laser cut jungle

Okay, so I have been showing some bits of homemade jungle let's try now to show some factory made jungle.



You guys know diorama maker JBA? he's good with water and do all of his dioramas with water and you know one of the main reasons why? 

He perfectly knows that the one of the hardest things to do in diorama making is ground cover, because no matter what way you use, it will still take up to 1 hour per cm² to do something that you can call decent afterwards -while with water you can do -at least 2 or 3 cm² every hour of work..



Of all the (mostly worthless as a whole) stuff sellers try to sell us for diorama making, the single most important product to have seen the light of day these past few years has obviously be the laser cut leaves. 

For years we had photoetch leaves which I consider as being one of diorama making's capital sins -I have a great bit of smile when I see a diorama using those steel ultra stiff and thick leaves -and when you do,n't really care about what you are doing, you may even had one point of unpainted metal making it through the diorama and reflecting the lightning spots in modelling shows!

Yet I have yet to see one diorama using this paper stuff in a way I would find satisfying. Maybe there is one such diorama but I don't spend my time in forums and never go to shows -but what I saw was not much interesting and this is the reason why:



The stuff is really very expensive, so I guess John Modeler just thinks "well, I have been spending tons of money in this, it's got to be a ready made product, something that will look great with a minimum of effort."

To what I answer.

"MY FRIEND YOU ARE WRONG!"

really, nobody who is after what looks like the real thing would allow himself to use the stuff without a lot of work on it..*because if you do, it will look as terrible as if you used some photoetch stuff* 



And here we go..

Here's the stuff I will use: 

on my left: Fredericus Rex lazer cut leaves, I have been buying those, expensive, look good, some leaves "trunks" are really too thick.

on my right Model Scene stuff. Somebody gave them to me (Thanks again Mr J.S.). I wonder if you don't pay a lot the packaging on those..

On first glance the Model Scene stuff is probably more expensive, but you have to really look carefully to what you buy because some of their stuff (like dandelions) are really MUCH to thick. But then no dandelions in the jungle 

The best of the lot was surely those Low Weeds honestly I found those *incredible*.

Okay here we start the work on them..



Let's face it, this paper really looks too thick, too stiff, here we're gonna destroy it a bit..

First the bit at the center of the leaf -I use a modeling knife and I press each leaf against a "corduroy cardboard sheet" (sorry for the lack of words)

Then, leaves are globally of a more "spheric" shape, so let's crush again the leaves, this time using some bowl kind of modeling knife

Well, good now they really start looking like something, but then this stuff is pretty fragile -first you won't be able to work on those low weeds if you don't separate each of the 5 branches one from another and then, THERE ARE SOME WAYS OF GETTING THE STUFF LESS FRAGILE...

coat the stuff with CA glue

After that you can start turning the leaves in their definite position using some tweezers and glue them on the ground after having applying some kind of undercoat (I used a dark brown, that's for the underside of the leaves to be okay.



Then the main reproach we can do to this stuff has not been addressed:

indeed the stuff is really 2 dimensional, no thickness on the branches.. so that's not a real problem on the Model Scene stuff, but it is on the Fredericus Rex stuff has some weed branches can be up to 1.5mm wide.



So let's apply some acrylic thick gel on the leaves, on the branches so that they can get just a bit of the thickness, and believe me it works

Now those model Scene weeds are simply *unusable* if you don't coat them with CA. Otherwise they sort of break and fall apart. 

the good way to put those to shape is using this kind of cardboard I use and simply press the center with a match or something similar and you've got a perfect shape

Fredericus Rex ferns, just try to individualize every branch, twist them in every sense, bend them with a modelling knife and coat them with CA..

So here is the scene with most of the plants with brown-green under-painting, the top right is actually in the process of being painted. I do want to create some kind of light patches here and there so the colours will vary a lot in the end.