Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Jungle Terrain


After years of putting it off, I've finally built some jungle/forest terrain. Why the wait? In the distant past I have made several different types of forest base, usually for GW gaming. I was never happy with my results.

Single based Railway model trees and separate base plate
Setup: Fiddly
Playability: Great
Looks: Poor
Durability: Poor
Storage: Messy

Railway model trees fixed to scenic base with space for models
Setup: Great
Playability: Mediocre
Looks: Great
Durability: Poor
Storage: Difficult

Aquarium Trees individually based
Setup: Fiddly
Playability: Mediocre
Looks: Mediocre
Durability: Good
Storage: Easy but messy

Here is what I came up with: Organic shaped MDF bases with a few plants strategically fixed on. Inner "plugs" of plants that fill the gaps but can be lifted out to place troops inside. In a pinch, the plugs can be used as individual terrain pieces and the bases left more sparse.

I have tried to split the difference between looks, game function and durability (while being as cheap as possible) and am very happy with the result.

Small piece

Larger piece

Plugs in/out

Build process:
I used 3 of these soap dish inserts from Tiger ( a cheap shop in the UK) for 3 pounds each. I am sure I could have got the same plastic plant cheaper on eBay, but this exact type of plant is difficult to find and it was an impulse buy. The dishes are quite handy as drawer organisers so not bad value.


For bases, I cut up some 2mm MDF that I had previously (and very foolishly) used to glue pieces of a Zuzzy mat to in an attempt to make modular street tiles. I used a stanley knife with a new blade. I whittled the edges down to a slope, then used PVA glue to stick dried coffee grounds on as texture to cover the exposed MDF.

Next, a hot glue gun was employed to stick some clumps (2 or 3 depending on base size) of plant to each base. More coffee grounds and PVA to cover the hot glue.

The remaining plants were hot glued onto (you guessed it) pieces of broken-up cork tile, each one fitting into a gap on the bases, but not glued in. Cork tile is weighty and grippy enough not to move, and soft enough not to damage anything it's sitting on. More PVA/coffee ground to hide the hot glue.

A sloppy round of craft paint acrylic burnt umber was slathered onto all the coffee parts to blend them into the bases, followed by two lighter shades of brown dry-brushed on top.

Finally, some clump foliage was added. I plan to stick on clumps of static grass in future, but it's in the post right now.

Still haven't managed to get any figures painted recently, but hoping to in the next few days. I have a ton of stuff from Khurasan waiting, and I just ordered some new Armies Army toys that should arrive soon.

Spacejacker out!

Footnote: Figures from this post: Special Forces

17 comments:

  1. Great terrain again! I've seen this "Tiger"-Plants in such a shop here - in germany - too and will soon give them a try.

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    1. Cheers! Remember, the secret ingredient is a hot glue gun :)

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  2. Nicely done. The flexible design is well thought out and the execution isn't overly elaborate. I could see magnetizing the "extra" foliage to stick to the bases, but why bother if it works this way? I actually think the "plugs" look fine sitting on the terrain mat here, but with the larger pieces they definitely look better.

    I have to say your source of plants is just... weird. A soap dish full of plastic leaves? Who dreamed that up? Oh well, our gain I guess :)

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    1. I really like the grip that cork provides, they stay put just fine in a way that plastic wouldn't. The flexibility of using the plugs as standalone terrain pieces is a nice bonus too!
      I believe the plants (which come on gridded mats) are decorative, rather than aquarium. Tiger also has toothbrush holders made with the grass-type. I think it's just combining industrial wholesale items into "housewares".

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  3. That also strikes a nice balance between enough leaves to block line of sight, but not so many that each plant becomes too fragile or fiddly. Those plants have some nice green shading, too. Most aquarium plants are too uniform to look natural, but those really work a treat.

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    1. Yes, I like plastic plants because they don't fall apart or shed flock everywhere over time. They can take a knock or a squish here and there without worry too. The shading on these is moulded in, which is unusual.

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  4. SJ: I have one more of those Xin Youxia (or "Ghost Warrior" as I called her!) figures from Ion Age. If you want it, it's yours, along with one of those Rebel Minis "splinter cell" guys. Alternately you could wait and at some point Ion Age may offer all this year's promo minis for sale again, they did that last year. But I'd be happy to ship you the figures. Both were a pleasure to paint. (I could send some of Rebel's ninjas too if you like, but you might find them frustrating. I already have...)

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    1. Yes please! I'll send you something nice back in return... Jeebus knows there's enough in the unpainted pile ;) drop me a line at thespacejacker(at)gmail(dotcom)
      No Ninja though, I'll want to sculpt new arms, but won't and they will lurk around stressing me for years.

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    2. Haha roger that. Honestly I can see "plentiful ninjas" being a gaming asset but only as long as the user was satisfied with spraying them black and picking out the skin and weapons. Four colors, bang done, on the table.

      I'll email you this weekend.

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  5. Hi, Jacker: Great jungle troops and scenery. Dang! You paint good!!

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    1. Thanks Jay! I'm humbled by your kind words. I paint all too infrequently at the moment!. I'm quite proud of those figures though, they took quite a lot of research and agonizing... I am not a fan of 15mm cammo!

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    1. Cheers! This has got me re-basing my older terrain. Quick post later...

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks very much, hopefully some more declassified Khurasan goodies ready soon!

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  8. What a timely post! I am trying to make Epic Armageddon size terrain pieces out of the 18 - 25mm K&M trees. Your terrain with the gaps and plugs to fill out the edges is a very good layout! Thanks.

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    1. Ah, excellent! Out of the flocked trees, those little ones seem to last the longest. I used to stick them into polystyrene hills for Epic, it wasn't ideal ;)

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