two I dry it in the oven.


So Kostis, I did not forget about your suggestion. See what happened:

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I build this gate a while ago after a depiction of the Nereid Monument I took in the British Museum.

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It is surprising to see how little wall space is left between the doors and the battlement on top of it.

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If the original depiction represents realistic proportions (but often it does not) the wallwalk above the gate can only be made of wooden beams.

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These beams are cut out of the same styrodur block as the walls. The result is a very rough wood structure.

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Using the full hight of the townwall this creates space for a majestic gateway.

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But to my taste the styrodur structure of the doors is too rough.

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The design of these doors is based on the 'Gate of Troy' on the 'Francois Vase' in the Louvre, Paris. This Archaic Greek vase dates from the 6th century BC and is (as usual) not showing bronze age (Troy) but contemporary fashion and architecture.

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The construction of this door is puzzling me. I see vertical planks and horizontal studded enforcings. But two crossbeams go UNDER the horizontal studded enforcement beam in the middle. That means 4 layers of wood over another, or at least 3 since the two crossing beams can be expected to be 'sunk' into each other by cutouts.

My interpretation is a little different:

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But look at the wormholes in the wood, created by the structure of the styrodur foam.

Both doors together were cut out of one styrodur piece.

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So I followed Wolfgang Meyers example he showed in his Crobern farmhouse WIP pics. The same gate doors but made of balsa wood this time. I used 5 different layers to create both a base, two layers of vertical planks and two additional layers of decoration/enforcing planks.

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I used waterproof white glue so I can treat it with liquids without falling apart.

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And now comes the part where I have to get rid of the IKEA look of the wood by using Kostis' instructions.

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I did not trust the glossy steelwool sponge from my kitchen so I searched my house for other rusty and metal materials.

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Many questions were rising: does it have to be steel or iron? Does it have to get rusty or only create a non visible chemical reaction? Is airtight important? Is drying in the oven important or can I dry it in the open air as well?

Together with the most promising steelwool, rusty iron and cleaning vinegar I put both doors in a plastic container.

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I closed the container and waited for two days juist like Kostis said.

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The result was disappointing. I expected some lively brown and grey weathered doors. What did I do wrong?

After open air drying there was a bit of result visible, compared to the original balsa color.

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I read Kostis' words again and again and searched the internet for additional information. I created a bunch of testing containers, with natural vinegar and different kinds of metal.

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Apple vinegar....

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... gave this test piece a yellow color.

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I expected the acid and metal to create strong colored liquid but that did not happen. After six days in the container my city gate doors looked like this:

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Very disappointing again since it still looked like it already did after 2 days. But now the waterproof white glue was swollen and visible at some of the joints.

So now the only thing I had left was trying to dry it in my oven.
And look what happened only after a few minutes:

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Very dark color appeared, like tropical wood. So what happened? Probably it is all about the chemical reaction between acid and metal that becomes best visible after drying in great heat.

Here is the difference between 6 or 2 days in the pot and oven dried afterward:

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Of course I could have painted the blanco balsa wood like I did with most of my pinewood river boats. But then part of the woodstructure gets lost.

Kostis thank you so much for your help. As usual with you, every one of your words made sense at the end and I finally succeeded!

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By removing the excessive glue with a knive a new problem appeared: I damaged the wood. So I had to grind and file it a bit.

Also the front lacks the bronze studded plates.

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To get a good metal look I used soft metal wrap from a champaign bottleneck.

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Studs are created by tipping 1 dark brown spot and 4 layers of bronze paint with a pointed brush.

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I am very happy with the result. No more styrodur doors for me from now on.

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The Greek mercenary hoplites are from Newline Design.

