Friday, September 5, 2014

Capturin' the Rye

Winter Rye. A marvelous plant, beloved of gardeners and horticulturists as ground-cover to prevent soil erosion, and for its nitrogen-fixing capability. We grew a large patch of rye in our back garden over the winter for the above reasons. In spring and early summer when it was fully grown, it made a kind of restful, real-life screen saver for our back windows as it peacefully waved in the breeze.

Okay so, now my wife and I have to shuck the seeds ready for this autumn's planting. A bit of a chore, but one which had an unexpected benefit - Wargames scenery. I noticed the chaff resembles small shrubs and bushes. It took but a moment to figure out how to use this. And what's more, there's a large supply.

I have a small stack of the metal lids used in frozen fruit juice containers. A spot of hot glue tacked the chaff stalks to the lid, and I followed up with a blob of liquid nails around each to secure it. Hot glue may be quick, but it's not strong. The liquid nails also gives purchase to the spackle that will follow.

The photo shows the general result before the spackle is applied.

Straw is durable stuff. Once protected from the environment it can last literally for centuries. At the moment I'm undecided how to seal these and finish the job. Once the spackle is on, my options are:
  1. Dip the stalks in the nasty beige-colored household latex paint left over by the house flippers, shake off the excess then dump a heap of dried tealeaves on it. Once dry I spray them a couple shades of green then paint the bases to match my tabletop.
  2. Use spray adhesive and dump tealeaves on, etc.
The first option may be more thorough but messier, the second is quicker but the spray tends to be a bit indiscriminate. Decisions, decisions.

These are easy to make, so I may do another batch. What I hope to end up with is a spread of scrub land suitable for 25/28mm figures. Plenty of places for hostile forces to hide in ambush for when the Colonial Powers march by... Set in regular rows and painted dark green with yellowish tops, they would even serve as a crop such as millet.

With luck and a following wind, I might even get to game with these next week.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Quite clever, AJ. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

-- Jeff

Jiminho said...

This is a capital idea, AJ, and an admirable marriage of practicality and creativity. Nice work.


A J said...

Thank you, gentlemen! I've tried the same technique for millet fields which seems to be working. I'll post more photos soon.


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