I'm continuing to document my build-up of figures and terrain for the new Congo game rules. Last week I described some of my Forest Tribesmen, but this week I'm going to talk about terrain.
I already have some large "jungle" terrain pieces, as can be seen in some of my previous games (for example, Tarzan and the Lost Expedition). These are all based on old CD-ROM disks and are made from the traditional plastic aquarium plants. On both counts, they're quite large pieces; also the regular shapes of the disks makes it difficult to set up interesting tables for games. So, I decided to build a number of smaller, "scatter" terrain models.
Model Railroad Plants
In the past, most gamers' "jungle" terrain has been made from plastic foliage that is designed for aquariums. That can work well, but such plants are usually greatly over sized and often need quite a lot of chopping and converting. After all, they're 1:1 scale and frequently designed to have long stalks so that they can wave about in a fish tank!
It turns out that similar plastic plants of a better size are also made for model railroads (and gamers) and these can be bought very cheaply online (usually from China, unsurprisingly). I bought 3 different packs, each containing 50 plants for less than £9 including postage. I simply don't understand how this is economically possible - even if the raw materials and labour cost next to nothing, shipping anything from the other side of the world must surely cost something? Yet here we are...
"2.5cm BUSH Shrubs"
The first set of plants I have is called "2.5cm BUSH Shrubs" [sic]. They look to me more like a type of grass or flax, though. Either way, they come with a spike on the bottom to enable them to be pushed into a (foam?) landscape. I cut these spikes off and simply glued the plants onto some prepared and painted bases.
It strikes me that these would work well for savannah as well; these "shrubs" look as if they'd be at home in an arid terrain as well as a very moist one.
"Green Grass Bushes"
Next, we come to the strangely-named "Green Grass Bushes". Note that I've mixed a few other plants in on some of these bases for variety; the bushes are the ones with the crinkly, oak-like leaves. I've prepared these in exactly the same way as the previous plants and stuck them to bases.
As with all these scatter pieces, I varnished after sticking the foliage to the base. That has toned down the dark green, plastic colour of the leaves quite nicely, though they do look a little "milky". Finishing polythene plants is always a problem; they're usually very bright and glossy if untreated, but it's hard to find any paint or wash which will stick to such models.
"5.5cm BUSH Heart Leaves"
Finally, we come to another set of "bushes". Again, I've mixed these with a few other plants, but it should be fairly obvious which ones have the heart-shaped leaves. These look as if they would be much more at home in a jungle than anywhere else; I cannot imagine such wide leaves surviving very well under a blistering sun in the open. Instead, they're perfect for shady undergrowth in a larger forest.
I'm looking forwards to using these smaller pieces in a game. When combined with my older, CD-ROM & palm tree bases, I should be able to have a much more interesting layout. It ought to be easier to mark out paths and clearings, for a start. Still, we'll only know for certain how well this works once I've tried it for real!
I haven't used all of the plants I bought, so I'll need to make up some more terrain bases sometime. Cutting out the MDF bases is the bit that takes the most time; actually painting them and then sticking down the plants is relatively quick. Of course, there are other forms of tropical-looking model railroad plants available too. At under £3 per packet, maybe I should get some of those as well?
I have been getting model plants from China as well. (Via eBay). And agree about the price/value for money.ReplyDelete
Depending on what variety they do I would get more for this project. Jungles probably should look diverse with different types of plants.
Well, I do have my older, larger, "jungle tree" terrain pieces as well. These are really just intended to fill in the gaps. Having said that, they're so easy to make that I'm really tempted to do a load more :-) !Delete
Cracking stuff Hugh. That first photo really looks the business, and I'd certainly say the effort you've put into making these was well worth it.ReplyDelete
I don't think I'd set up a game table with quite that density of plants, but I agree: it does look quite impressive, doesn't it?Delete
I bought a pack of plastic bamboo from China ridiculously cheap, I just dip them in a pot of Sepia wash and they come out a treat! Army painter dip or similar would also do a fab job.ReplyDelete
I imagine that your bamboo looks very good done like that. My worries with the polythene stuff that I've shown here is that any coating will tend to crack and flake off over time. We'll see.Delete
After reading this I was straight on eBay...ReplyDelete
I hope you found what you were looking for :-) !Delete
Those look great, I should get on to these...ReplyDelete
Thanks, Barks. If it helps your motivation, these pieces didn't cost much, either in money or time.Delete
They look great, Hugh. I'm very tempted to buy some myself.ReplyDelete
If you need lush undergrowth then I think that this sort of product works very well indeed, Bryan!Delete
Absolutely superb, now on the 'to do' list.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Michael. As I said in the article, cutting the bases out was the hurdle for me (I don't like sawing MDF!) Once I had done that, finishing these terrain pieces took very little effort.Delete
These look the business and I like your mix and match approach - I'm sure some links would be appreciated by not just me too.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Joe. I think that there are several eBay sellers who supply this type of product (though I suppose it might just be the same company behind all such names). I got mine through "ethersell88", who were cheap, reliable and fast to deliver. Be aware that often the same product is listed several times with different descriptions and (sometimes) varying price, so it's worth a bit of comparison before committing to anything!Delete
These look fabulous dude. Cracking work.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Simon. These are really easy to make, mind.Delete