Saturday, 19 August 2017

It's a Jungle out there!

Well I have to confess that I know not where August has gone? One minute I am hosting my first ever 'proper' war game and the next I'm starting to think about dusting off the satchel in readiness for the new academic year! Now don't get me wrong there are no complaints here as I have had a fabulous week exploring dungeons and monster invested caverns through my newly arrived Kickstarter, 'Massive Darkness'. More recently, with the release of the A-levels here in the UK, I have been devoting some much needed time to the day job, but all this has conspired to keep from my plan of sharing a series of posts detailing the terrain build for the game, not to mention restricting the time available to perusing the many splendid weblogs that I so enjoy reading. So, as we edge towards another weekend, I think it is only fair to have a little me time?   

One of the key requirements for Congo is specific terrain, whether that be for the jungle or savanna expeditions, that can either be explored by your intrepid adventurers or restrict their movements by blocking their progress and line of sight.  Having selected a jungle based scenario for our first encounter I found myself reaching for the bits bag only to discover a selection of rather diminutive palm trees, abandoned from a previous adventure - more thought was going to be required!  

As has become the norm in such circumstances the noble art of Google Fu came to my rescue and before long I was thrilled to discover two particularly fine examples of jungle terrain building that would ultimately inspire me to complete my own.  The first was that of the '1000 FOOT GENERAL', entitled, 'Making Jungle Terrain'.  John's tutorial is absolutely superb and it would be foolhardy of me to repeat it here, blow by blow.  Instead I would encourage you to visit John's weblog yourself and I will simply restrict myself to detailing some of the subtle differences that I employed for my own build. 
The first of those differences was that I based my blocking terrain on some MDF shapes, sourced though the ever reliable Tony at 'East Riding Miniatures'.  This was a pre-cut bag of shapes that I simply stuck chunks of blue foam to.  The edges were then contoured and sanded just as John had instructed me to do.  Once primed and painted, do avoid aerosol spray paints at this stage, it was time to add the foliage.
Because the blocking terrain was now raised, the rather pathetically small palm trees that I had previously purchased were now back in the mix, but I was going to need more variety in both size and species.  There are now a good many posts detailing the surprising versatility of plastic model trees from China.  I, myself, have benefited from the seemingly implausible business model of shipping out relatively small units free of any postage charge from far flung corners of the globe, but they do and, if you are prepared to wait a couple of weeks, then they prove an invaluable starting point for any arboreal activities.  Having bagged a couple of likely candidates I remembered a post on the very entertaining 'Colgar6 and the Infinite Legion of Toy Soldiers' blog where Colgar6 had bought and used a plastic Bonsai tree for one of his terrain builds.  This inspired me to widen my search a little and I stumbled across some plastic houseplants, as opposed to model trees.   The dimensions listed suggested that they might be suitable and because they were primarily to be used for the blocking terrain I thought it was worth the risk for the princely sum of £12.
 
Having picked up some other bits and pieces, but more of those in the next instalment, I was aware that I needed more height and so went in search of trees.  The cost of wargame specific trees has long perplexed me, I once purchased a rather splendid mature oak from '4Ground' and whilst a lovely tree, and very much the pride of my forest*, I could never afford to cover the table with them.  So off I went in search of suitable material to build my own and before long I found myself perusing the visual aisles of 'The Artificial Flower Shop'.**  Again not really knowing what I was buying I narrowed my search to shape and size, plumping for three artificial Springeri Bushes at £7.80 each, the combined cost of which was the same as my Mighty Oak!  When they arrived I was delighted to find that I could break each 'bush' down into a further four trees - splendid news! 
*Not a phrase that I use often!
**I really need to get out more!
Having assembled the stands according to the John's tutorial, I gave everything a generous spray of watered down PVA in a bid to help secure the clump foliage and flock.  Once dry I was relatively pleased with the stands, but the garish green of the coloured plastic rather spoilt the effect that I was after.  Of course in John's tutorial he goes to great length demonstrating how he dealt with this very issue by painting the individual pieces before assembly.  Now being inherently lazy I had skipped this all important step, which is why John's stands look like a jungle and mine looked like a mass of plastic plants!  Unperturbed, I set about fixing the issue with a can of Tamiya Colour Olive Green and a couple of passes with the trusty airbrush loaded with Vallejo Model Air Interior Green, followed by Cam. Light Green.  Whilst perhaps not as neat as John's it certainly seemed to do the trick and a final spray with the matt varnish brought the group together - ta-da!
So a huge thank you and well done to John of the '1000 FOOT GENERAL', your tutorial was not only inspiring, but early to follow too!  Next up will be the explorable terrain and again another link to a fabulous tutorial.
As an addendum to this post, I thought it just worth mentioning the wonderful 'Deep Cut Studio' mat that underpins my jungle.  This is their swamp design that the chaps very kindly cut to 3'x4' for me.  Made from mousemat material, it doesn't crease and can be stored rolled up.  They might not be the cheapest mats out there, but the quality is superb and the chaps are a delight to deal with.   
I had made quite a sizeable order, with a couple of mats purchased on behalf of the school, and was thrilled when I given storage cases and some terrain pieces free!  The most useful of these are the river sections that are made of the same material as the mat itself.   
They can be simply laid out to give the impression of a river and I think work rather well, so well in fact that I had to dig out the old steam launch to give her a run out through the steaming jungle!  So another thank you extended to 'Deep Cut Studio', fabulous products and amazing customer service.
Finally the seller that I purchased the plants from, via Ebay, was Alex-wqt and they were listed as follows:
  • Artificial Succulent Aloe Zebrina Plant Fake Miniature Bonsai Plant Home Decor, Item Number 401324713121 - .99p (These were the spikey ones!)
  • Single Cactus Artificial Succulents Craft Floristry Decoration Plastic Plants, Item Number 401324710338 - .99p (The tall ones.)
  • Artificial Succulents Cactaceae Floral Potted Plant DIY Home Garden Decorative, Item Number  401324708663 - .99p (The purple ones.)

