Things have been a bit quiet here recently, suggesting (possibly) that I have been lagging behind with the Jungle build project. In fact nothing could be further from the truth; we have been ploughing on but some steps in the process are relatively slow and uninteresting. Painting the low standing foliage takes time as I undercoat in brown, using a brush and my standard external house paint which then takes at least 24 hours to dry and that is then followed by a coat of green which takes a similar slow drying time. Adding undergrowth to the base is another quick job; a slap of PVA and a dip in a pot of mixed herbs and shredded clump foliage, but this is then held in place with a spray of weak PVA and that again takes time to dry, even when accelerated on a radiator. You need this base dry before you attempt to superglue on the foliage so its a case of doing a quick session and then leaving it before the next stage can be done.
Anyway, enough pathetic excuses from me, let’s crack on! The important thing here is that I have been trying to refine the production process as the first run of jungle stuff took too long; however, I was convinced that a bit of streamlining of the process would work. I’m going to rush through some of this early stage stuff as you’ve seen the technique before.
Phase One: I drilled ALL of the holes with a size 1 drill. On the first build I had used size 3 drill for trees, size 2 for standing foliate and size 1 for the plastic plugs to which the low-standing foliage would be attached. An utter nonsense and waste of time. I realised that using size 1 and then a round file to enlarge holes where required was MUCH more time efficient. Secondly, I had eschewed the plastic plugs, which proved too short, for cocktail sticks. Break off around an inch from each end and each cocktail stick provides and anchor for two pieces of foliage. These I tapped through from underneath with a small hammer. As can be seen here, I have added all of the foliage which has its own plug base or stem, so that’s the trees and standing foliage and some of the smaller “spiky plants”.
Crap photo here so apologies for that. Next phase, add sharp sand to the base. Let dry and then paint dog poo brown. Exterior household paint as mentioned before. I roughly paint the trees and bushes at this stage,. just a plain no-nonsense green and stems dry brushed up with lighter tan colours. Note, I also paint the cocktail sticks green so they will blend in with the foliage later. That ends Phase One. It’s pretty quick and painless. You can do it all in one day. Indeed, other than the brown paint you can do it all in one session. Easy peasy.
Stage Two is really just prep for Stage Three. Here you paint your low standing foliage. This usually comes on a “sprue” like tray from which you can remove the individual pieces. Leave them on the sprue and tosh the paint on. I suppose you could spray this, but to get everything covered would be difficult so I just use a brush about an inch wide and with nice soft bristles and really rub the paint in more than painting it on. It’s a bit messy so don’t wear your Sunday best but it is very quick. Brown and then green. I do a final brush with yellow mixed in for some plants and white/cream mixed in for others but in truth there is no need at this stage. A standard green finish will suffice.
Okay, Stage Three. On the base below you can see I have added my undergrowth mix. Literally just splash on some PVA (avoiding the pointy sticks) and tip on the mix. Clump foliage put through the food processor mixed with mixed dried herbs. When that is on, spray it with a 6:1 mix of PVA to water to seal it in place and let dry. 24 hours is ideal. Again this is very quick to do, it’s just the drying time that slows things down but it is essential that it’s all dry before we do the final stage. Talking of which…
…Stage Four. The final bit. First do the middle spikes. These take the large bushy foliage. A dab of superglue on the spike and press the foliage down over it.
Next add the low standing foliage on the spikes around the outside. This dives bulk to the whole thing.
Here’s a rather shaky close-up where you can see that the green spike actually looks like its part of the plant, hence me painting it that colour earlier. If you look rear right you can just see the tip of another spike emerging and again this serves a dual purpose as an anchor point but anything left on display looks fine.
With that done I now make a start on changing the foliage colours. The rubber plant type with round leaves I brush on a brighter green which I also dry brush onto the palm fronds. The spikey plants get neat yellow dry-brushed so the edges of the fronds get picked out. The lower larger bushes get a green and cream mix to really differentiate them and finally the low standing stuff gets whatever happens to be on the palette. The idea is to have some subtle differences in colour but retain that overall “Green Hell” wall of colour.
Finally I add static grass around the outside edge of the base. This allows the terrain base to blend in with the green of the table. I can see arguments for keeping the base entirely brown, but I prefer this look. And that’s that. I actually have about 50% as much again but I am waiting for some more of the low standing plants to arrive from eBay. When that is done the low standing jungle and the main jungle will cover all that I will ever need. Job done.
One more bit of jungle-related news. I picked this fellow up on eBay for a few quid, cheap as chips fish tank decoration (although why fish like Buddha I will never know). He looks rather spiffing straight from the box, but I decided that a Warbases terrain base and some suitable landscaping would pimp my Buddha even more.
The first step was to add some jungle creepers from Green Stuff. I have been advised that string dipped in PVA works well, but that seemed a bit thick when I tried it, so Green Stuff it was.
Roll it like a sausage and then drape in place before gently pressing it down with a cocktail stick where you need to push it into nooks and crannies.
I painted the creepers brown followed by cream as a general highlight (in other words everywhere gets it other than the dark recesses) and finally I dabbed on some small areas of green for represent growth. I did consider making tiny leaves to stick on but, frankly, life is just too short.
Finally the base was done using the techniques outlined above. With the trees and plants painted I added Buddha back on the base and then added sand, ground cover and finally grass as usual.
The next army list starts to detail some of the tribal forces of The Abyssinian Crisis. There were long standing feuds and inter-tribal warfare amongst the Eritrean and Somalian tribes that inhabited the Horn of Africa. They fought as much amongst themselves as against their Ethiopian neighbours and many warriors flocked to the Italian colours