Big Bamboo: Terrain for the Philippines

Bamboo 4

The Philippines calls for some interesting terrain pieces.  Much of the the islands are covered with jungle, so I’ve tried to acquire some bits I can make jungle-like terrain from.  I’ve gotten materials I can use to make rice paddies from.  I’ve also picked up some of the Pegasus banana trees.  I haven’t done anything with those yet. But, yesterday, my first since returning from J-Camp, I did sit down to work with materials to build a bamboo forest.

There are some great bamboo trees.  They are available from Amazon.  They are by WINOMO and come 100 trees for $14.95.  They are nice, but I don’t really think I got 100 of them.  100 sounds like a lot, but bamboo forests are very dense.  Think of your average hunk of bamboo.  Thin trunks with some leaves.  They can pack ’em in really tight.  So, you use a lot.

They need to be drilled into a suitable base.  I was poking through my piles o’ stuff and found some very small hills we used for micro armor back in the day.  They are made of resin, and I hauled out the ol’ Dremel tool and drilled lots of holes to an appropriate size and super-glued the bamboo in.  I got through one and half of these hills and ran out of models.  I’ve ordered two more packs for the remaining bits I have.  The resin is nice because they are heavy enough to provide ballast for the all the bamboo.

Bamboo 3

This is my partly completed forest The resin base is drilled out waiting for more bamboo. These may look familiar, and are products of the middle eighties. They are about 7 1/2 inches long and at the widest point about 2 1/2 inches. Something I can use them for rather than sitting in my unused DBA terrain chest. Note the holes are really drilled close together so they can be planted densely.

I use an unusual ground cover for the base.  Spices.  That’s right spices.  The jungle forest floor tends to be covered with leaves, so I wanted something largely representative. I use oregano and basil combined together in a little bowl.  I put down my PVA glue and water and just cover the base with the mixture and let it sit for an hour until good and dry..  Spray with Dullcote and I think it looks pretty good. Even if it doesn’t, it smells like spaghetti. Note, I just use the cheap dried stuff. I also use it on my miniature bases for the Philippines.

I dunno if it looks good but it sure smells great.

And this is the finished product.

Bamboo 5

I’ll have several of these.  There is often lots of bamboo forest in these jungle campaigns.  Very rough going.  American soldiers in Vietnam talk about making about 100 yards per hour cutting through these forests.  I’ll probably make as many as six of these in various sizes and put them on irregular shaped moss sheets available at Jo Ann’s Fabrics for not a ridiculous amount of money.

Moss Sheet

Yes, I know the glare makes this largely unhandy.

The first of several terrain types I’ll be making and I’m pleased to at least get started on them.


4 comments on “Big Bamboo: Terrain for the Philippines

  1. Jonathan Freitag says:

    Your bamboo forest is nice! I never considered making a bamboo forest for jungle terrain but always defaulted back to palm groves. Great idea!

    • kgsmyth55 says:

      Thanks Jon. It was pretty easy to do. You just need lots of the bamboo. I was in Pullman all last week and thought about trying to reach you, but was really up to my eyeballs with responsibility. Hope all is well.

      • Jonathan Freitag says:

        Hi Kevin,
        When I read that you were traveling to Pullman for the week, I thought the same. Nancy and I just returned from a week in Montreal last night or I would have contacted you to see if we could connect. Maybe next time?

      • kgsmyth55 says:

        I am the director of a student journalism camp. We moved this year from WWU to WSU, and the Murrow School was a super partner. I’ve decided to continue my role despite retirement and we signed a three year deal with the university. So I’ll be heading back to the Palouse about the same time next year. Was in Montreal last summer and really enjoyed it.

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