Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Making Plant bases. Here be shrubbery.

Even urban environments need plants. I don't have time to waste, but this is a fun exercise and a hundred odd individual plants do make a table look good.

Aquarium & model railroad plants. Take apart. I mount all my small scenics on (UK) 2p coins* using carpet tacks. It's worth the time to snip off the point. My usual No-More nails substitute works well. Drop of superglue secures the plants. Flock as if an infantry base, but consider that areas under trees are relatively free of undergrowth. Put a figure next to it, trim with (ruthless) regards to height and ease of handling. I go for 2-3 times the height of an average figure, clearance for larger.

This comes with white beads, ideal for urban flower pot!
The offcuts use flat, thin wooden beads. Look in cheap shops, charity shops. One necklace can give you 200 odd beads. You can get through these in a messy day. Lots of no-more-nails, push plant into hole. Some need propping up or a drop of superglue. With close spaced plants like bamboo colouring the mix first advised!  This method works well with pebbles and other small scenics. Use pipecleaner as stumps and fallen plants, you can make a base in very little time. Any natural woodland would be at least 1/3 of this scatter.

2 hours messy work

Part of a days work, over 100
Watch out for larger trees and shrubs, as these are often made up of smaller “trees” such as these. Made as above, but with a quick flick of grey over the trunk and tea leaf flock on base.

Attached bases. The round bases these plants come on can be fixed to a coin with copious amounts of No-More-Nails, as it shrinks on drying, by covering the “roots” you can get it to stay. A bulldog clip or similar helps. Flocking or sand/PVA mix helps. I like the root look so I don't trim. Some come on plaster rocks, these can be very useful in making hedges.

Pipe cleaners. If you have kids, they will enjoy this method. Very basic, cut into short length and stick in bead as above. Paint (try rolling in) the bottom ¾ of the plant with a thick brown paint, upper part dry-brush with light green. Different colours will give you a completely different plant. The metallic ones give you fantastic cactus like results. You can make rows of crops or thick alien hedges very quickly. Larger plants can be made by twisting, adding aquarium plant offcuts. Spread bottom out to fix. I use feathers for my prehistoric ones. They shouldn't work, but they do.

Palm trees. Based on an excellent article in TMP. These are made from plant tie, on a reel from a discount shop, cut into roughly equal strips. The bottom is spread and glued down as above, top is spread. Paint, then when dry ink with Antelope Brown or Burnt Umber. This runs down the twist. Admittedly my tops aren't as good, but it's a wargaming model, you can pick 'em up, they don't fall down or get in the way. Proper job.  BUT considering the cost of cheap palm trees from china, I probably won't do these again.