Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Making 15mm Hedges

In preparation fora 15mm WWII game this coming Thursday evening at my house, I began working on some portable hedges. I used the same techniques Games Workshop and others recommend, cutting scouring pads into strips and gluing them onto a base. I had my doubts, but in the end I was quite pleased. This is a great, easy project that any new gamer or kid will enjoy doing. Plus, who couldn't use more terrain?

Making the Hedges
For these hedges, I cut the scouring pad 1cm high more or less, roughed them up a bit. Though I did mark the cut lines with a dull pencil, being exact really isn't critical. After all, nothing in nature is perfect. When I had enough strips, I glued each onto its own 6" popsicle stick. I also cut one strip into thirds and glued them onto cut down sticks. I can use these small strips as fillers or corners. Eventually, I will make true corner pieces, bending a strip to fit on a custom cut L-shaped section of balsa wood.

Important Tip: Always weight the hedges with a book or something else heavy, otherwise the sticks will warp. Placing several under the same weight works well. Because I didn't want the sticks to warp at all, I let the glue dry over night. This way I knew they would be fine.

Painting the Hedges
The next day, I took the dry sticks of hedges outside for a good primer of Wal-mart black $1 spray paint. When that dried throughly, I began "wet" drybrushing the hedges with Ceramcoat Forest Green 2010, leaving some black for depth. This part felt like it took forever! When that color dried, I began normally drybrushing with Ceramcoat Medium Foliage Green 2536, then Light Foliage Green 2537, followed by a very light brushing of Moss Green 2570 for the highlights.

Basing the Hedges
The base is painted Ceramcoat Autumn Brown as are all my bases. I then mixed some Woodland scenics Fine Brown Ballast with some Coarse Brown Ballast and glued that is random places, making it look more natural. Finally, I applied Scenic Express' Pasture Blend flock to the base. In the photo to the lower-left, the worn down section of hedge, the dirt, and "thinned-out" grass make it look like some soldiers have been taking a shortcut through that section. Don't let it fool you. This section is a bit lower than others, which normally come up to about shoulder height.

This morning, I gave the hedges a quick spray of Dulcote. All said, a few evenings light work. Total cost for these hedges (one scouring pad): about 60 cents. Who can't love that price? By the way, one pad makes 10 full sticks.

Final Thoughts
When he first saw the unprimed scouring pad hedges, my son felt they looked ugly, nothing like a hedge. He changed his mind when he saw the final product. Sure, they won't win any fine scale modeling award, but for less than a buck they work for me! This was an easy project. If a club were to pre-make the glued and primed sticks of hedges, kids and others at a gaming convention could make a couple in one sitting and have something useful that looks good as well.

Update 3-18: More Ideas From TMP
To stop the sticks warping, BrianW at TMP suggests possibly using hot glue instead of regular glue. The sticks would be ready in mere minutes instead of waiting overnight. I'll try this for the next batch. Coopman also at TMP mentiones using air filter material for hedges, which is a good suggestion for larger scales. The material is more 'open and loose' than scouring pads. I'm thinking I could apply some Woodland Scenics Fine Green Blend flock to the filter for a lusher look as well. Great suggestions, guys!