There’s a saying in Japan about how the life of a samurai and the life of a cherry blossom are the same. Both lead beautiful but short lives.
With the cherry blossom so entwined into samurai culture, it was almost obligatory that I include some blooming cherry trees in the terrain for my samurai skirmish gaming project.
A search on the internet quickly revealed a very cheap source of model cherry trees from a Hong Kong-based eBay store, The Style Home. I was astonished at not only the low price for the trees, but also the very reasonable postage costs to New Zealand. So how could I resist?!
These trees are mainly intended for N and HO scale model railways, which are both smaller than the 28mm figure size I use for my gaming. So I had to look carefully amongst the products in the eBay store to find the largest sizes. In the end I settled on a pack of 20 medium-sized trees, and one pack of 5 larger ones.
They arrived relatively quickly (about a week or so). The trees were tightly packed into plastic bags, so I’ll need need to tease out the branches to get the right look. But this will be easy enough, as they’re made of twisted wire.
The foliage and blossoms are shredded sponge glued onto the branches. Overall, I think they look really effective, and certainly miles better than any of my homemade trees.
The only problem is that they have no bases. So I bought some metal washers for this purpose. The heaviest ones I could find were square, which is a departure from my normal round or hexagonal tree bases. But with suitable texturing, they should look OK. I could maybe tart some of them up with an ornamental Japanese lantern or two, a small carp pond, or a raked gravel garden studded with mossy stones!
However, the biggest issue so far is getting the trees to stick to the bases. I’ve tried inserting them into the holes in the washers with Liquid Nails. I did this last night, but 24 hours later the glue still hasn’t yet dried, so the trees are currently supported on glasses, vases, walls etc whilst they set.
I’m not sure yet if the Liquid Nails bond will be strong enough, bearing in mind the huge leverage imposed by such a tall tree stuck in such a shallow hole. So if this doesn’t work, I’ll have to figure out something stronger (maybe by seeing if I can splay out the bottom wires from the trunk into roots).
All in all, they’re great trees, as you can see in the picture above of two of the larger trees. They certainly look realistic enough to bear out the old Japanese proverb:
“The flower of flowers is the sakura [cherry blossom]. The samurai is the man among men.”
By the way, the same company makes many types of green trees too. And for those with a Victorian Science Fiction turn-of-mind, they make some lovely cheap working street lamps that would be perfect for gas-lit London.