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Posted by Kekso on 13 May 2016, 08:38

That small patches of moss on walls are really nice addition. They significantly improve overall impression for me.
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Kekso  Croatia

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Posted by Kostis Ornerakis on 13 May 2016, 17:43

I'm excited because the tip worked. :-D
Most of all, I am honoured you made these experiments :notworthy:
You are a great modeller, who shares his skills!! :notworthy:
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Kostis Ornerakis  Greece
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Posted by dykio on 24 May 2016, 11:24

I was just scrolling along this post again and i must say that you realy are one of the best terrain/scrathbuilding makers seen on the web. The way you do your research, the techniques you use, the pictures and also the way you put figs in the pictures is just wonderfull.
just Briljant :yeah: :yeah: :yeah:
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dykio  Netherlands
 
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Posted by stenfalk on 24 May 2016, 14:23

dykio told everything! From now can not obscure other words, that every compliment will be a repeat of his thoughtful and striking statement. Wonderful modeling, handicraft art at the highest level, historically proven in the same or a very similar style. I would do it that way if I could... :xd:
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Posted by chen on 28 May 2016, 15:25

I feel very regretful to have missed this topic for such a long time. I've read it several times this afternoon and am still feeling that my blood is boiling. This all is just so inspiring, and the effect so nice. I can find no words other than those have been said above about your miniatures, Mr. Cryns. What excites me the most is the way you do your researches and the effectiveness that your detailed in situ surveys have brought into the project. We can know from your explanations that you are not only a very skillful modeller but also a well-trained researcher. You have my doubled admiration.

Greetings from China,
chen
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chen  China
 
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 31 May 2016, 11:31

Dear Kekso, Kostis, Dykio, Stenfalk and Chen,

Thank you all so much for your encouraging replies.

Kekso wrote:small patches of moss on walls are really nice


I am glad you like my mosses.

Kostis Ornerakis wrote:I'm excited because the tip worked.


I am exited too!

dykio wrote:one of the best terrain/scrathbuilding makers seen on the web


Dykio thank you so much but this is maybe a littlebit too much honor to me. :oops:

stenfalk wrote:historically proven


This keeps beeing a very questionable thing to be honest. I would rather call it 'historically illustrated'. There is so little information about the Phoenician culture, especially the later Eastern Phoenicians. That is no doubt the reason I get very few corrections and critics from other forummembers.

chen wrote:I feel very regretful to have missed this topic for such a long time.


Chen there is no reason to feel regret: this topic will go on for the next years since I have a huge load of buildings, ships, siegemachines, trees and figures ready or under construction at the moment. I just need more time to photograph and post them all. So there is time enough to participate in this topic if you feel for that.

chen wrote:I've read it several times this afternoon


I know it may sound a bit naive of mine, but I was surprised to read a man from China is reading a topic about Tyre written by a Dutch amator SEVERAL times.
So I became very curious: who is this (young?) man from China that writes so perfectly English and has so much interest in European history?
I remember one reply of yours to my scratch build tree post but never realised you are such a great painter of figures and more surprising to me: there is a whole DBA gaming 'world' in China at the moment. I always wondered about that: When did historical tabletop gaming reach China?

chen wrote:still feeling that my blood is boiling.


I did not understand this neighter at first. Until I went through all of your posts from last year (sorry, it was far to much to read it all) and realized you only recently started to paint European ancients and you even recently made a Greek tour: not a touristic island-hopping tour like our European crowds use to do. But a mainland tour: where most of the ancient sites are situated.

So may I ask you (and my excuses if I missed this info in your old posts): did you finally make that Greek tour and what sites of interest did you visit?

And one more question: your great knowledge of English language opens the whole world for you, while working form China. But what if I was a Chinese guy with no knowledge of English or European languages: will it be possible to find tabletop gaming rules in Chinese text? Books about the battle of Borodino in Chinese language?

I spend many years studying all the different Great Walls in China as part of an internet group, from Liaoning and North Korea to Gansu and from Inner Mongolia and the Russian border to the Hymalaya's. But most books were only available in Chinese text and had to be ordered in China only. Apart from (the touristic sites of) Ming walls and some Han walls along the silkroad, here in Europe there is almost no knowledge and no interest in all of those other Dynasties' walls and thousands of Chinese fortresses.

So I would like to hear your Chinese side of this subject: What do Chinese books write about the Phoenician walls of Tyrus or the Greek fortifications of Sicily? Does Alexander the Great appear in any Chinese schoolbook at all?
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Posted by chen on 01 Jun 2016, 15:17

Mr. Cryns wrote:So I became very curious: who is this (young?) man from China that writes so perfectly English and has so much interest in European history?
I remember one reply of yours to my scratch build tree post but never realised you are such a great painter of figures and more surprising to me: there is a whole DBA gaming 'world' in China at the moment. I always wondered about that: When did historical tabletop gaming reach China?


