Tree-ferns for colonial New Zealand Wars

To play the colonial New Zealand Wars, you need lots of trees to form the bush-covered landscape that was a feature of so many of the actions.

Whilst any old wargaming tree will do the job, if you really want to replicate the look of New Zealand, you want ferns. Not just any old ferns, but big tree-sized ones!

At a recent model railway show I purchased a couple of plastic boxes of fern and undergrowth detail produced by Brian Roulston, a rail modeller from Paekakariki for his Scenic Textures range.

The boxes were filled with all sorts of miscellaneous shrubbery. I am guessing it uses as a base the plastic stuff you sometimes find at budget stores, but it has been painted and texture-coated to take away the bright shiny green look.

Amongst the plastic plants were some ferns with pre-textured stalks (none of these are visible in the above photo), which I thought could make excellent tree ferns, or ‘ponga’ as they are called here in New Zealand.

I bought some large heavy metal washers to make the bases. I used a hot-glue gun to attach the ‘tree-ferns’ to the bases. I then glued miscellaneous bits of the other shrubbery from the Scenic Textures box around the base of each tree.

I coated the bases with my usual recipe of PVA glue, followed by mixed-grain sand, and then two types of flock. The final touch was to add some dead ponga leaves on the floor or hanging from the trunks.

To celebrate the completion of my grove of ponga ferns, it’s time for my 28mm Empress Miniatures Māori warriors to perform a haka (traditional war dance).

Renowned Northland Māori chiefs Hone Heke and Kawiti seem quite pleased with their new shrubbery.

Oh oh, trespassers! A British officer and his two men make their way cautiously through the typical New Zealand bush.

Perhaps a little more at home in the bush than their British comrades, these local militia are ready for anything.

So there we have it – a little more greenery for my colonial New Zealand Wars games.

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