I was on the verge of getting a game set up to play over Christmas while i had a few days away from work. But then i was hit with a wave of dissatisfaction like a seven year old opening a really shitty present on Christmas day. My Normandy bocage sections were just not up to scratch. I had to do something about it. I keep looking at Pat’s blog Wargaming With A Silver Whistle and having feelings of inadequacy! Anyway, armed with sections of MDF, rubber matting, poly fiber stuffing, acrylic sealant, coconut fibre, and lots of flock i set about redoing my bocage.
I have a rubber mat that’s about 2cm thick and meant to be used for camping or something, but works well cut up and glued to MDF strips roughly 3cm wide by 10-15cm long, as the base for my bocage banks. I make sure the rubber is a good 0.5cm thinner on each side than its MDF base. I then blend the bank into the base using acrylic sealant or crack filler, but you could use modelling clay or anything else really. When the sealant is dry i give it a good covering in PVA glue and then chuck a heap of sandy dirty gravel on it from out the front of our house. When that’s dry its a heavy spray of dark brown paint from cans i pick up from Bunnings for a few bucks.
The actual bushes are made from a mix of coconut fibre (also from Bunnings for next to nothing) and that poly fibre people use to stuff toys and cushions and probably dead animals. Again very cheap, my wife bought me a bag from Spotlight for about $5 and i will be dead long before i finish the bag. Maybe i can be stuffed with poly fibre. I jam bits of cocktail sticks into the rubber matting top of my bank and that supports the bushes. Lots of PVA again and then get lots of bush material onto the bank. I tried to vary the height as much as possible, but by all reports bocage was anywhere from 5 – 7m tall so i reckon 5 – 7cm is good for 1/72 scale. When the bushes are dry they get another good brown spray.
The last bit is the fun bit when i am throwing lots of glue onto the bushes and then dunking them into a two colour mix of flock (a mid green and a dark green). I use coarse flock from a Vietnamese company called MP Scenery. Its probably the only part of this terrain that costs any significant dollars. I flocked the base too with some finer stuff, and did a bit of lighter brown dry brushing too just to finish things off.
It all came out a lot better than my last attempt, you can see below with the doormat wheat fields and the carpet tile crops. Inexpensive and i think just as effective as anything you can buy. Maybe i can get to play a game now…… Happy New Year!