Capthugeca made these superb mutant/alien plants after being inspired by LuMi's Alien Polyps.
I thought the straws on their own would make interesting vegetation and decided to stick to greens for colour so that they could be used as mutant plants on this planet or alien vegetation on other planets. The figure in the image above is 28mm scale but they also work with 15mm figures.
I started with some cheap drinking straws from the local supermarket (99p for 100) which I cut into varied lengths between 1cm and 5cm. Gripping each of the pieces with a pair of pliers I melted them using a cheap lighter. I tried to use a candle as that would have freed up a hand but I found that I had less control and the flame was too big.
I found that the best way of melting them was to first hold the "mouth" of the straw directly over the flame. This flared the mouth open. Then I carefully ran the flame up and down the "neck" of the straw which made it buckle inwards and, in places, a hole would form.
A FEW WORDS OF WARNING: The melting process is probably best done outside or at least in a well ventilated area where you'll be able to deal safely with a blob of burning plastic should it actually catch on fire. You should also be very careful about the position of the hand holding the lighter. On one occasion a globule of plastic dripped onto my finger where it stuck to me like another layer of skin... another layer of very hot skin!!!
When I had a whole lot of the melted straws I made bases from thin plastic and attached the straws with superglue. Most were glued standing up but some had melted in such a way that they were better glued on their side. I also found that their uneven shapes allowed me to glue some of them close together as if they were part of the same plant. I used Milliput putty around some of them to make the bases uneven and give the straws more stability. I then painted watered down PVA onto the base and sprinkling on sharp sand.
Once dried I sprayed an undercoat of acrylic black. I was tempted to paint them in quite bright turquoises, crimsons and the like (and still might do some like that), but I decided that this first batch should be green so I used "Anita's All Purpose Acrylic Craft Paint" (because it's good value), in Leaf Green followed by a dry brush of Apple Green.
And there you have it:
(See our article on Alien Plants for more weird things to 'grow' on your sci-fi gaming table.)