Making Jungle Brush
I've been collecting lush jungle vegetation for a while now thanks large in part to the 50-60% off sales at my local craft store which come up on a regular basis throughout the year. Normally I'll grab a big swatch of the stuff and then strip the fine detail pieces off of the main "vine" on which they were sold to me, and I think I had about seven or so different types to choose from.
Next I went to the hardware store and purchased about four tubes of brown or dark brown caulk. You can use black if you want but I didn't want to go any lighter than light brown because I want there to be a sense of shadow in the vegetation when I am done. You can see that I am going to be using regular newsprint on which to work. I use it because it is easy to peel off afterward, soak in some water if I want to get all of it off, and the I like to place the paper over a screen or other surface where air can get underneath and help with the curing (which is why I'd avoid wax paper etcetera). Notice that I have also cut the nozzle almost completely off giving me a nice large diameter shape.
Next I apply a big tube of caulk to the newsprint in the rough shape I want the vegetation to be. Keep in mind a bending or wider based pattern will make sure the brush stays stable and upright. I then stick my larger pieces of vegetation into the center of the log as it would be harder to get these in with other pieces in the way. You could also stick palm trees in at this point to have them sticking up out of your leafy jungle sections.
Next I take a full length section plucked from the "vine" (at right) and cut it down in half (seen at left). Regardless I make sure to trim off the bottom of the stems to get rid of the blob and make it nice and needle thin for insertion.
I then take my shorter pieces I just cut and stick them in around the base almost parallel to the surface of the table. Experiment to see which vegetation looks best and in what mixture.
I then work my way across the piece, first putting in the shorter sections followed by the longer pieces. I then keep checking the pile from different angles and keep inserting vegetation until I feel it is dense enough. Over time I figured out the best order and combinations to work in, and nature likes odd numbers so keep your bunches uneven. Feel free to have one type of brush concentrated in one part instead of an even coating of everything spread everywhere - it is completely up to you.
Here I have a 28mm officer just for a comparison. Obviously you can make you jungle brush pile as big or as little as you want. You will only be limited by the amount of caulk you have for your base. Be sure to get the inserted tips of vegetation well coated in the mix so they don't fall out later.
Over all it only took me about four hours start to finish to make all of this terrain using my vegetation pile and four tubes of caulk. I happened to have a plastic grid panel from a light in my workshop so that is what my newspaper is on top of and it gives me good curing underneath the pieces. I let these dry overnight as it was summer, but the general rule is the longer they sit the better they set. You could do some paint air brushing if you want, or even a matte finish spray coat to help knock down the plastic shine, but I just left mine the way they arrived and I think they do just fine.
Here is some of the brush on the Maine Historical Wargaming Association club participation battle table for Pirates! which was held at our Huzzah! Con 2016. Overall the terrain is easy to stack and store and really helps to fill the table and make your jungles look awesome!
Cheers & Enjoy!
© 2016, Gabriel Landowski