Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hobby: Planet Petco gets a touch-up!

Some of you have seen my "Planet Petco" table consisting of aquarium decorations.  I had the honor of receiving most votes for "Best Table" at Daboyz GT with it, which is kinda silly because I did very little to create it compared to some of the lengths others went to in creating their tables.  Anyways, I've gotten tired of my snow table so I dusted off the plastic plants and set up this table again for two games this week.

It's taken a beating with use and travel.  I've been bringing it to our local shop for tournament use as well as here at home.  Anyways, here are some new photos and tips on how to make your own rain forest table.

Planet Petco:

Supply list:
Mat - Green fleece fabric.  I picked this up at JoAnne's Fabrics.  It already had the green tie-dye pattern, I just cut it to 6x4. ~$15
River - Off the shelf at the game store.  I think it was 2 sets worth, on sale for ~$20 per set.
Aquarium Trees (the big ones) - Off the shelf at PetSmart.  Sometimes PetCo and Pet World has them also.  The small ones were $20 each and the big one was $30.
Area terrain - Green felt shapes ~$1 each at JoAnne's/Michael's.  Aquarium plants, florist moss, lichen.  About $100 worth, but I only used a small percentage of the supply.

All-in-all, I probably spent ~$200.  However, I have a box of more plastic plants, lichen, moss, etc.  Enough to easily make area terrain for 10 more tables.  The initial investment is high, but tournament organizers could put together multiple tables fairly quickly with the amount of plants and lichen you get per package.

Area Terrain:

I cut a random shape out of green felt.  Each cluster of plants is a small GW base (20mm I think?) with a 1" metal washer glued to the bottom for weight.  I also use these washers on the bottom of every tyranid for additional balance and weight.  Then, I glued fragments of aquarium plants, lichen, moss, and florist decorations to cover up the base.  They're removable for ease of play so your MC's and vehicles can utilize the terrain without wrecking it.

I bought a wide variety of plants, moss, and lichen to represent biological diversity.  The plastic plants are cut down to different sizes so they aren't too top heavy.  A single $5 aquarium plant can yield 20 pieces easily.  The final result is easily defined area terrain with positive visual aesthetics and functional playability.

They may look sparse from an overhead view, but the combined density and height at eye level easily provides 50% obscurement for MC's and vehicles.

The large aquarium trees are more expensive, but come fully painted to a great standard.  They provide LoS blocking terrain and the scale is appropriate for out games.

Making quality tables to play on can be expensive, but aren't our games worth it?  A 2,000pt army can cost nearly $800 and add another $300 if you want battlefoam to cart it around.  We invest a hundred hours painting our soldiers, don't they deserve a suitable battlefield to strut their stuff on?  I use terrain building sessions to break up my painting sessions.  My tables were actually complete before my army.  I find the look of a good table with unpainted models is more rewarding to me than using a fully painted army on a field of books and beer cans.

Hope y'all like it and maybe it inspires some good tables in your homes and local tournaments!


  1. Garage sales/Craigslist and used aquariums for the win! Just dusted off ~20 for two Marro Hive bits for some 'nid terrain, maybe my display board.

  2. A virgin world full of biomass to consume. I like it! Especially trees. I'll visit our pet stores ASAP:)

  3. Ah, I remember Planet Petco - it received my vote at Da Boyz.

    Even after your bugs tried attacking me from behind. Foul play that is.