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Floating Alien Plants

Floating Alien PlantsDespite looking remarkably like a Tyranid spore mine, this 'floating plant' by Hank Cowdog is intended for use as terrain and raises the rather interesting idea of having terrain that moves about; getting in the way, or providing cover, for both players. For example, plants such as these could move randomly using dice, or could be set up at one edge of the table and made to 'drift' a set number of inches per turn - such that players could predict where they are likely to be on future turns.

In the rest of this article, Hank explains how he made the piece. A word of thanks are also due to Kaarem for assistance given in creating this article.

The image below shows some of the raw materials I started with namely: a ping-pong ball, a medium sized figure base and some computer cables. I had originally intended to use the metal tyranid bit as a kind of a man-catcher claw for the floating plant to capture prey (like a Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish), but eventually dropped the idea.

Floating Alien Plants Floating Alien Plants

First I mounted the ball on the base with some soft iron wire. I lined the mounting wire on the seam, so that I could later use the (seam on the ball) as a guide for embellishing the plant. In the picture above, the wire enters the bottom and stays inside but later I changed it so that the wire stuck out the top as well, just a little bit. This allowed for better attachment.

Next I cut off one end of the ribbon cable and shredded the individual wires. I left the last half inch or so intact to hold them all together. I then attached this to the bottom of the ball with green stuff.

Floating Alien Plants Floating Alien Plants

I used more green stuff to creat a ridge along the top. By this point I had changed the iron wire so that it pushed out the top and anchored it with the green stuff. I added some flowery bits from some plastic flowers purchased from Hobby Lobby. I then added a little texture to the green stuff with a dental pick. At this point it was starting to come together, but my daughter said it looks like a doll head! Hopefully it would look better painted.

Floating Alien PlantsThe painting was actually pretty easy. I started with spraying with Dark Angels Green (GW product) spraypaint. I drybrushed tan on the body (snakebite leather) used Goblin Green to paint the veins (vines) on the sides, touched those up with Red Gore, and washed it with orange ink.

I like to use washes on top of highlights, since it tends to tie the colors

together for a more organic look. I also used Red Gore and yellow on the flowering bits on top. I added the yellow dots along the ridge on top to mask the seam where the greenstuff ended and the pingpong ball started. Red gore was added in patches on the trailing vines (especially at the tips) to provide a little contrast.

All told, I am only moderately happy with how it turned out. I like to think of them as arboreal tumbleweeds. They start out attached to the ground, then float free when they are large enough. Perhaps they then float around until they lodge in the branches of a larger tree, attach themselves, and repeat the cycle with the next generation. I think however that the scale is too big for 40K use. Perhaps I should have used smaller wooden beads and fewer vines but that might make them look too much like spore mines?

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