65 comments:

  1. Impressive looking jungle foliage! Nice step by step guide too.
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Iain, John's original design certainly inspired the build.

      Delete
  2. Excellent looking terrain Michael. Love the mix of different plants on each one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rod, I think the variety really helps to sell the illusion.

      Delete
  3. Rather good old bean, Rather good. I feel an order coming on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you my good man, I do help that this post helps.

      Delete
  4. Brilliant! + very nice river boat teaser scene for the upcoming Congo adventures.

    And thanks for the "Monk" theme song reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a beautiful and fantastic atmosphere you've created here, excellent job Michael!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Perfect! One of the most beautiful terrain i ever seem!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's incredibly kind of you Michał.

      Delete
  7. Fabulous terrain, and cool Kickstarter, Michael. I've wasted too much time watching re-runs of Destination Truth :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dean, I just don't know where the time goes.

      Delete
  8. Very nice jungle Michael! Love the river section complete with croc. Is it the habitat of Audrey II?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Peter, now Audrey II does now have a jungle body and when I eventually get around to photographing her I shall have to set her up in the jungle.

      Delete
  9. Wow, these look absolutely amazing. You use a very similar method to the one we use for making jungle terrain (i.e. pet shop fish tank plastic plants). Yours look jolly spiffing and totally atmospheric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Hills, more to come when I have written up the post.

      Delete
  10. Totally lovely work Michael, time consuming but well worth the effort, the trouble is you never have enough!

    Will we be seeing a crashed X wing and Yoda running about in something similar soon?

    Cheers Roger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Roger it took the first half of the holiday, but really pleased with how it turned out. Best not talk about Star Wars at the moment as a rather large box arrived here the other day - what have I done now?

      Delete
  11. Some of the best jungle pieces I've ever seen, they reminded me almost immediately of some vietcong movies like apocalypse now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I have a rather large dinosaur collection that I am hoping might avail themselves of the terrain and I do have a hankering for a zombie/Vietnam crossover.

      Delete
    2. Ah yes, they look perfect for a dinosaur themed game. Will it be dino VS dino or more something akin to Jurrassic Park? Just asking as I recently bought quite a few Dinosaur survival/hunting games to try out and play with my kids and as such I was wondering which ruleset you had in mind 😊.

      Delete
    3. I backed Cretacea: The game of gargantuan survival
      by Arthur Charles last year, a dinosaur on dinosaur game. I still haven't got round to reading it yet, but perhaps this will give me the impetus I need. :)

      Delete
    4. I backed Cretacea too, but I feel like it still is a bit difficult for my kids. They did like to paint the 10mm dinosaurs though 😊.

      Delete
  12. Great guide on how you put these together! The mix of different plants really make the pieces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Brian, I pretty much through everything at them.

      Delete
  13. "Dr. Awdry I presume?" great bush my man! :-P

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jolly nice stuff there! Thanks for sharing the links. I really do need to take a look over my own jungle collection, because it's sorely in need of improvement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you A.J. there is a companion post coming soon.

      Delete
  15. That is some great looking jungle!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great stuff Michael - these look fantastic and wonderfully thematic.
    I'll have to book in for a Congo game with you and drag a few of the antipodean infamous with me :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and that sounds like a plan! :)

      Delete
    2. Thought it might appeal :-)

      Delete
  17. Amazing terrain and the old steam launch looks so at home in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dan, not sure that river is going to be big enough for the paddle steamer I have waiting in the wings.

      Delete
  18. Superb looking jungle mate. I was never that happy with mine, perhaps because things look to large. Having seen yours I think I need to add some smaller foliage as an understory and increase the density.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly think the variety of scales helps to sell the piece and when they go alongside the 'explorable' versions it really starts to hold together.

      Delete
  19. That is some very nice looking jungle. I am envious.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I feel I need artificial succulents now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They certainly helped with these, it is amazing what you can get shipped over - such a variety of plants to choose from.

      Delete
  21. A very useful post and perfect timing as I look forward to Ghost Archipelago in the coming weeks.
    Thanks for posting.
    Cheers
    Stu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Stuart and delighted that it might help too.

      Delete
  22. I need to do some jungle too and this will serve as the greatest source of inspiration! Well done Sir!

    Frank
    https://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, the next post should be of internet to you as well.

      Delete
  23. Those look great. Good tip to raise up the bases. I'll have to pinch that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and the raised basis certainly helps to bed in the plants.

      Delete
  24. Excellent stuff Michael; they will be great additions to your board. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, really pleased with how them came together.

      Delete
  25. I bow before the master at work. Your attention to detail is stunning and absolutely impactful. You brought Congo to life!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Missed this post somehow, but now bookmarked too!
    Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I still find it amazing that so many wargamers can produce so much wonderful terrain out of things that were never intended for the purpose.
    Love the jungle!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great looking stuff, and really helpful for my own faltering start to something similar.

    ReplyDelete
  29. That's a nice tabletop rendition of jungle terrain. Jungles are extremely dense and the terrain you put together are about as close as you can get to a tabletop version.

    ReplyDelete
  30. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you have to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Want your ex CRAWLING back to you...?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...