The aquarium terrain of pet shops holds many excellent pieces of scenery for even the 28mm wargamer. The settings that are best "supported" are Egypt (sphinx, abu simbel, temple ruins, ...) and jungle (trees, rocks, temple, mausoleum, bridge, and - of course - plants) as well as ancient pillars and even temples. To top it off these pieces come perfectly painted to boot. Using aquarium plastic plants for jungle terrain is surely nothing new and has been done by wargamers for many many years. However, the use of aquarium decorations for architectural terrain seems to be surprisingly under-used considering how perfectly many of these items suit the standard 28mm scale and how affordable they are (especially when compared to similar resin products made specifically for wargaming). The above pieces are just some examples of the many goodies that are to be found at pet shops. And if you don't have a good pet shop nearby then you can easily find these items on ebay too - chances are that they are even cheaper there.
Inspired by the photos on the Lead Adventure Forum and especially by Alex Bews' pirate gallery I was really curious to find out how well they would work. I had wanted to do a jungle board for piratey games for quite awhile now and I already have a few cool pieces that want to get played on more often, but I lack a proper gaming table to use them for. So as a nice change from painting the (marvellous!) Tabletop World buildings, and because I am playing pirates now more often, I decided to try some of these items and placed an order.
I ordered three pieces from a very cheap ebay seller, but unfortunately he only one and couldn't ship the other two (which really annoyed the heck out of me). This temple cost EUR 10,40 and it is just great:
I have to say, I am very happy with this piece and I can very well recommend this stuff to anyone playing in a jungle setting, be it Lustrian Lizardmen, pirate treasure hunters, Indian expeditions or what-the-heck-ever. Actually I think with the availability of terrain pieces such as this jungle boards are the most cost-effective gaming boards you can create. By this I mean spending just a little while still achieving great results (as opposed to being super stingy and achieving "okay" results at best). Maybe a desert table with a few Egyptian statues, ruins and temples is even cheaper and easier because you probably need less terrain overall. On the other hand, aquarium plants are super cheap so that shouldn't be much a problem. Anyways, definately check out your nearby pet shops and let the available stuff inspire you.
Next time I'll post some pictures of my jungle board in progress - or photos of the Blacksmith's Forge from Tabletop World. We'll see where the muse leads me...