Pegasus Hobbies is a California company that makes a variety of products, and among them are a few terrain kits. I am writing today about the two sets of cacti that they produce, code numbers 6507 and 6508.
These cacti are made of soft plastic, like old school army men, not harder plastic like GW models. They are bendable, but a little fragile due to some very small areas that can tear if not handled carefully. They are molded in a bright medium green color.
There are two varieties of cactus modeled in the kits. One looks like some type of Opuntia (Prickly Pear) and the other is like Stenocereus Pruinosus (Grey Ghost Organ Pipe) in its adult form. There are more of the prickly pear models in both of the kits, about a 2:1 ratio. One of the cons of this kit is that Pegasus has skimped on the modelling. They only made a couple of variants of each cactus and then just scaled them down to make the smaller models. Thus, if you assemble them according to plan you have a ton of identical cacti. Luckily you can mix and match some of the pieces, but given that some of them are one piece models there’s only so different you can make those (not different at all unless you cut them up).
Each cactus model either has its own integral base (if it is a one-piece model) or comes with a base that has small holes that accept the pegs at the base of each strand of cacti. All of the bases and strands are numbered so that you can figure out which go with which, although as mentioned above you may want to mix some of these up for variety. Care must be taken when assembling the cacti however, since the plastic is so soft it is very easy to ruin the model when trying to push the peg into the base: either the peg will shear off or the strand will tear at a weak point. Look carefully at the sizes of the holes / pegs as well; the bases that accept two strands have two different sized holes. This also means a little thought is required to line up correctly sized pegs and holes when mixing and matching.
I test fit each strand prior to gluing, some pegs required a little “whittling” to reduce their size. All of the pegs / holes fit very snugly so take this into consideration when assembling your cacti. Adding glue to the hole only makes the situation worse, so try to use only a very small amount.
After much thought was given as to how to base these models, I finally decided to make some cactus “walls”. I was going to make some “lightly wooded” areas that could accommodate miniatures in between the cacti, but now that area terrain is no longer part of 40K I decided against it. Another deciding factor for the “walls” configuration was the much smaller amount of room needed to store the completed bases since “area terrain bases” take up so much shelf space.
I assembled all of the cacti first using CA glue (super glue). There is really no way to clean off the seam lines because of the spines on the edges of the plants. Given the amount of time it took to put these models together I sure was glad I didn’t have to clean them as well.
I painted the prickly pears by spraying them with old Citadel Dark Angel Green spray, then highlighted them with Vallejo Model Color (VMC) 70891 Intermediate Green followed by a lighter highlight of VMC 70974 Green Sky. A few of the cacti have thick stems or trunks near the bottom. These were painted with VMC 70887 Brown Violet and highlighted with VMC 70988 Khaki. A few of the spines along the edge of a few cacti did not mold correctly and ended up being like circular blobs. I painted these to look like the flowering nodules that form on these types of cacti. I used VMC 70946 Dark Red which really isn’t red but more rose. I added a little white to the Dark Red to highlight the nodules.
For the organ pipes the painting was even simpler. I sprayed them with Testor’s Model Master Medium Green FS 34102 for the basecoat. Then I took an old can of Citadel Camo Green and sprayed directly down from the top. Last I lightly drybrushed to pick out the spines with a 50:50 mix of VMC 70882 Middlestone and VMC 70847 Dark Sand (a mixture I use for dirty bone).
I cut bases out of plasticard about 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) long by 1 to 1.5 inches (3 to 4 cm) wide at their widest point, roughly oval in shape. After cutting them out I filed the edges smooth.
I roughly positioned the cacti onto the bases, keeping the variety the same per base but mixing up the sizes randomly. After each section looked good I glued down each cactus.
To make a bed of paint to dip into the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend Turf I covered the bases and edges with a heavy coat of VMC 70873 US Field Drab, although you shouldn’t use expensive model paint to do this step. Just purchase some medium brown craft paint from the dollar store. I dipped the wet base into my container of turf, holding the stand of cacti by one of the plants. I shook off the excess turf back into the container. The final step was to seal the bases with Testor’s Dullcote.
The steps I used to create these cactus bases could also be used to convert any plastic (aquarium) plants into gaming terrain, especially if the plastic molded color looks artificial.
Have fun and good gaming!