Pumpkin Patch Panic!

As most regular readers will know, I always try to use appropriate and, where possible, dual-purpose titles for my posts. This one is no exception.

“Pumpkin Patch Panic” was the title of an adventure published by West End Games for the Ghostbusters International RPG, way back in 1990.

Whilst this scenario was one of the better published adventures, it did still suffer from attempts to shoehorn in unnecessary pop-culture references. Yes, it does feature a pumpkin patch, but does that mean we really have to have thinly veiled Peanuts characters as part of the supporting cast?

I do plan on reviewing both the original Ghostbusters RPG and the 2nd edition, which went by the name of Ghostbusters International, along with all their supplements at some point, but that will have to wait for now…

The second meaning of this post’s title is the Panic I experienced when I realised that I wasn’t actually going to get my Pumpkin Patch finished by the weekend. However, rather than rushing it (and potentially ruining it), I thought I’d take the time necessary to do it justice. Which means that this slightly delayed post is another ‘work in progress’.

So, when we last saw the patch, it was just a muddy field. All well and good, but in order to have a pumpkin patch, we need pumpkins. Now, I was initially going to use ‘Putka Pods’, which are seed pods that look like miniature pumpkins. However, as these appear to be from a plant native to India, they aren’t that readily available in the UK. I did find one UK seller, but it was going to cost 4 times the cost of the pods in postage, so that was the end of that!

My next plan was to buy some of these:

Opaque acrylic pumpkin shaped beads, £1.64 for 50, with about the same cost in postage, from a company called PandaHall. However, PandaHall are based in China (hence the low cost), which meant that, at best, they would be with me in four weeks. Combine this with the fact that they were all the same uniform size and shape and it would end up looking like a ‘cartoon’ pumpkin patch, I decided they were also unsuitable for this project.

Luckily, I’m not one to give up so easily, and eventually purchased a small pot of ‘pick-n-mix’ beads from Hobbycraft for £3.50. Seems rather expensive, but I believe I got about 100 beads for this (I lost count) and they are of varying shapes and sizes, ideal for my nefarious purposes, as can be seen from the picture below:

Whilst they look like they’re made of metal, they are in fact plastic. Obviously, the next thing to do was to paint them the correct colour, so I threaded half a dozen or so onto pipe cleaner ‘stands’. These were then given an undercoat of Docrafts Flesh, followed by a coat of ‘Pumpkin Orange’ (no manufacturer, as this is a colour I mixed myself). A final wash of Docrafts Cherry Red, as only hollowed-out and illuminated pumpkins have that yellowy tinge to them, and we had this;

Now, you might be thinking this is quite a clever idea at this point. And whilst it did kind of work, there were a few issues – the paint obviously went onto the pipe cleaners, which went all stiff and hard, which proved to be a bit of a problem getting the bloody things off them! The larger ‘pumpkins’ came off with their paint jobs largely intact, whereas the smaller ones (to the right of the picture) left their paint either on the pipe cleaners or all over my fingers. Suffice to say, I didn’t use this technique again.

So, we now had some pumpkins, but as this was supposed to be a patch, we needed some plants to attach the gourds to.  On a rummage through one of my cupboards, I’d come across what I call ‘gardening wire’, by which I mean the coated green wire which you usually find in garden centres. Not sure why we had it, as it’s never been used to my knowledge. Anyway, rather than the dark green plasticised stuff, this had a light green papery coating, so it was spirited away to my games cupboard, as I knew I’d have a use for it.

And use it I did, creating several ‘armatures’ of vines, to which my pumpkins would be attached, as shown below:

The next thing to do was to attach the ‘vines’ to the ‘patch’. For this, the Milliput came out and each armature was attached by its ‘stem’, then left to dry overnight. The mound where the stem came out of the ground was then painted with the base Chocolate Brown colour I’d used for the ground and the vines bent into a more natural looking shape, like so;

It does kind of look likes it’s growing out of a mound of poo, doesn’t it?

