Cherry blossoms for my samurai

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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.

cherry03

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.

cherry01

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).

cherry02

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.

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20 Comments

Filed under Samurai, Terrain

20 responses to “Cherry blossoms for my samurai

  1. Those are very nice trees. I am interested how they hold up. have you thought about one or two smaller round washers glued to the square washer to plant it in, then texture paint the whole mess to blend in?

    • That’s a good idea, Chris. And it may be easier than splaying out the wire as roots, as I was thinking of doing.

      I’ll see how strongly my current glueing holds up. But if it isn’t strong enough (as I suspect it won’t be), I think I’ll try out your idea next. Thanks so much for that …

  2. They look nice Roly, reminds me of the house I grew up in, we had a large Cherry blossom on the front garden lawn…

    As for basing, for the trees I have been recently doing, I used a hole cutting adapter for my drill to cut out disks from a sheet of 3mm mdf .

    I then simply hot glue, using a hot gluegun, the tree to the wood base – instant bond! Then I slap pva/water 50/50 mix over the base and round the glued joint and sprinkle on flock as desired. The flock soaks into the wet glue and pretty much dries to the touch straight away. Job done in 30 mins…

    If you haven’t got one, the hot glue guns are cheaply available from DY/craft stores…

  3. They are beautiful, what a find and more to the point it sounds like the solution to the bases has been found.

  4. Pingback: Sharpie and Harper in the cherry blossoms | DRESSING THE LINES

  5. hmm. I think I just ordered the wrong trees. looks like mine have greenery as well as pink blossoms. Couldn’t find a set of 20 all pink like yours.. can you give the exact name he lists them under?

    • Hi Howard

      Both mine had some green leaves amongst the blossoms.

      The trees I liked best were listed as:
      5pcs 14cm 1:50-65 RR Train War Layout Set Model Trees w/ Pink and White Flower

      The slightly smaller clumpier ones were listed as:
      2x 10 Scale OO HO Model Pink Flower Trees Train RR Set War Scenery Landscape

  6. Pingback: My stereotypical Japanese terrain for ‘Ronin’ | DRESSING THE LINES

  7. Pete

    Yep, you convinced me even though I had been building tree modules for FIW. Order placed with thestylehome, you should get commission.

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  9. Pete Garnham

    Arteis, I made some palm trees for Vietnam and faced a similar quandary on how to attach the tree to the base. In the end I pushed a thumb tack (drawing pin) upwards into the base of the tree trunk and then hot glued the whole thing in place on the base. I used the same technique when I made some orchards for the Battle of Ridgeway using Ebay bought plastic Chinese trees. It works like a charm.

  10. Ouch, there are not selling to Czech Republic… Where should I get Sakura trees now? 😉 Anyway thanks for tip.

  11. Ahhh, thanks for having this page. Just found your trees! 🙂 Thanks for telling us about where you got them from. They look fantastic!

  12. Pingback: Kurîpu Jima: Buildings and Sakura | sho3box

  13. Thanks for this post (and all of your posts in this series). I spotted it when I was starting my feudal Japanese terrain making a few months ago and immediately bought precisely the same trees that you did from precisely the same vendor.

    I went about basing differently. I bent the bottom fifth or so of the tree trunks ninety degrees and then hot glued it to circular MDF bases. I used the hot glue to then build up the base a little and create “roots”.

    I subsequently covered the roots and any damaged parts of the trunk with Citadel Stirland Mud texture paint. Its a very good match for the trees trunks.

    Photos etc are here if you fancy a look.

    https://sho3box.com/2016/06/12/kuripu-jima-buildings-and-sakura/

    Thanks again!

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