Yes, We Have No Bananas…Yet

A couple of days absence due to LOTS of work being done rather than none, but this has largely been boring paint slapping work on the jungle and a horrendous experience with a new project, banana groves.  In the spirit of “good news and bad news”, let’s begin with the good.  The jungle.
As you may recall, when we last looked at the main jungle build I was slapping green paint on the foliage.  With this done I went back and touched up the trunks with the base coat brown where I had accidentally toshed green on them.  With that done the next job was to add the ground cover.  Remember that this is the new time and motion method, so I didn’t highlight the bases first, this mix would go straight onto the plain brown base.
I painted on PVA glue, sprinkled on the ground cover mix, a mixture of the herbes de provence and the chopped up clump foliage I had made.  With this in place I sprayed the whole lot with a PVA water mix at about 1:6 consistency.  LI had used 1:8 before but it seemed a bit weedy, so I glugged in some more PVA to the bottle. 
When that was 75% dry I painted the tree trunks in a light chocolate colour and then highlighted in cream.  i used exactly the same colours to highlight the base, making the trunks and bases a very quick job.

You can see where we have got to below.  The next step is to add the low standing foliage to the spikes which are there waiting for them.  I will do this with superglue but will allow these to dry overnight before adding them, just to be certain that the ground cover has set.

Compared to the text build, we have really reduced the time and effort spent on these to the point where, with the exception of painting the foliage green (which is tedious in the extreme), it’s been pretty damned quick.  Joy of joys.
Less joyful are my bananas.  Let us consider my tale of woe.
I purchased two boxes of Pegasus Banana trees from eBay.  Nice, cheap, cheerful.  They look like this.

Ideal you may think, and I suspect that they are  However, being a lay git I stuck them together with superglue rather than plastic cement and there my problems began.  Plastic cement is queer stuff in that it doesn’t work like glue, it actually melts the plastic so that the two parts almost merge into each other and a strong bond is created.  Superglue just acts like cement between two bricks in that it is the strong join.  Or in this case, weak join.
Here they are, looking smashing and stuck onto three of the rather spiffing bases from the Warbases terrain base range. Let’s talk bases for a moment.  Warbases produce a whole selection of terrain bases which range from 10cm square to 27.5cm by 20cm, so in real life that is anywhere between 4″ square up to 11″ by 8″.  What is really nice about these is that they do them in 2mm and 3mm (I prefer the thicker 3mm for terrain) and which I say they are 4″ square, they are not; they are a bit wibbly-wobbly so look nice and natural on the table rather than perfectly regular.  It’s a simple idea but one done very well indeed.  You can find them here:    Warbases Terrain Bases

The other nice thing about Warbases is that they are happy to be associated with TooFatLardies rules sets such as Chain of Command and What a Tanker.  Always good to know…
Well, despite these banana plantations looks great when freshly glued, the wheels rapidly came off. In my usual way I wasn’t happy just plonking these trees on the bases, I looked up some snaps of banana plantations on Google and was struck by how messy they were.  Here’s a stock photo which i actually just a photo of my screen, but you can see how the trunks are not like ordinary tree trunks, but have a strange wrapping of old woody leaves around them.  What is more the floor is covered in shed leaves and plant fibre.  Being practical, I wasn’t going to shove my banana trees so close together as I wanted to get figures on the bases too.  But I did want the fallen plant fibre to be represented.

The first step was to cut up some paper into strips and wrap these round the tree trunks.  Of course this was where my superglue joints proved to be not just less than perfect, but totally bloody imperfect!  I needed a solution.

The truth is that I failed to find an ideal one.  I added lengths of steel rod, using a paper clip, but the trunk was so thin I could not drill into it.  In the end I simply packed the base of the tree with large amounts of superglue and carried on.  I am perfectly sure that this is going to come back to bite me, but hey ho.  As can be seen, the losses due to incorrect glue were about 50:50, but I carried on adding more strips of paper to the bases to represent the fallen plant fibre.
At this point three of the trees decided to shed their canopy.  I attempted to super-heat a small steel pin and use this to lock the trunk and the canopy together, but that only served to burn my fingers.  In the end I grabbed a tube of Impact Evo-Stick, a glue so powerful and evil it can only have been created by Saruman in some hellish pit.  But by God it works.  Well, I hope it does.  With my less than perfect trees all back together again I dry brushed up the bases.  Sone of the shed leaves I will paint green to match the canopy as they are freshly fallen, but you can see the overall effect I want.  Imperfect as it is.

So that is the banana plants from Hell.  Interestingly, I have one more box of these which I will be making up and taking a bit more care. I will use the correct glue and drill out each part so that it assembles as snugly as possible, adding strength as a result.  Part of me feels that these models are going to be just too flimsy for wargaming use, but on the other hand I made such a ham-fisted job of these that I only have myself to blame…
More tomorrow.


5 thoughts on “Yes, We Have No Bananas…Yet”

  1. As your pioneering methods take us on a journey where we haven’t been before, it is appreciated that we get to learn from your mistakes and you have shown us where there is a will then there is a way. Your jungle and huts are looking superb and your paper idea for the flooring on the banana bases is spot on.
    Happy New Year to you Richard.

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