Monday, July 9, 2018

More Jungle for my Jungle

My second batch of my new Jungle Scatter pieces, with Splintered Light Miniatures frogs stalking through them
After setting up and looking at pictures from my first game of Ghost Archipelago, I came to a conclusion about my terrain: I don't have enough! Now, I feel I do have plenty of temples and ruins, yes. However, the vegetation looked a little skimpy, in my opinion. Of course, I WAS putting out terrain for 32 square feet of board (8'x4' table, divided into two, 4-player boards). I do actually own more trees, so I'll pack another box, next time.
A rat patrol makes their way through my first, more colorful, of Jungle Scatter pieces
However, I also noticed in the photos that much of the terrain is simply bases -- I need more visual stuff down at table level at figure height. I have about a dozen jungle pieces I'd created awhile back for my 28mm Pulp games. But those don't go far on a 32' square foot board! So, I decided it was time to create more jungle "scatter" -- pieces to place on the board to give it more color, more 3-D appeal.
A close up of the frogs as they search for enemies amidst the vegetation
So, it was off to Michaels craft store to see what they had in the plastic plant aisles that I could use. Luckily, they just happened to be 60% off this week. I picked up a number of plants that looked like they might fill the bill, and stopped by Hobby Lobby for more of the wooden circular bases to put all this greenery on. Prior to making the trip, I'd dug out all my saved plastic plants and other types of vegetation (like the flowers and tiny, blooming trees from JTT Scenery Products).

Cleverly (for once), I created a prototype before going all-in and doing a dozen or so. I was happy with the prototype, but figured a way to simplify the work even more. Here are my steps for creating Jungle Scatter at ridiculously inexpensive prices:
Step 1: Wooden disks as bases
1) For bases, I used"Wooden Nickels" from Woodpile Fun -- though many other make similar pieces. These measure about 1.5" diameter. I use these soft wood ones because they are cheap, and easy to drill through, as you will see in a later step.
Step 2: Mount the bases temporarily to bamboo skewers with bluetack
2) Using bluetack and bamboo skewers, "mount" each base so you can hold onto it easily while applying the flocking.
Step 3: Flock the bases with Woodland Scenics Fine Brown Ballast
3) Paint the edges and top of each base with a 50/50 mixture of brown paint and white glue (I have a bottle of it premixed that I use for pretty much all my basing, now). Put it on heavily, then immediately press it down into a plastic container filled with Woodland Scenics Fine Brown Ballast.
Step 4: White glue and water mix painted on the surface, then sprinkling with Turf Earth
4) After it dries, paint the base with a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water (I also have a bottle of this premixed). Paint this on heavily, as well, and immediately sprinkle it with Woodland Scenics Turf Earth. It would probably work to press it down into there like with Step 3, but I find the glue will then clump up instead of giving a more even surface. When dry, this will be hard like sandpaper with a nice surface.
Step 5: Central piece of vegetation
 5) While drying, figure out what you want to be the taller, central piece of vegetation for each base. I use a mix of different types of plants and greenery: Flowering trees, ferns, various greenery from plastic plants, and so on. The more variety, the better. Some plastic plants are attached to stems with a tube-like piece of plastic you can use (such as the one on the bottom right). Others will be too long and need trimmed so all you are left with is a plastic stem. Either works. Take a hand drill and select a bit that matches the size you'll need. Drill it through roughly the center of the flocking.
Leaves trimmed from various cast off pieces of plastic plants are added to the ground to look like fallen vegetation
For pieces that have a tube, take a small section of craft sticks or similar, and trim it to be just larger than your hole. Force it through the hole from bottom to top, with just enough projecting so that the "tube" fits perfectly over it. Coat this projecting spike, so to speak, with Tacky Glue - also applying some to the bottom. Place the vegetation atop it and press down. Elevate it while it dries and make sure the vegetation is standing close to upright.
My first 12 pieces of jungle scatter -- after I finished them, I thought maybe they are a bit too colorful
For pieces that are just a stem, coat the bottom portion of it heavily in Tacky Glue. Put a blob on the hole, too. Then force the stem through the hole from top to bottom. Elevate it while it dries. Like with the tube type above, you will trim off this bottom piece once the glue dries.
 6) While the central pieces are drying, pick out the other pieces of vegetation you're going to use on the base. As you can see in the above, I picked out quite a variety from the craft store. I went back the next day and picked up even more. Use a mix you like. The pics in this post are from my original batch. I have since decided to tone down the color a bit. Make it more green and use the occasional color as accent, but you decide. It's your jungle!

I place a very large blob of Tacky Glue onto the surface of the base. I then press the plant firmly down onto it, making sure the glue has welled up around it. The flocking method I use above gives it something solid to grip onto.
My second batch of jungle scatter pieces -- as you can see, I toned down the brightness and made it more green
7) Cover most of the brown areas with grass flocking, and even some fallen leaves. First, I paint the brown areas visible between the plants with undiluted white glue. I sprinkle this with Woodland Scenics Blended Grass. To make it look even more jungle like, I have trimmed off various different leaves from plastic plants. I affix one or two of these onto the grassy areas for additional effect.
And there you have it! Jungle scatter that really takes VERY little time to do. They are easy to store, cheap to make, and add color and effect to your tabletop.

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