Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven
Schild & Vriend

'Schild en Vriend' is an old Flemish battlecry, used in the rebellion of the city of Brugge against the French, May 18, 1302. Legend tells that it was used to differentiate between the French-speaking (who could not pronounce 'schild') and Flemish-speaking citizens. Nowadays, historians tell us that it was probably 'Des Gilden Vriend'.


For a few tusks more:
The making of a jungle


 One of the prime features of our Darkest Africa game was the splendid jungle (if we say so ourselves) that graced a large area of the gaming board. This jungle was built by club member Bart Dils. Here's his comments on how to build a jungle, and the relation of the meaning of life thereto. 


For starters I have to tell something about Bart V., our high-lead-contamination-risk-member. The man has two characteristics that make him the perfect wargames subguru. Namely one, although his room is literally stockpiled with unpainted figures, he still can't resist buying new piles and is continually exploring new periods. The second, he has some strange attraction towards deadlines. Normal people paint their army and then set up a game. Bart on the other hand sets up a game, realises that he still has to paint a 100 figures for it and then spends all day and night painting them. The basic result of the two is that he has a fast growing supply of painted figures (and an even faster growing one of unpainted figures) (Enough already. People might think I'm weird - BV (-: ).

For a few tusks more is no different from the others. The idea slipped into Bart's head reading an issue of Wargames Illustrated or the new Foundry Catalogue, whichever came first. Anyway, he convinced us to build up this game for the Crisis '98 wargames convention in Antwerp. I, the innocent terrain virgin, was given the important task of building 2 square meters of jungle. Being the ignorant fool I was then, I agreed ((Delegating tasks is a fine art - BV (-: ).


How I made it: A manual on how to survive jungle building


Step I: Get Help!!!!

I had no idea whatsoever about how a jungle is supposed to look like (there aren't many around in these parts and the kind you see in movies seemed quite impossible to miniaturise). The only thing I knew was that jungle consists of two parts, namely the dense ground covering plants (the big leavy ones) and the high canopy trees. Luckily, there was an article on how to make a jungle in a recent Wargames Illustrated. Hooray we have a manual!


Step II: Get the material!!!!

The jungle consists of several different pieces, which are constructed using some or all of: fake leaves, cork tiles or cork underlays, chewing gum, the foamy stuff ladies use to make bouquets (It's called oasis in Dutch, if that helps - BV), acrylic paint (mainly various shades of green and brown), lots of glue (I think I tried the whole pattex range), pollyfilla plaster, flock, small brown rope, lichen, 6mm round wooden sticks, copper wire, wood in a tube, a wooden board (cut up in pieces so it can be used as canopy tree bases) and a partridge in a pear tree...

The fake leaves were found in a florists shop specialised in the hobby of bouquet making. You walk up to the nice lady behind the counter and you ask for fake leaves, the small kind. She'll probably ask you what you are gonna use it for. After you have explained to the nice lady that you are constructing a jungle to play in it with toy soldiers, she will either think you have escaped from the madhouse and will call the police, or politely smile and sell you the desired items with only a hint of a strange look - ah, the joys of wargaming... Other leaves used were plastic aquarium plants which I found in the DIY shop (I tried a place that sells tropical fish but the manager nearly shot me because "one does not use plastic plants in one's aquarium". Trying to explain that I didn't even had an aquarium was futile). Yet another heap of leaves (with the best price/quality) was found in a store that specialises in windowdressing [*] (don't go during the winter as they don't have any then, go for spring and summer). The flock and lichen were available in the local train hobby shop. All other material came from the local hardware store. A thing on green paint, there are usually two broad families of shades: yellowish green and whitish green. Use the first kind as the second tends to look unnatural on plants (he means fake plants - any paint looks unnatural on real plants - BV).

[*] ... no, not that kind of window-dressing!

Step III: Put it all together!!!!

Instead of a detailed description on how to construct it, I'll just give a list of the materials I used and how I used them. For a more detailed description I suggest you pick up the WI issue alluded to above (issue 127ish) or e-mail me if you have any questions. As always there is no "one and only way" to make a jungle. The method I used was one primarily designed for mass production (deadline deadline!!!!) meaning that the end result could have been a lot better given more time.

Corc tileLarge base for dense plant areas
Foamy stuff/chewing gumTo stick the leaves in
Flock/static grassTo cover the base
Wooden boardCut to pieces to make canopy tree bases
6 mm round wooden dowelCut to about 20-25cm long, used as the trunk
Copper wireCovered with "wood-from-the-tube" to make branches
PlasterTo cover the base of the pieces and fake some trunk texture on the trees
LichenUsed as the tree foliage and general dress-up
StringCovered with flock to make creeper vines hanging from the trees

Using all these techniques and material, the end result looks like this (more pictures in the Crisis '98 photo gallery and battle report). Note that the creator of the jungle is proudly posing in the background (to protect the innocent, we did not photograph his head).


The jungle in action, so to speak



If you have a significant other, especially one that pays the bills, buy him/her some flowers while you are shopping for plastic leaves, you'll need them :-). Have fun...

Previous: battle report


 This page was written by Bart Dils and is maintained by Bart Vetters
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven