Build Bocage, Buddy (Part II)

Part one of this bocage making tutorial is located here. In this part, we’re going to be working on foliage.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Your banks from Part I.
  • Generic air filter material. I got mine at Lowe’s. It won’t have a cardboard border, or anything fancy like that, on it.
  • Scissors
  • Fingers
  • Big piece of cardboard or posterboard
  • Brown spraypaint.
  • Tan spraypaint.
  • A garage.
  • Hot glue gun (and hot glue). Other glues may work, but I like the hot stuff because it’s super quick.
  • Spray bottle. I have a Woodland Scenics one, but an old window cleaner bottle would probably work just as well.
  • Warm water/white glue (70/30)
  • Coarse flock. At least two colors.
  • Fine flock (only for the discriminating terrain maker)
  • Box-o-flock
  • A back porch.
Ye olde generic air filter material. Notice the blobby little bits on the face of the material? I think this stuff is cut with heat, somehow (laser? heated saw?), and this melts/cauterizes the faces. This makes the faces a bit more structurally rigid, which you can use to your advantage.

Ye olde generic air filter material. Notice the blobby little bits on the face of the material? I think this stuff is cut with heat, somehow (laser? heated saw?), and this melts/cauterizes the faces. This makes the faces a bit more structurally rigid, which you can use to your advantage. I think this cost me +/- $6 at Lowe’s.

Cut a strip roughly the same size as the base the foilage will belong to.

Cut a strip roughly the same size as the base the foilage will belong to.

Give it some shape with your scissors. Eliminate all right angle edges.

Give it some shape with your scissors. Eliminate all right angle edges.

I think the air filter material works best with the cauterized nodules at the top and bottom of the filter mass. It withstands the weight of glue and flock better than the alternate orientation, which tends to lead to a 'scooped out' look to the top. In any case, it's time to use your hands. Tear, tease, rip, and otherwise cajole the air filter material into a vaguely hedge shaped 'cloud'. Test fit, and trim, tease, rip, and cajole until you're happy.

Time to use your hands. Tear, tease, rip, and otherwise cajole the air filter material into a vaguely hedge shaped ‘cloud’. Test fit, and trim, tease, rip, and cajole until you’re happy.

More foliage clouds.

More foliage cloud test fits. DON’T GLUE THEM DOWN YET.

Get some paint. The brown will be the primary color. The tan will be used for highlighting. This stuff doesn't need to be very high quality. It's more about quantity, really.

Get some paint. The brown will be the primary color. The tan will be used for highlighting. This stuff doesn’t need to be very high quality. It’s more about quantity, really.

This lovely photo is of a bunch of foilage pieces painted brown. You'll need to do this somewhere protected from the wind, as the filter material is extremely light. Which means a garage, most likely. Get a big piece of cardboard and a tarp to protect the floor.

This lovely photo is of a bunch of foilage pieces painted brown. You’ll need to do this somewhere protected from the wind, as the filter material is extremely light. Which means a garage, most likely. Get a big piece of cardboard and a tarp to protect the floor. Air filter material will take a LOT of spray paint to get good coverage. Expect to do multiple coats. Yes, I hate it too. Suck it up, buttercup.

Brown, oh brown. This is after three coats and an overnight drying. You can still see a bit of blue. Not a biggie. Proceed. Get your hot glue gun, and, working quickly apply it to the toothpicks. pull the foliage down on the toothpicks, snug with the tops of the dirt banks. If you're having trouble getting everything done on time, you can go one toothpick at a time with your hot glue gun, and sort of 'roll' the foliage on, until you're up to speed. Clean up the inevitable glue spiderwebs, then go back to the garage, this time with your tan paint.

Brown, oh brown. This is after three coats and an overnight drying. You can still see a bit of blue. Not a biggie. Proceed. Get your hot glue gun, and, working quickly apply it to the toothpicks. pull the foliage down on the toothpicks, snug with the tops of the dirt banks. If you’re having trouble getting everything done in good time, you can go one toothpick at a time with your hot glue gun, and sort of ‘roll’ the foliage on, until you’re up to speed. Clean up the inevitable glue spiderwebs, then go back to the garage, this time with your tan paint.

Lightly dust the tops of your bocage with the tan paint. This is just to give it some volume and light effects. Don't worry about your banks, it won't hurt them a bit. The figures are just for scale reference-don't paint them tan!

Lightly dust the tops of your bocage with the tan paint. This is just to give it some volume and light effects. Don’t worry about your banks, it won’t hurt them a bit. The figures are just for scale reference-don’t paint them tan!

Now on to the fun part. Mix together various colors of coarse turf together in a good sized box. I like burnt grass and medium green. Maybe add in some fine turf, too. Maybe a little yellow grass color. You get the point-mix up flock until you have a nice complicated mix of colors. DON’T USE A SINGLE COLOR. Please.

Grab your big piece of cardboard you used to paint on, your bocage-to-be, your box-o-flock, your spray bottle of water and glue (I like 70/30 using warm water. Seems to mix better), and go somewhere somewhat protected from the wind and where you won’t get in trouble making a mess. I like the back porch, myself.

Hold the bocage upside down over your big piece of cardboard and spray the heck out of it with your glue mix. You’ll probably get some drops on the bank. That’s not a bad thing. Maybe shake the bocage piece a couple of times, and then transfer it over to your box of flock. Guess what’s next? Yes, apply flock to the foliage. I tend to scoop it up and ‘pat’ it on to the filter material, in an effort to control how much drops onto the banks, but it’s not a big deal if some does get on the banks. You can scrape it off later, or leave it (which actually looks pretty good).

Let it dry, and then do any cleanup to banks, gates, ground, or whatever. Spray it again to help lock down the flock. Dry. Spray it a third time. Maybe spray it with a nice smelling hairspray after the glue fully dries for a third time. Realize that the bocage is STILL going to shed a bit of flock, and learn to accept it.

What? You expected me to get my camera out when a bunch of liquid glue and flock is flying through the air?! Phhhttt.

Kidding. Sorry about the lack of pictures of the flock step. If it’s confusing, please let me know and I’ll try to clarify.

Anyway, looks like this:

photo 1 photo 2 takingposition onthemove moveit leader combatphotography thefarmPlease excuse the ugly house and 15mm scaled rock walls. I need MANY more feet of bocage. I’m thinking around 30′ for a 6×4 table. I need to make corner pieces, as well. And more gates.

The pictures are from a test game of Chain of Command I played with a friend yesterday. Lots of moving parts to keep track of. But fun!

 

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Comments

  • tinpotrevolutionary  On 06/02/2014 at 12:25 pm

    Your battle board looks fantastic! Well done sir!

    • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 12:33 pm

      Why, thank you!

      I still need to make enough bocage to go to the moon and back three times, but I’ll get there eventually.

      • tinpotrevolutionary  On 06/02/2014 at 12:52 pm

        You know what they say ‘A hedgerow of a thousand miles starts with a single fence post’… or something like that! ;)

      • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 1:08 pm

        That’s a suspiciously similar saying to “a death of a thousand cuts”

  • 40kterminatus  On 06/02/2014 at 1:29 pm

    Looking very good. That filter stuff looks just the job and its forms a better shape than the horse hair. Me thinks I`m going back to the shed for a week and fine tuning my bocage ,shamelessly taking all your best bits :)

    • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 1:45 pm

      I think the filter material _may_ be more work to get into a good shape.

      Before you completely abandon rubberized horse hair, you might take a look at the TooFatLardies blog-they use it to great effect, I think.

      In any case, I look forward to seeing how your bocage develops!

  • 40kterminatus  On 06/02/2014 at 1:29 pm

    Your lovely board reminds me I must make some telegraph polls :)

  • John Dillon  On 06/02/2014 at 6:17 pm

    Excellent tutorial…the table looks fantastic too

    • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you, sir. I can only aspire to do something close to as good as your WWII boards!

  • daggerandbrush  On 06/02/2014 at 6:50 pm

    Very good tutorial. Clear, well written and good pictures to document the process. The final bocages look very realistic. I can, however, see that to fill a whole table many more have to be made. I am still pondering the problem of flock falling off. I guess for hedges the foam clusters (or turf) give a realistic texture, as most hedges have very small leaves or even a “island moss” texture. Instead of spraying the glue on it might work to put it in a big bucket, throw the flock in it and then apply this soaked up clump of hedge. After it is dried, it should have a good texture and be very rigid. One could then drybrush it a bit if necessary.

    Not sure if that works for trees, however. It might give a rather dense finish, while real trees have always some light shining through. I would love to know about MiniNatur’s manufacturing secrets so I can make my own leave nets ;).

    • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks! Glad the tutorial is clear-one never knows, when one is writing these things.

      I do need SO much more bocage. It’s somewhat depressing, actually. I’ll probably just fill in with loose moss, until I can build enough bocage to fill a table.

      You may be on to something with the bucket-o-glue. I’ll give it a shot, next time and let you know how it goes. I must say, though, every kind of vegetation terrain I’ve made sheds a little flock, so it’s something of a losing battle with me. :)

      I need to take a look at these leaf net, things-sounds like they must be great!

      • daggerandbrush  On 06/02/2014 at 7:22 pm

        They are, but they are equally expensive. Really only something for a small project or a centrepiece. However, as the say: You get what you pay for.

  • Frank Arey  On 06/02/2014 at 6:56 pm

    An artiste – a credit to the hobby!

    • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks, Frank. It’s only taken me two years to get to the point where I have something to contribute. :)

  • grantdyck  On 06/02/2014 at 7:19 pm

    Outstanding work there!

  • itineranthobbyist  On 06/02/2014 at 7:20 pm

    Great tutorial and your tables look amazing. I really want to improve the look of my tables.

    The biggest thing – natural earth tones. No bright colors.

    What do you use for your base mat?
    Your hills?
    And your roads?
    And your rivers?

    Ok questioning over.

    • arkiegamer  On 06/02/2014 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you very much!

      https://arkiegamer.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/scratch-made-cloth-and-caulk-gaming-mat/ This will put you on the path to some excellent cloth and caulk gaming mat tutorials, which is how I made my base mat.

      My roads are also of caulk, thinly laid out on wax paper while they cure, and then peeled up. You can put ruts in them, sand for texture, and paint them, as long as you don’t use silicon caulk. Google “caulk roads lloydian apects” and you’ll find a good tutorial on how to do it.

      I haven’t made any rivers yet, but when I do, they’ll be of caulk, as well. There’s a tutorial on the rivers at the Lloydian Aspect site, as well.

      The hills are just pieces of rigid insulation slid under the gaming mat. The mat, itself, is laid over two layers of foam rubber athletic flooring. All of my vertical terrain pieces (trees, telegraph poles) are mounted on needles, and I can poke them through the mat down into the athletic flooring. It’s a really good system, though it does require some setup time.

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