How to fix your Citadel Wood to have something resembling actual leaves using the new LukesAps foam flocks
You all probably know the Citadel Wood set. This is your bog standard tabletop wood. The rules of GW's games suggest this is the wood you should use. You know: for random terrain placing, for armies that can put additional wood on the table, or for all the funny rules about mysterious terrain, that can eat you alive.
This is all fun and all, but there is one problem with this set: the tree foliage is totally crap. It looks like some umbrellas, captured by the wind, from unwary pedestrians, and cast upon barren, winter tree-tops.
For many years I tried to find something to replace them with. I experimented with plastic boxwood twigs, but they looked too artificial. I used model train trees, but they looked too realistic, and got ruined quickly anyway, as they are too delicate for serious wargaming.
Now recently I stumbled upon a video from LukesAPS, where the guy promises that if you spray his flocks with watered-down PVA glue, they will withstand the rigour of having miniatures roll over them back and forth. So I decided to give it a try!
One other thing I want to mention before we begin is that Luke does usually a diorama-style terrain, which looks absolutely gorgeous — check out his channel. However in game terms, his terrain would usually be classified as impassable, and would function basically as a decoration. I on the other hand prefer a much more gamey terrain. I want my elven cavalry to gallop through it in close formation!
This is a part of a more general idea of the terrain being functionally a part of the board for a wargaming board game. As a house rule, I still use 4th edition 40k abstract area terrain rules, in place of the more contemporary true line of sight, which is neither true nor a line of sight. But this is a subject for another time.
I have already painted the tree trunks and ground long ago, as these are great. Unlike the leaves. To cover them with flock, I use Luke's instructions. I start with covering the grassy part of the base with PVA glue and then add some medium green flock.
The next step is to add the same flock using a sieve. I believe this is where the 2-in-1 part of the flocks' name comes from. You just press them through the sieve to get a fine finish.
I had no problems cleaning the sieve afterwards.
I continue by adding some other shades of the flock to add some natural variety. I press them slightly into the PVA glue, but not over the top, as I will spray all this with the glue afterwards.
Now for the tree foliage, I am using the Clump Flock Tear Sheet. I just tear pieces of it and push them against the branches.
Bear in mind that I am going for an "old oak" effect. It happens that oak trees, especially old ones, have clumpy foliage like this, while for example lime trees, that is linden, tend to have pretty orderly foliage bubble, that conveniently resembles their individual leaves. But let's leave linden for now.
Let's talk about the price for a moment. These flocks are not particularly cheap. I don't care that much, just be aware that you will use an entire pack of "clump flock tear sheet" for those three trees, and I paid 4 pounds 80 for one such pack. The 2-in-1 packs cost the same, and last for much longer, but turning them into tree foliage would be more complicated.
Now I follow the Luke's advice and spray everything with watered down PVA glue. Note that this process is super messy. Really. You should protect the room you are doing it in.
After spraying it once, I sprinkled some lighter 2-in-1 flock here and there to make the clumps more natural.
And then I sprayed them with PVA again and I made a huge mess in the room again.
Be mindful to spray the trees from all sides, including the bottom. Basically all the foliage has to be wet and white.
Now, after forever (meaning 10 hours), it has all finally dried up. The flock on the ground is quite sturdy. As to the tree foliage, I have some reservations. It is definitely more resilient, than on the model train trees I used before, but it is also not as comfortably hard, as I'd like.
Spraying it another time with PVA does not make sense. This wood took so much PVA, everything is already covered in a thick layer, and has a hard glossy shine.
Speaking of which: the next step is removing the shine. It is super easy. You just paint it over with a paint medium, like this Lahmian Medium from Games Workshop.
This is a trick you can use also on your miniatures. It allows me to coat my models with a hard polish, because the bits, where too much shine would be bad, can be *un-shined* with this paint medium.
I really like how the 2-in-1 flocks look on the base. I will definitely use them going on, on all my area terrain. Not only it looks great, *and* does not fall off, but it also gives a nice contrast to a normal static grass used for open terrain.
As to the tear sheets, they also look very good, but I am still not convinced, they will survive kids throwing lead models into them. I meant "normal gaming".
In the end I recommend Lukes Aps flocks.
And whatever flock you use — have fun with your hobby.