So, with the trees on and some standing foliage, it was now time to add some more expansive ground cover. It’s possible to get mats of aquarium plants on eBay which are ideal of low level plant that give good ground cover. Here’s an example of a section of one such mat.
As we can see, these are smashing. Just what we need to cover the base and give a feeling of thick terrain. However, there is one issue that we encounter when we turn said piece over.
The plants come on a plastic grid with a point at each juncture spearing up to hold the plant in place. Now, it is very easy to detach each plant from the point and I could then just glue the plant onto the base, but this is not very strong. The solution was to remove the plants, snip off the point and then attach that to the base, drilling into it as we did with the trees.
This shot is a bit superfluous, but it does show how a decent round file can be essential to get the drilled hole to the correct size.
Here’s a more worthwhile shot of the plastic spike attached with superglue. I use the gel type as MDF tends to just soak up the liquid variety.
And here’s a shot of the plant re-attached to the spike. Again a dab of superglue was applied to hold the plant in place. With the spike and the glue this will be fr more resilient than just glue.
Now some behind the scenes action. Here you can see the under-side of the base. The standing foliage still needs to be trimmed off, whereas the palm trees have already been trimmed. Ensuring that the plastic goes through the MDF will really increase the strength of these models.
These can be snipped off with cutters and then rubbed down with a medium grade sand paper.
So, here’s the basic test models with the trees, standing foliage and pegs attached.
At this point I was faced with a BIG questions. How was I going to base the model. Normally I use sharp sand, sometimes with added larger rocky bits; however, I wanted to add some dead plant fibre on the jungle floor as well. I had done this with my fir trees a while ago and liked the look. So, the first step was to add my usual sand mix to the base. This can be a bit fiddly with the plants, but fear not, just slap on the PVA and dip in sand. After which allow to dry and paint on a 1:2 mix of PVA and water to hold this in position.
As you can see, the PVA and some sand gets stuck on the lower foliage, but when dry this will come off with a gentle rub between two fingers to leave the leaves clean and read for paint.
Next step is adding the plant fibre which, by coincidence, has just arrived from Amazon. One of the tips I picked up on-line was that dried mixed herbs make good ground cover, representing fallen palm fronds and other such detritus. Being unsure how much I needed and not particularly good with metric weights, I ordered a 1kg bag of herbes de provence from Amazon for the princely sum of eight quid. This is what I got. 28mm figure for scale.
Ahem. A ridiculous amount. It does make me wonder why any of us buy those small pots from the supermarket when you can get this quantity for such a price. However, I am here to advise on terrain building not shopping habits. I reckon that this bad would cover roughtly a square mile of wargames terrain as opposed to the few feet I am building. So, if you do go down this route something like 200g would be better. Better still, revert to pounds and ounces so I know what I am doing.
So, slap on the PVA again and chuck buckets of herbes de provence over the bases. My workshop now smells like a Bob Marley concert; truly herbal.
Shake off. Allow to dry then slap over a 1:2 mix of PAV to water to seal the lot in place. You end up, after a night drying, with this:
Things to note. Once the herbs are in place, the plastic pegs I put in for the ground cover plants (which have not yet been added) are too short to be ideal. I should have replaced them with lengths of wood, either tooth picks or kebab sticks depending on the plant aperture. However, that’s a lesson learned for when I do the main build. You may note that I have largely limited the herbs to the central area and left the sand mix showing around the edges. This is my preference as fallen plant fibre would, in my mind, fall under the trees. But actually much more of this will be covered up alter in the build so, again, we will see how that runs. This is very much a ‘make it up as you go along’ project I fear,
Okay, so today I am hoping to get these painted up to base coat. I am going to spray them with a black undercoat and then paint on chocolate brown exterior paint as the base coat. After that we start applying the real colours. I am also hoping that the wife goes out as I want to nick some of her kitchen equipment to make some real ground cover foliage. That said, I am already getting the “move your stuff, I am trying to make mince pies/Yule log/trifle/sausage rolls/etc.” routine. so who knows what today will allow me to get done. Sitrep tomorrow, Christmas morning!
This list covers the early part of the war in the North African desert and is suitable for the period from 1940 through to late 1941 covering the Italian attempts to invade Egypt in late 1940, the British and Commonwealth counter-attack of Operation Compass and then the German involvement with Unternehmen Sonnenblume and the British