Hi Mr. Cryns,
Thank you very much for your serious-minded reply. It's always delightful to have a talking with someone in a traditional way, which means to really have the intention to learn about the person we are to talk with (which is becoming less usual in the Internet Age).
I studied in France for some years and there I got the chance to have a closer touch with historical wargaming, though it was not really the French gamers/modellers who showed me the new world but mostly the Anglo-Saxon gamers/modellers. I'm also an enthusiast in history, both Chinese and global. After returning to China I called up some nice mates to found a club, dedicated to improving this hobby and encouraging the interest on history studies amongst young Chinese people. Every year in Shanghai we organize a big game event aimed on a specific subject and club members from all over the country come bringing their models to form certain scenarios. As far as I'm concerned, we are the only group to do this in China, and I must admit that I was mainly inspired by our members here and of other German/British wargame forums. Here back in China, I might shamelessly say that historical wargaming was introduced as soon as I returned from France. :P

But honestly speaking, I am not very 'professional' in gaming, since our only source of wargame rules are English sets via translation by ourselves. I personally am more interested in scenaraio representations. To answer why I read about this thread several times, I'd say everyone who have read Arrian's <Alexander's Expedition> would get an impression of this siege. And bringing some literary records into nicely looking miniatures is just my taste.

Mr. Cryns wrote:So may I ask you (and my excuses if I missed this info in your old posts): did you finally make that Greek tour and what sites of interest did you visit?

It'd rather be me that shall apologize. I made that trip in 2011 just before my graduation, and because of the busy work thereafter I was away from the forum for quite some time. That trip in Greece was indeed a very pleasant one. Museums in Athens, harbor of Piraeus, ancient churches in Thessaloniki, sunrise and sunset in Santorini, etc. However I was not in a mood of searching something particular, but rather of gathering a brief experience in an ancient country in the modern era, things like that.
Last year's theme of our big game is "total war in the Mediterranean world in 200 BC". I;ve just realized that I haven't post the pics here. My apologies again. You can have a look here:
http://societyofgentlemengamers.org/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=10319

Mr. Cryns wrote:And one more question: your great knowledge of English language opens the whole world for you, while working form China. But what if I was a Chinese guy with no knowledge of English or European languages: will it be possible to find tabletop gaming rules in Chinese text? Books about the battle of Borodino in Chinese language?

Not at all for gaming rules :( , I must say. Warhammer and other fantasy games are relatively more popular than historical games, thus their Chinese version books are commercially available, as well as 1 or 2 WW2 rules maybe. Books on war history are plenty, but detailed accounts on specific battles are rare, but this is becoming much better in the past 5 years.

Mr. Cryns wrote:I spend many years studying all the different Great Walls in China as part of an internet group, from Liaoning and North Korea to Gansu and from Inner Mongolia and the Russian border to the Hymalaya's. But most books were only available in Chinese text and had to be ordered in China only. Apart from (the touristic sites of) Ming walls and some Han walls along the silkroad, here in Europe there is almost no knowledge and no interest in all of those other Dynasties' walls and thousands of Chinese fortresses.

So I would like to hear your Chinese side of this subject: What do Chinese books write about the Phoenician walls of Tyrus or the Greek fortifications of Sicily? Does Alexander the Great appear in any Chinese schoolbook at all?


You win my admiration again, Mr. Cryns. ;-) I think you may have already known much more than most Chinese know about the Great Wall. Even I am not familiar with this subject. I guess there must have been detailed, useful books on them, except that they should probably be written by professional scholars and published only for researching uses. It's a pity that in China there are not enough authors capable of turning latest academic researches into popular and easy-reading books without losing historical accuracy. Not to mention any to introduce Chinese history in other languages. But we have quite good translators to bring in good foreign books, this I must say. One may not find a book about the Phoenician walls of Tyrus, but many more books about more specific themes of global history are appearing in the bookshops. As for us Chinese, Alexander's expedition always brings up the imagination of a what-if encounter of the 2 great civilizations of that time. I guess today's schoolbooks also emphasize a lot on ancient China's exchange with the world, but in a rather brief way though.