Moving on…

It was now time to add the pumpkins, with each gourd being added to the end of each stem, with the wire being bent as and where necessary. Having checked various online sources, I ensured that the round pumpkins were on their sides, as this is how they actually grow.

Each stem had its gourds attached and then a dab of superglue was put beneath each pumpkin, to ensure they stayed in place. In some cases, for particular stubborn fruit, a bit more than a dab was necessary, which is why you can see a few white patches beneath some of them in the picture below:

The darker patches you can also see are where some wandering gourds decided to roll across the field, spilling their orange hue all over my lovely patch, which resulted in a bit of a repaint, but the colour didn’t quite match the the original hue, so a further repaint will be required, or at least a bit more blending in. However, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with it so far.

The next stage is to add some leaves to my bare stems and make the patch a bit more bushy. And as I’ve only used quarter of the beads I purchased for this project, to get this far has cost me about £1.13.  Not bad, eh? And not to worry, I have plans for the smaller beads, as they’re approximately the same size as the head of a 28mm figure…

And to finish, an atmospheric close-up shot, showing everything in a bit more detail.

Join me next time, as Carrion Crow’s Long Halloween continues with more pumpkin-y goodness!

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23 thoughts on “Pumpkin Patch Panic!

    • Cheers Andy. It’s coming along nicely, if a little slower than I expected. But it is proving to be a lot less expensive than the other option and will be three-dimensional, rather than flat.

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  1. Ooops I missed this (was busy over at The Cupboard writing our newest one). What an ingenious idea. You especially caught my attention with this as I love to see good old school games and classic modules re-vamped for a modern audience. I will keep a keen eye on this one.

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    • Thanks Hil. As it came out a little later than usual, it’s understandable it may have slipped under the radar. As for the Ghostbusters RPG, it was one of my favourite games and whilst not all of the adventures were what I think Ghostbusters should be (Aliens? Really?!), the actual system was ideally suited for the game. I think i’ve still got the Christmas adventure I wrote, featuring the Ghosts of Cows Past, the Ghost of Christmas Presents and the Ghost of Solstice Returned. It was festive chaos and a lot of fun.

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  2. I simply adore those plastic pumpkins. Not sure what I`d use them for if I had any, but that’s the fun of it isn’t it. Chibi thoughts are surfacing, that’s for sure.

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    • Whilst they weren’t suitable for this particular project, they are rather nice, aren’t they? They also do transparent ones, which I did consider getting and combining them with a cheap set of battery-operated Christmas lights for some real Jack O’Lantern fun. And you can’t argue with the price…

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      • your sense of wonder and insight (masked under a stoic display of dry collected composure) always makes me smile.. in a good way. Yesssssss what a brilliant idea, see through Jack O` Lanterns would be fun.

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        • “stoic display of dry collected composure” – if you’d seen me running about the house, waving my pumpkin patch in people’s faces shouting “Isn’t this friggin’ COOL!!”, you’d probably think differently.

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    • Thanks Roger. I’ve already made a start on the ‘greenery’ and experienced some further ‘issues’, which i managed to overcome in true Jez style – i.e. by using something cheap and unexpected. And they’ll be more pumpkin madness too…

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  3. Terrific stuff Jez. As others have said you truly make these sort of enthralling postings an art-form in their own right. Its incredible what you come up and how splendid things look once you’ve applied a little paint and ingenuity. I have some of those beads somewhere and I’m now thinking of tokens etc for a Hobgoblin battle or some such. Inspirational stuff my friend 🙂

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    • Thanks Simon. Part of the reason I love this hobby is that it allows me to unleash my creative side, with sometimes surprising results. It doesn’t always go exactly to plan, but that just forces me to be even more creative.
      As for my remaining beads, I already have plans for those, which you may get to see very soon…

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  4. A bit late as I’ve only just seen your post but I just want to add to all the favourable comments. You’ve done an excellent job at bringing your pumpkin patch to life so realistically and so cheaply. You are an inspiration to us all.

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  5. Pingback: The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch… | Carrion Crow's Buffet

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