Making Jungle Terrain Tutorial

28mm jungle terrain

When you're making a Jungle themed gaming table it's nice to have some actual jungle pieces. In this topic I'll cover how I make my jungle pieces. I hope to show you how I do it so you can copy this or you can change them to fit your jungle table. I like my jungle to be modular so I can have different set-ups with every time I set up the gaming table.

Cutting the shapes from MDF
Step 1: Get a sheet of 4mm thick MDF and mark out some organic shapes with a marker. Before I drew the shapes I measured out area's of 3"x3", 6"x3", 9"x3" and 6"x6" and drew the shapes in there. You can see it on the picture below. (ignore left side of the picture, those will become mountains and hills for a later tutorial).

Step 2: Cut out the shapes from the MDF Sheet with a jigsaw and cut the sharp edges with a hobby knife. Then sand them down so you get smooth and curved edges.

Tree bark ready for the oven
Step 3: You might want to add some rocks to your jungle.You can get bags of tree bark from the garden store. They are pretty cheap and a large bag will last you a lifetime. Funnily enough the tree bark will look more realistic then using actual rocks and will keep it light in weight. The tree bark is still a bit moist when you take them out of the bag. You can leave them out of the bag for a couple of days to let them dry but I heated up the oven and then put the tree bark in the oven on a baking tray with the oven turned off. The heated oven will dry the tree bark in about half an hour.

Tree bark scrub down!
Step 4: When the tree bark is dry I take a stiff toothbrush and start scrubbing the tree bark. Lots of dust and small bits will come of and the edges will get that realistic rock like appearance. This also prevents the rocks from chipping later on when you have painted them.

Hot glue gun is...HOT!!!
Step 5: Take a hot glue gun and glue the pieces of tree bark down on the bases. Try to work as neat as possible and watch out, hot gue gun is...hot. I got some minor burns from the hot glue dripping from the gun. But if you want good looking scenery some second degree burns are a small price to pay.

Seal the tree bark
Step 6: This is a very important step which should not be skipped. Take some PVA glue and water it down with about 40% water. Now take a brush and coat all the bits of tree bark with a generous splash of the watered down PVA mix. The dry tree bark will soak up the mix and it will make it stronger, prevent it from chipping and makes it easier to paint later on because the tree bark will not soak up your paint. I water the PVA down because the tree bark will soak it up a bit easier but also because you will keep the most detail like this instead of with pure PVA glue.

 disco dip, nuts or sand sir?
Step 7: When the PVA mix on the tree bark is dry we can start to add sand to the bases. I coated the topside of the bases with pure PVA glue and then dumped them into a bucket of sand. Make sure the sand sticks to all the areas and no white parts are showing. Shake off the excess sand and leave them to dry. Also make sure no sand is glued to the underside.

Step 8: It's time to get the jungle bases painted up and plant the trees and plants. When you are making a complete jungle table I suggest using the same color for the jungle terrain pieces as you're using for the gaming table. This will make sure your scenery blends into the table seamlessly. When you do this it's a good idea to go to your local DYI shop and buy a can of cheap matte paint in the desired colour. I bought a can of a sort of light beige sandy colour. You can also do this for your rocks, hills and mountains just make sure you buy a water based paint because it will dry faster, smells less and will not melt any polystyrene you might use in your scenery pieces.

Paint the rocks first. easier that way.
Step 9: Now paint up the rocks with your desired colour. Once dry also wash the rocks and drybrush with the original colour. Now with the rocks you want to create a bit more depth and contrast so use lighter colours and drybrush at least two more times. I used a grey'ish/ brown color and drybrushed it with Vallejo Brown Sand , then Vallejo Iraqui Sand and last Vallejo Ivory. 

Washing the jungle bases
Step 10: Make a wash of a brownish colour, for scenery pieces I just pick a colour I want to use and then add a load of water to it to thin it creating a cheap and easy wash. For scenery pieces like these it's not really rocket science. When the wash is dry I drybrush the pieces with the original colour to create a bit of depth.

Starting to look like a jungle
Step 11: Now the painting is done and dry it's time to get creative with some plastic (aquarium) plants and model trees and foliage. A cheap and good place to buy these is Ebay where you can get quite a variety. Start with the larger pieces and work to smaller pieces. Just place them in a irregular pattern. I use a hot glue gun and super glue for this.

 Step 12: Some plastic plants might look a bit too much like toy trees. Ad some different colours of green and brown with an airbrush if you have one but you can also use a drybrush technique to create depth. I also removed most of the obvious moldlines and flash but this can be a bit of a tedious job... I finish this step by spraying some matte varnish over the plants and trees to take of the plastic/shiny look. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of this to show you the difference but if you compare the picture from the last step with the picture from the next step you will see I have painted the palm trees up, added some green variety to the plain green leaves and gave it a matte coat of varnish to take the shine off.

Painted and matte coated
Step 13: Now it's time to add the last bit to your jungle bases. I have added some small green flock here and there and for the fallen leaf effect I used a kitchen mix of Italian herbs. Very cheap and you can get a lot of different kinds. At first it is kind of smelly but that will go after about a week. I have also added some grass tufts. I have bought these from Gamers Grass, great service, good product and good variety of colors, shapes and sizes. I mix up the tufts and then I'm done. ready to use on your gaming table.

Jungle base done

With some figures for reference

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