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lowlylowlycook

Ethiopian Terrain: need help

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So despite already having 20 unpainted minis, I got talked into starting a WW2 miniature game called Bolt Action.  Because A) I always have to do things the hard way (fewer people make WW2 Ethiopians than British, Germans Russians and Americans, shocking I know) and B) because the country is always close to my heart and C) it's a chance to learn some new history that I previously didn't know much about, I'm going to make an Ethiopian Army.  Or more accurately a mashup of British troops and advisers, some Sikh soldiers and native Ethiopian soldiers of various types.

 

What's got me maybe even more excited though is the idea of taking the opportunity to make some nice terrain that would hopefully evoke the feel of the countryside there.  I'm new to making terrain but of course I can probably find some nice tutorials on plateaus, ravines, tilled farmland, etc.  Other things that are particular to Ethiopia, I've had less luck finding. In particular there are some iconic things I'd like to be able to make:

 

False Banana Tree (If ever you are asked to eat this, called enset, politely decline).

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 post-8223-0-87031000-1427249517_thumb.jpg

 

A kind of typical Ethiopian Hut

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For the False Banana Tree, I don't know if I should maybe start with some kind of scale palm tree and cut them short or maybe just look through a selection of plastic plants until I can find something suitable and then attack that with scissors.  Also no obvious way of doing the half shed branches occurs to me.

 

For the hut, I've come across advice to do the thatching using fake fur.  And I guess the walls could just be any kind of tube or pipe of the right size  with some kind of texture added.

 

Any advice?

 

Now if I could just find some minis for a coffee ceremony in 28mm...

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The banana tree might not be too hard. Off the top of my head, I can envision leaves cut from thin styrene or card stock. At places like Jo-Ann and Michaels, you should be able to find floral ties in the fake-plants sections, made from wire wrapped in coarse paper. Those would be just fine for the trunks.

 

I don't know what your skill level with terrain is, but Terrain for Hippos is a great, fun blog aimed at people who don't have a lot of time, or are just starting making terrain. And, they happen to have an African Hut tutorial, right...

 

Here.

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Look at sites like terragenesis too for inspiration.

 

Maybe youtube got some stuff on this subject too.

 

Nowadays just google and you can come up with loads of stuff.

 

I would like to see the WIP and or the finished models..

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I think I have seen things like the false banana trees sold as decor for fish tanks.

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I think I have seen things like the false banana trees sold as decor for fish tanks.

 

Michael's &Hobby Lobby also have various artificial foliage that would match up closely to the False Banana plants.

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I wonder if you could paint bird feathers to look like the trees.

Experience tells me that would be messy, difficult and time consuming. Plus, out of scale. The leaves of the false banana have rather larger segments than a feather could provide.

 

I doubt there will be anything too close in an artificial plant dept. at a hobby place. It's just too odd a design. But I think I agree with Pingo in having possibly seen something somewhat similar to this in an aquarium store.

 

All that said, these trees really are probably very easy to make with some wire, twine (or the aforementioned paper-wrapped wire from Michaels), and some sort of thin, strong sheet. Evergreen makes styrene sheets as thin as a piece of paper. All you'd need to do for the leaves is cut out the shape, slice the segments, bend it in half up the middle and spray paint it green. For a larger tree, you wrap two or three of the paper-twine things together, paint it brown, glue the folded leaves on thin wire, then stick them on.

 

It might take a few hours, but it's going to be closer than any of the artificial plant stuff, I think. Your effort is going to depend on how closely you want to simulate it. But if you are interested in developing and learning as a terrain maker, then this is a great opportunity.

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Thanks for the ideas guys.  I wouldn't even have thought about aquarium scenery.  Looks like I'll be dropping by quite a few stores this afternoon.

 

Would you guys recommend craft paint for the terrain?

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also scalelink and hasselfree miniatures sell etched brass foliage which includes some tropicals, especially on the scalelink site- they're UK companies.  If you search the scalelink site, search for tropical banana leaves.  They're more expensive, but the quality and durability are excellent.

 

For the trunk of the tree if you have any loblolly or longleaf pines, the twigs have the bumpy look you're going for.

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1) Pegasus Hobbies makes 1/72 scale banana trees (Amazon carries them).

 

1A) To scratchbuild those leaves, your best bet is probably to start with green craft paper, cut the basic leaf shape, then cut in from the edges at appropriate distances. When the cutting is done, paint them to make them look more like leaves and less like paper. Then attach them to a trunk made of tape-wrapped wire, with the wire acting as the branches.

 

2) Many companies make 25mm scale thatched round huts.

 

2A) Tube for the body of the building, a disc of cardboard with a wedge cut out makes a good conical base. And as you noted, fake fur works well for thatch (you can get grayish brown easily). You'll need to cut the fur in pieces to keep the strands going the right way, then you can mat it down with thinned white glue before painting.

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On the aquarium plants - great idea. There is a tutorial I just watched on youtube where someone took an aquarium plant and turned it into bamboo. I only mention it because I wouldn't have thought to buy a plant (or maybe multiple plants) and get my scissors out and start modifying it into a different plant. So that might work for you there if you can find something that have enough to the leaves that you can get them to look like the false banana tree.

 

Love your ideas for the terrain by the way, and hope you will post that and your army once you get it going.

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How big are those trees supposed to be...here's a craft store fern segment as an unspecified jungle plant with 28mm figures:

post-12821-0-02262400-1427513015_thumb.jpg

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There is a type of painter's masking tape that is green. Apply that to a wire. Fold it sticky side to sticky side. Dip in darker green paint. Hang to dry. Cut slices up to the wire.

 

That might work as a scratch build method.

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How big are those trees supposed to be...here's a craft store fern segment as an unspecified jungle plant with 28mm figures:

 

According to a random website that google fished up, they are 15-20 feet tall.  That seems about right.

 

I think paper or tape over wire sounds like the best plan.  In fact that first picture makes it hard to believe that actual  false banana trees aren't similarly made.   :lol:  But it might be the case that a very realistic model will look to simplistic on the table  

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Well I had a shipping tube and some sandy grout that a friend gave me a while ago and bought some fake fur (turns out that a yard of cloth is quite a lot!)...

 

This is the hut before I try to paint it (Lieutenant  Skalinsi is from my Polish 1st Armored Div force that I'm experimenting with color schemes for)

 

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