Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gaming foliage 1

Some weeks ago I made some terrain pieces taken from a dollar store buy. Floral Garden is a rather unprepossessing range of interior decor, typical of the "Made in China" crap flooding the markets these days. Even so, it does have merits.

Typically it comes as a kind of plastic houseplant with several strands attached to a central stalk by a simple plug-in method. Remove the strands and glue to a suitable base and hey presto - scale vegetation for the wargames table.

The term suitable base is the key here; the first batch of herbage I made I set on card, and it didn't come up to scratch. The card warped after the spackle basing was applied. So, back to the drawing board, and I think I've cracked the problem.

Pictured are the component parts of this new project. The metal disks are the end caps from a type of frozen fruit juice concentrate that comes in card tubes. I saw these ages ago and thought they'd come in handy one day. Of course, I didn't quite know what they would prove useful for, but since when has that stopped a model-maker from accumulating bits and bobs on the off chance?

The victim - er, basis for the foliage will be the potted plant, which caught my eye as it has fern-like leaves suitable for tropical/equatorial Africa. The main tool for the transformation will be the hot glue gun.

Once all the strands are removed, I wound up with a pile of thirteen pieces.

Getting to work with the hot glue gun, within a few minutes I had the result shown above. One thing to note (and you may already know this); hot glue isn't the strongest adhesive around. It does have the advantage of setting quickly, especially if the surface the glue is squirted on is cold, like the disks. The trick here is to poke the plastic stalks into the blob of glue and work quickly before it hardens.

A side-on view, showing how effective these pieces are already at blocking line-of-sight.

And on to the next stage, applying a layer of sand to the disks to give a keyed surface for the spackle to grip to. I use the interior decor sand available at most hobby stores. It comes in thin plastic bags, so to avoid splits and spills I transfer it to old peanut jars, like that shown. Use old newspaper or plastic sheets to cover the work area. This stage can get very messy!

I spread a good dollop of PVA/Gorilla glue around the disks and up the stalks a little ways, using a wet fingertip to help work it into position. Usually I'd dilute the PVA with water, but as the hot glue forms a relatively weak bond I wanted to be sure of a stronger hold on the strands. Be sure to cover the edges of the discs. Allow everything to set before moving on to the next stage. Have a cup of fresh ground coffee - you'll need it.

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

They look good, AJ. Well done . . . and thank you for sharing, sir.

-- Jeff


home page uniques