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Lush Elephant Grass

Schutztruppe in elephant grass

Elephant grass is grown as a house plant, known as 'Mother-in-law's tongue'. It is not really a grass in the botany sense of the word, and has substantial fleshy blades. In the wild it grows to amazing heights, covering large areas.

On the wargames table, this can be represented by plastic grass, widely available from shops selling home decorations and what can only be described as designer bric-a-brac.
HLBSCo Schutztruppe emerge from dense elephant grass.


  • Plastic Grass - I got this for £5 for about 80 clumps from Zest in Islington. Two types are available (shown below). One is darker and thinner, which is more realistic, but both look quite pleasing.
  • Pennies or washers - Contrary to popular myth it is not illegal to alter coins in the UK (if not for fraud), so you can turn them into bases without fear of arrest.
  • Sand
  • PVA
  • Model elephant grass


    Model elephant grass The back of the mat

    Splitting the mat
    The grass is sold in mats about a foot square, the individual plants being clipped onto pegs on the upper side of the grid

    The mat needs to be cut up, because the pegs come in useful for attaching to the base as the rubbery plastic is not all that easy to stick.

    Use a pair of side cutters to snip off little crosses, slightly smaller than the coins/washers that you are using. It's best to pull all the plants off first, or you might accidentally cut bits off them.

    Model elephant grass

    Making up the bases
    The crosses can be stuck to the coins with PVA. If you have the enthusiasm then roughen both up with a bit of sandpaper to improve the bond, but it isn't really necessary. Lay out a number of coins, put a big blob of PVA in the centre of at least 20 or so in one batch, and then press the crosses on. Leave for a few hours to dry.

    Model elephant grassSticking plants to bases
    The plants can also be stuck down with PVA. It doesn't stick all that strongly but it's adequate. Put blobs of PVA on the pegs and then press the plants on.

    Once the plants are stuck, paint PVA onto the base and cover it with sand. This will disguise the shape of the cross. You can then paint, apply flock etc. in your normal basing style.

    KAR and elephant grass

    2002. All rights reserved.