Here's a project which grew and grew, well past my original intentions. Oh, well - sit back and enjoy the story!
The Creepy Forest
A little while ago, I obtained a bargain copy of Mantic's "Gloomy Wood" (note that these models seem to have various other names - perhaps in subtly different packaging - such as "Scary Wood" and "Gothic Grounds"). This is an excellent product, with a number of twisted trees and tree stumps. It even includes a few mushrooms! The only criticism I might have is that the trees are somewhat small, but I don't mind this as it makes them easier to store.
I suppose that I could have flocked the branches and made the models into living trees, but I decided to paint these up as bare, dead trunks in keeping with the "gloomy" theme. In hindsight, some trailing mosses or creeping ivy would have been a good addition as well - but I didn't do that.
To mount the trees, I then bought several packs of 4-Ground's "small tree base" and "large tree base" packs. These have respectively 2 or 3 60mm circular plates and an area feature to hold them. I did enlarge the "holes" a bit; the circular bases were too tight a fit in their sockets straight out of the kit.
In order to make the area bases a bit more interesting, I textured them with grit and then added flocked horsehair clumps. These can represent brambles or any other thick undergrowth, as the viewer sees fit.
As an aside, the Mantic trees come with "faces" which can be stuck onto the trees. I only used one of these - you can see it in the picture above.
The Bamboo Forest
Now I had some leftover 4-Ground bases, so what was I to do with them? Well, I still had a few unpainted bamboo models bought some while ago from some Chinese supplier. I finished them off quickly; they made a couple of decent clumps. Mind you, there is something a bit too regular about these bases for my liking.
Ideally I should make a whole lot more of these and have a real bamboo forest, I think.
The Alien Forest
I had used all the 4-Ground bases, so everything was fine, right? Well it occurred to me that I had an old Christmas present which I hadn't yet touched: some alien plants from TheBardsForge on Etsy. I bought some more 60mm MDF rounds and based these up as well.
There are 3 different types of alien plant here. They could be segregated into types on each area feature, or I could "mix and match" to produce a very varied alien plantation.
I finished off the bases with some tufts in various "alien" colours. This was a first for me; I hadn't used tufts before. Still, I can see why people like them: they're a very effective product and extremely easy to use, if slightly pricey.
I'm still not convinced that having a few "terrain features" with a larger number of tree bases that can be slotted into them is a worthwhile project. The actual area features are relatively cheap and easy to build, so it may make more sense to have dedicated areas for each set of trees. That way the "alien" and bamboo areas wouldn't need to have bramble thickets on them either. Instead they could have their own, dedicated texturing.
Even if, with hindsight, I might have done this slightly differently I'm very happy with the results. I'm also delighted with the momentum which carried me through to finishing all these various types of "tree" base. Now I just need to obtain some more bamboo to make it a proper forest rather than just a couple of clumps...