Wednesday, November 20, 2019

WilhelMiniatures Bone Trees

The stuff of nightmares.

Recently, the prolific and incredibly talented Helge Wilhelm Dahl, of WilheMiniatures, created a macabre series of trees that resemble cyclopean bones sprouting from the ground. He created these “bone trees” from real pig bones that he boiled and cleaned. Fortunately for us, he created silicone molds of the trees, and started to sell them them via Etsy! We were able to get the entire set of five of the trees, and wanted to let people know our thoughts about them!

The set of bone trees made the trip from Norway safely!

The set of bone trees from the box, without any cleanup.

Each tree is a single piece of cream colored resin, giving them all a satisfying weight. Overall, the casts are good, although it is clear that the molds and casting were not done under pressure. Because of this, there are some air bubbles in the resin, as well as some spherical projections formed due to bubbles present in the silicone mold itself. None of these issues are very serious, and can easily be cleaned up with a hobby knife and some modeling putty. The little spheres of extra resin can often be broken loose by applying light pressure with your fingers or the back of a hobby knife. Since the trees are piece of terrain, rather than units in an army, I could see many ignoring these minor flaws entirely, but I think the extra effort is worth it, bringing out the best from the models.

Two of the bone trees next to a Blood Fiend from Ana Polanscak’s Kickstarter.

The bone was painted with a combination of air- and dry-brushing.

I used an airbrush to do the brunt of the paint work on the trees. After priming them light grey, I sprayed them black and did a zenithal highlight/preshade with Daler Rowney white ink. White acrylic ink makes it far easier to get a smooth transition, without the speckling that is prone to occur with regular acrylic white paint (Miniac has a nice video about this). Next I sprayed the bone completely with Vallejo Model Air Dark Brown RLM61 (71.042). I then began mixing in GW Karak Stone, followed by Ushabti Bone to highlight progressively smaller areas of the bone, making the tips of the bone lighter than the base. I then did some dry-brushing with a mixture of Ushabti Bone and Ulthuan Grey. I applied a small amount of Cygor Brown contrast paint along the base of the bone (where it entered the ground) and then added some Contrast Medium above this, and with a clean brush, used it to feather the Cygor Brown upwards, creating a smooth transition. To unify the bone color, I applied a thin coat of Skeleton Horde contrast paint that was heavily diluted with Contrast medium. Finally, to modulate the color a little more, I added a little enamel wash from Ammo of Mig (Track Wash A.MIG-1002), which I then largely removed with Odourless Thinner. The little shrines were painted Dark Gull Gray (Vallejo Model Air 71.277), before dry-brushing them with Ulthuan Grey. They were finished by applying an enamel wash from Ammo of Mig (Brown Wash for German Dark Yellow A.MIG-1000). The bases were painted via dry-brushing with a series of browns from Vallejo Model Color.

Each bone tree has its own unique size and silhouette.

The complete set of painted bone trees!

Having finished painting the complete set of bone trees, I am really excited to play some games with them. I think they will be perfect for Warcry or any skirmish game. The quality of the design and casting is high, making cleanup quick and relatively painless. The models have a lot of detail and texture, making them well-suited for dry-brushing. Ultimately, I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested to visit Helge Wilhelm’s Etsy page and get some of his bone trees! I look forward to seeing what he creates next for the shop, whether it is more imaginative terrain or creepy models!

- Eric Wier


  1. Hey Eric,
    I really like the look of your Bone Trees! The choosen colours look very natural and the transition from the darker bottom to the lighter top is flawless and very nicely executed.
    Best regards!

    1. Thanks! I am glad you like the effect. When I started out I was not sure how well it would work, but am ultimately pretty happy with it!

  2. Do you this 'east European' aesthetic, it really adds something to the hobby

    1. It has been really fun to assemble and paint some models from other artists that I admire (Ana Polansck and Helge). It has also given me the opportunity to try out new painting techniques and stretch my abilities.