Thursday, July 15, 2010

3mm Sci-fi Jungle

Mechas and infantry carefully pick their way through a tubetree jungle.

I wanted a suitable alien-looking jungle on the cheap. Inspired by adolescent memories of GDW's classic wargame Bloodtree Rebellion, I decided that I would do giant tubercular trees which catch water in their middles. Following C.J. Cherryh's sparse descriptions of "woolwood" in her Cyteen series, I decided I wanted the trunks to be a mass of tangled blue-grey branches.

So I bought a medium-sized loofa sponge for a dollar down at the SAARA and cut it up into chunks. I hot-glued the chunks to some old Mechwarrior cards I had lying about, then painted them black, using a fairly heavy black wash and squishing it into the sponge structure with my hands. When that dried, I dry-brushed the sponges with blue-grey. The result was the following:

I then painted the base terracota and did a tan drybrush over that.

When everything had dried, I glooped up the top upper 2/3rds of the sponge with white glue and dipped it in Woodland Scenics generic green flock. I then glooped more glue on the base and put down a layer of fine yellow flock, followed by more green flock. When that dried, I glued clumps of coarse dark green flock around the base and a layer of coarse light green flock along the top of the sponge. Finally, I laid a bead of white glue over the light green flock and dipped the top of the sponge in a tin of Gailforce 9's green summer static grass.

To finish it off, I painted the bottom of the hole in the center of the sponge blue, as if water was reflecting the sky.

Here's the result:

I made two smaller clumps like this and one big jungle piece, complete with path through the middle. Here's a top shot:

Total time taken for the project, maybe 2 hours all told, outside of drying time. Total cost, maybe 5 USD.


  1. Fantastic work! Simple but very effective and they look the part perfectly.

    I might have to try something like this for my 10mm thickets and scrub.

  2. Excellent work ,and very effective - I can imagine it might be a bit stressful trying to get the paint to penetrate into the loofah structure though!

  3. Not really, as long as you're willing to get your hands dirty. You gloop on a thick wash and then squeeze it in. Also, as you can see from the unfinished photo, you don't need to get it COMPLETELY black. Once the flocking and everything is on, the shadows will naturally blacken most of the interior. You can touch up any odd natural bits with a brush at that point. I didn't need to do that on any of these pieces however.