Plastic PlantsPlastic plants on small bases can be used in many different ways and are easy to store. They are also relatively easy to make provided that you can find suitable plants.
The photo on the right shows a selection of plant bases made by Therry van der Burgt (Sergeant T on the forum) while the photo below shows the raw materials that he used.
Therry obtained his plants from what he describes as an 'interior decorating store', the kind of place that sells things ranging from cups and saucers to small tables. 'Mats' of small plants, like the one on the right, as well as individual plants can also be obtained from pet shops where they are sold for use in aquariums (but these tend to be more expensive). Games Workshop have also recently (2005) started selling mats of plants but this is probably represents the most expensive way to obtain them. Keeping a lookout for suitable plants at discount stores, car boot sales, etc. is probably the cheapest way to ontain them.
For the bases of his plants Therry uses expired (automobile association) cards and small plastic collectable round things that came with bags of crisps ("flippos"), but you can also use figure bases, metal washers and many other items.
If the pieces of plastic plant will stand up on their own, as with the ones in the middle of Therry's pictures, they can be attached to the base with superglue. If not, then they are best attached with a blob of hot glue or epoxy. Hot glue is easier as it sets faster; so you won't need to hold it in place for so long. If you use epoxy you'll have to support it in some way while the glue sets. Therry points out however that if you use metal washers they will tend to cause the hot glue to set rather too fast. This can be avoided by warming the washers up first, perhaps by placing them on top of a radiator (you don't want them getting too hot).
With the plants set in place, Therry covered the remainder of the base with PVA glue and poured a mixture of sand and small pebbles onto it. These were then painted and dry brushed before areas of flock or static grass were applied.
The taller plants (trees), in the photos below were made by Andy Skinner:
The foamcore was then sloped down to the washer, and had holes poked in it to glue the trees into. Andy then painted thinned glue over the foamcore and exposed bits of washer around the edges and dipped it in a sand/fine gravel mix. The bases were then painted and flocked.
The image below illustrates the process that kaarem used to make vegetation using leaves from candle decorations found in a cheap store.
I started by burning the thick end of the (conical) pipecleaner as I didn't want a large root section and folded this part to created a tripod to use as fastening point. I then glued the pipecleaner on to a coin before sliding the stems onto the pipecleaner (largest leaves first).
When I was happy with the adjustment of the leaves I fixed them with a bit of PVA glue. All that was left to do was to paint the visible part of the pipecleaner and put some flock on the coin to match my terrain.
The trees in the photo to the right, sent to us by dtbuckley of shredded paper tree fame, make use of such an obvious candidate material that it's amazing that nobody thought to post it sooner: fake pine garland i.e. Christmas tree/wreath decoration.
This clump of trees uses a CD for the base and the garland was wrapped around pipe cleaners to form the trees. Given the amount of this stuff that ends up in the trash after Christmas, this provides a really cheap and easy way to make a forest for your gaming table.