Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Sudan - Terrain - Thornbush Zariba

I am still cracking on with terrain elements. I was hoping for a dry weekend to be able to get the 12 x 6 dust sheet I plan to use for the games in June and July, out on the patio to give it the first lot of texturing and painting. Yesterday was rubbish weather, and today kept looking iffy - hopefully the next few might be better.

I decided to do some work on some thorn bush "zariba" sections. These are a horrible prickly bush found in the Sudan that was used to help form a barricade to defend.

For these I turned to an old favourite,  rubberised horsehair -it is probably better not to ask what it really is, the answer might may involve pet ponies and French horse butchers. Although I am sure is man made stuff nowadays. Now you can buy this in small sheets from wargames and railway suppliers - where a piece 4 inches by 6 inches and an inch thick will cost you a pound or two (about £4 a square foot) . This is just madness. If you want a decent amount look on line for an upholstery supplier - this stuff fills sofas. Last year I bought a sheet 8 foot x 4 foot x 1 inch (32 square feet) for £28 including postage - way better value - and it will make a shed load of stuff.  Bocage anyone?

Ok - so here is a walk through

1 - the stash of rubberised horsehair.
2 - Unfold it.

3- Cut with household scissors a strip around  20-25mm wide x 300mm long - does not have to be straight

4 - Cut some basing material - this is 1.5mm ply cut 30mm wide

5 - Liberally apply hot glue (quick) or PVA (slow) to the base

6 - Affix strips of material - and trim ends

7 - Apply pressure until  glue sets

 8 - This is what you get - a regular trimmed hedge ..(or bush -- ooh- er!)

 9 - With scissors remove bits, and cut irregular shapes,cut it a bit thinner in places and tease it apart at bit.

 10 - This is what you end up with

 11 - All basic work is done.

If you want a more European hedge with green leaves - spray a dark colour - allow to dry. Daub with neat PVA cover with mix of scatter material. Once this is dry apply firm hold hair spray to stop it dropping off. 

 12 -I wanted  a dried wood/bush effect - so I hit it with a mid grey spray - from about 15 inches away  and did not cover everything completely.
13- Apply a light drybrush - lighter grey, off white across the material - allow to dry

14 - PVA the base area and add sand mixture - allow to dry.

15 - Drybush the sand material a light sand/off white mix - allow to dry.

16 - Hit it with cheap extra firm hold hair spray which will firm it all up. - Job done!

I made a total of 12 foot in length of zariba in a mix of sizes - 8 x 12 inches,4 x 6 inches,6 x 4  inches - I used just over a square foot of material... with ply cost, glue and hairspray - it cost about £2.50.. and few hours effort over the weekend.

17- This was made from the various off cut clumps added around a larger base. It fits a couple of bases

Still got plenty left for other projects!


  1. Nice work. I use scouring pads in a similar way

  2. Brilliant Dave, used to make bocage from this stuff. Forgot all about it. I'll pass it onto my brother. Maybe some use for his Zulu stuff?

  3. Very cool indeed....I may have to pinch your idea.

  4. Fantastic work Dave - consider this idea "borrowed" :^)

  5. Nice work Dave, lets hope for better weather so you can get the terrain sheets done

  6. My word that's a serious amount of trimmed bush you have on stand by! Cracking job Sir.

  7. I've used scouring pads for hedges before, but I think this would work so much better. Mind you, I'm not sure that I really need as much as an 8' x 4' sheet...

    1. I have a few square feet spare I can send ya ,..

  8. Genius - very helpful tutorial.

    Best wishes


  9. Great work, really nice and useful for those British soldiers!

  10. Excellent work and a great set of WIP pics. I'd love to try rubberised horsehair myself but it's nearly impossible to get it here in Germany...


    1. I can send you some over, just let me know

    2. That's very kind, Dave. Many thanks!
      I'd indeed like to have some rubberised horsehair to experiment with. I'll drop you a message on Facebook.



Work in hand


No more than 3 things on the PAINTING table at once. Nothing new added until something is finished.

PREPARATION work is done when I don't fancy detail painting. Cleaning up, converting, undercoating etc.

PLANNING is expressions of interest or things that have inspired me to be created with no definite timescale as yet.

28mm Sudan
28mm Necromunda

On the PREPATION table.
28mm Sudan
15mm WW2 Landing craft
1/200 ME262

WW2 D Day game