Monday, October 26, 2009

11. It's A Jungle Out There!

As many of you know, I've been working on my Dahomeans to fight the French Foreign Legion. Alas, they still remain unfinished (it's in progress though). I got seriously sidetracked recently, but in a good way. I knew I was going to be needing lots of jungle terrain for my Dahomey battles; it's equatorial Africa, after all! I'd been on the lookout for easy ways to make some, but kept putting it off, telling myself not to mess with it until I'd finished the figures. But when the Muse strikes, I must obey. And it will be better this way: now the jungle is waiting for the invaders, instead of the other way around. I like the sound of that: The jungle is waiting.... I wanted to use some old CDs for bases. That's how the Muse snuck in. "Here, just try a couple and see how it looks." So I went to Wal-Mart and bought three packages of small aquarium plants, and one package of medium plants. I prepped the CDs with spray primer so the glue would have something to adhere to, and the next thing I knew I've got 4 CD bases, 12 medium bases on circles cut out of matte board, and 2 small bases on 1" washers. Not wanting to stop there, I also based the Woodland Scenics Learning Kit trees I bought two years ago; the trees were done, but were un-based. More matte board and washers, depending on the size of the trees. Oh, and I also re-based and touched up the painting on some Games Workshop W40K palm trees I had. I plan on getting more palm trees (of another brand) to represent North Africa soon, and when I do I will be returning to these trees. I remain unhappy with the paint job, although the new larger bases on two of them are quite nice. (Side note: trees are not something that should be necessary to paint. Boo, Games Workshop.) But wait, that's not all! I also made some movement trays for my Rorke's Drift set. I was tired of moving 30 stands of Zulu individually, so I whipped up some cardboard and textured trays. But wait, there's more! Way back in February, I bought a package of six ping-pong balls. I had read somewhere (and I apologize that now I am unable to remember/find it again) a blog or forum posting about using black-painted ping-pong balls as "unidentified bogey" markers in Sci-Fi spaceship games. So I painted four of them black, but I couldn't resist making a Sun and an Earth-type Planet. So here we go. Click the pictures for a larger view, if you really want to see plastic aquarium plants up close. My gaming table turned into a work table. That's an old shower curtain protecting the work surface. Worked a treat! Some may criticize me for using perfectly round CDs and mostly-round cutouts of matte board for terrain bases. To them I say, "Phhhbbbt." I quite like the simplicity of the round design, and this way I can use them wherever I wish. They are not "locked in" to a terrain piece, as they would be if I had built them as part of said terrain piece. Plus, they're free and very low work to get ready. Here we have the finished products, all lined up neatly in rows, just as they are to be found in the Wild. Here's some close ups of the CD terrain: Here's the medium-sized based terrain, with the palms in the background: This is more of the same, with an actual rock I used, unpainted! Amazing! Be in awe of my abilities!!! ! <--for extra emphasis Palms, pines and deciduous trees: These are the movement trays I made out of cardboard. I used wall-filler/spackling to fill in the edges so they weren't open. Note that none of these match any terrain cloths I own: I just used the same Woodland Scenics flock and ballast as on the jungle stuff; I only own so much, and not really all that many different colors. In fact, I'm missing the main green I wish I had. One is just plain sand. And finally, the SF stuff. I'm not sure what scale this is, but it's probably in the neighborhood of 1:1,000,000,000: Oh, I completely forgot the two baby craters. They're from a package I've had for I-don't-know-how-long, called "Sci-Fi Miniatures For Science Fiction-Space Gaming 1/285th Microscale" copyrighted 1987 by The Little Mini Shops. They're made of what feels like plaster of paris. They were a "huh, I forgot I had these, I'll paint them up real quick and get something else done too" addition. There's what I have to show for the last two weeks of my life, give or take. Please bear in mind, this is the first large scale terrain building I've ever done. I've no doubt that there is better looking stuff out there, and that if I were to do this again I would do some thing differently. But it has served its purpose, which is to make a jungle for me to play in. Next up, a battle report of the FFL vs African pygmies! (hopefully). Thanks for reading this far down the page. The African pygmies have agreed to vote for me for Emperor Of The Known Universe; I'm still working on the Foreign Legion.


  1. Interestingly enough, the best place to get very nice palm trees (that don't need painting) is through the folks who supply cake decorations.

    This place (for example) sells 144 4" double palm trees for about $9 US (plus shipping):

    And for the record, I like your CD terrain.

    -- Jeff

  2. I have heard of Oasis supply, I'm just not sure I need 144 palm trees! Thanks, though. I'm still thinking about it.