24 April 2019

Tutorial: Aquarium Plant Jungle

I've been wanting to take up Ghost Archipelago since it first came out. So many games, so little time. Back then I started collecting cheap aquarium plants from ebay, AliExpress, flea markets and the like. Collected a huge box of aquarium stuff, for that day.

Now my regular gaming partner, needed something to paint and started doing a crew for Ghost Archipelago. So that was the go for the jungle build. Next time he comes around, we'll be doing a game of Last Days and a game of Ghost Archipelago.

First some photos of the finished jungle stuff setup on a 3'x4' green felt mat. The felt mat and rivers are cheap and easy to do.

Step-by-step at the end of the article. And here's the Jungle Terrain Hub.

Finished result
Here's the stuff setup on a 3'x4' board. No objectives or anything to take up space - so the jungle does take a lot of space.

The bridges are thin pieces of mahogany, nothing done to them.

The bases are cut from strawberry boxes I find in the local stores container. They have a nice free mdf bottom, perfect for terrain. I've just cut a bunch of different shapes and sizes for it.

After assembling a few, I thought it all needed more height difference. Some of the aquarium plants looked sufficiently like palms. Found some sticks in the garden and drilled a hole in the top, same size as the end of the plants.

Using a dot from the hot glue gun, insert the plants in the stick. I've also attached all the plants to the bases with hot glue.

For even more height variation on in the jungle, I've cut out some angle edged pieces of foam (the kind we hobbyists always save from electronics).

When the palms are dry and in place, add some more hot glue and make some roots. These palms are the weakest part of this project and are just asking to break off the base. This extra layer of glue should lock them down.

I've managed to find some weird looking square feet mats with plants on. These were super easy to peel off and glue to the base as shrub. Two different kinds, a grass type and a leafy type. Even has a nice round base to glue on.

For this entire jungle project, I've used half the small plants from those squares.

Sand up the bases really good. I've also added sand to the sides of the plants (they come with some weird cast stone bases to keep them down in the aquarium. Spraying from a love angle, it's possible to base coat the sand without messing up the plants.

If some of the shrub is messed up, just give it a green spray from the top.

Some of the bases will now look a bit to evenly green, not enough nuance. So some places it's good to give a plant a bit of green spray. Just use some different cheap greens. I even had some purple plants by mistake, so spray painted those as well.

Also hide the glue point between leaves and tree trunk on the palms, with a dap of green spray.

You can easily see examples of this in the photos above, with the finished result.

Get some stones and light twigs and sticks from the garden. We're adding these now, as we don't want them covered in spray pant. It'll add some nice different color and life to the bases.

Mix a box of flock for the bases. I've used different flock, static grass and garden debris. Nice dried stuff, just crushed into the mix. Also added a bit of dry dirt.

Add it to the bases. I mix cheap green acrylic with wood glue and thin it a bit with water. Throw on a lot of flock mix and let it sit there for a bit. It'll soak well with the glue and kit it all better in place. When I've used all the stuff in the box, I then pour off all the excess flock.

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