Monday, November 7, 2011

Palms, Ferns, and Cycads: Jungle for Vietnam

Just under a year ago, I finished my riverine terrain for Vietnam, and realized that much of my 28mm jungle foliage was simply too big to use for my 20mm Vietnam gaming.  This past weekend, I finally got around to working on some greenery for my Vietnam terrain.

Most of my time was spent working on the ground cover.  I figure that some of the foliage will consist of lychen, and bushy plants doing double duty from 15mm African and 28mm Pacific projects, but I wanted to add some contrasting textures, so focussed on making ferns and cycads with a small mix of other plants thrown in.

All of the plants shown int he photo below were made from various artificial plastic ferns from the craft store.  The first three were made from different Asperagus ferns, which have fine leaflets.  The leaflets were cut off of the main frond stem, and then glued to a styrene or metal washer base to create a 20mm scale fern fronds.

 The last two were made from heftier artificial ferns, using the same method of cutting off the leaflets to create the miniature fern fronds.  In the photo below the last three plants were created to look more like miniature cycads.

Here is a pic of the plants and terrain with a few Britannia Vietnam figs.

For the amount of terrain that I made, I figured that I need maybe 200 palm trees.  At first, I had hoped to make the trees to keep the cost down, but couldn't find a source or method of making the fronds that didn't involve a lot of time for each tree.  So, I began looking around for ready made palm trees.  I found some sources for really nice trees, but at $5.00-$18.00 per tree, well...there was just no way that I could manage that without selling the family.   And to be honest, they probably wouldn't bring in enough.

So, plan "B" (or maybe "C" by this point) involved looking for lower cost confection/cake decorations.  I found several sources at very low cost, but they were all rather small, in the 2-4 inch range.  Some of them had fronds that didn't look too bad, but the trunks often were either flat or had almost no texture.

Then I stumbled onto this Ebay seller flymodelcn2009 and his palm trees:

He/they sell a couple different style trees in a variety of sizes, so I bought 15cm and 13cm trees for use with 20mm figures. They are pictured below with a couple of 20mm Britannia figures.

The fronds are soft waxy plastic, while the trunks are a  harder,  more rigid plastic.  The fronds are full, nicely detail, and have a nice "spray".  The trunks are roughly round in cross-section and have a nice texture.  I intend to give them a wash of paint to bring out more contrast int he texture, then mount them on styrene bases for use with my terrain.  They come with posts on the bottom (see below), so they could be plugged directly into foam terrain if desired.

They took about twelve days to arrive in the US, and I am quite happy with them.   I plan to buy more in a variety of sizes very soon.  The seller also has some other plants that I may pick up as well.  I hope to get a day free this coming weekend to base some of the trees.  With any luck, I will  post some pics of forested jungle terrain early next week.

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