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.