Best regards,
chen
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 09 Jul 2016, 18:39

The national tree of Lebanon is the Lebanoncedar, as depicted on the modern Libanese flag. This tree especially likes the colder climate of the high mountains between Lebanon and Syria. Down, near the coast where the agricultural area's are situated, like the environment of Tyre, we find other trees that we know from all around the Mediterranean.

Like the olive tree.

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In the weird world of olive trees, nothing seems to be impossible.

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Also the foliage is found in a wide variety of shape and density.

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My amazement about the olive tree is even bigger since I am living in a country of willows and poplar trees, so I am not used to see old olives. And that is why it is so exciting to build models of them.

For some reason, olive trees are almost not for sale in H0 or any other scale. I don't know why. It is such a common tree. Why does nobody use or need it?

Sculpting the old, twisted trunks with magic sculpt around a wire frame was the easy part of the construction.

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It became more complicated to make this 3-trunk with 3 different wire frames inside.

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But the real problem is the foliage. It took me half a year to find the right touch for branches and leaves. For some reason, my olives did not look like olives.

This was my first try.

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I like it. But it has no foliage, only a dense mass of small branches.

This is what I used: rubberised horsehair. For decades I heared about 'the old school style of making wargame trees using horsehair', a material known best for centuries as furniture seat filler.

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I ordered it from the UK since I could not find it in the Netherlands. I ordered also a cheaper variation: rubberised cocofibre. I received both. And guess what?

Both looked exactly the same.

The cocofibre was cocofibre. And the horsehair was cocofibre too.

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To be sure I burned some of it. No smell of horsehair. Just smell of burned grass.

I took a loupe and did detect some real animal hair between the cocofibre! Possibly dog hair since is was way too short and thin to be horsehair. Both products had these traces of animal hair inside. The cocofibre had less and the one sold as 'horsehair' had a bit more.

So I contacted the company who sold it to me. The man answerd me he never looked at the product as close as I did. He did not see the difference between horsehair and cocofibre himself so he marked cocofibre with dots of paint to see the difference with the more expensive horsehair for himself.

What kind of British logica is that???

Anyhow, since it came all the way from England I did not send it back but decided to use it. The idea of the rubberisation is the fibres stick together. That works very easy and fast. After adding the cocofibre twigs, some spray glue will fasten the fibres real good together at the end.

But the foliage was still a problem.

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The right one is what I had, just using the color of the rubber.
The left and middle ones look much too dense and too green.
I kept trying to find more transperancy and silver or grey leafs.
I used grey green spraypaint but it did not work out too well.

To get more transparency, less twigs and more branches are needed. So I took off all the cocofibre again.

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I trippled the branches using iron wire.

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White glue is used to give them volume.

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Finished with acrylic paint.

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In a long search for the right foliage I ended up with viscose sponge. I grinded it in an old coffee grinder to get extremely small flakes.

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These were given a minth-green acrylic paint dye.

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I added the rubberised cocofibre again, covered the trunk with plastic foil to spray only the twigs with gluespray.

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Finally knowing how to do it, I re-constructed all of my olive grove trees.

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Posted by Beano Boy on 09 Jul 2016, 22:01

Olive Tree`s are looking Splendid! Trial & Error Learning until one is satisfied with the end result. BB
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Posted by ADM on 12 Jul 2016, 21:32

Living close to the Mediterranean sea I can see some of those trees not far from where I live, very realistic work ! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

I'm reluctant to use such foliage for wargames because it's beautiful but couldn't resist for being placed an removed very often without damages and losses.
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Posted by renikart on 13 Jul 2016, 00:13

A big compliment to you, mr. Cryns! The details and structure on the buildings, miniatures and trees are magnificent! Although this period in time doesn't affect me as much, I really enjoy the details and background research. I always enjoy doing research when starting a new project, just to find the historical correct way to paint and also learn more about the subject.
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