Back a few months ago, I ordered a variety of inexpensive plastic palm trees from China through Ali Babba. I now understand the process a bit better - Ali Baba basically acts as a middle man for many Chinese manufacturers. This makes it somewhat hard to estimate shipping charges at times. For my palms, I wanted a variety of heights and styles, and I didn't need hundreds of trees. Thus it took quite a bit of shopping around on the Ali Baba site to find exactly the items and quantities that looked like they would work best. Ultimately, one of the items was cancelled when the supplier was unable to ship them within Ali Babba's fairly tight time frame, and each item wound up arriving in a separate mall parcel over the course of a bout a month. Fortunately, unlike the rest of the world, shipping charges from China seem to be incredibly low!
Here's an example - 20 x 4" tall palm trees.
Here they are unpacked. All of these trees have the plastic "pegs" on the bottom for model railroad layouts and the like.
A close up shot with an Eureka 28mm Assyrian figure for scale. While I was in the Turks and Caicos Islands last month, I did some filed research on Palm trees, assisted by Rum Punch and other potent potables. This style of Palm, such as coconut Palms,, seemed to have most trunks more grey than brown, and the frond-like leaves were often a dusty light green.
The Short Palms like those at the top usually seemed to have a red-brown trunk and medium to dark green leaves. Interestingly, Palms are not native to the Caribbean or the Bahamas, even though we routinely associate both with them.
This top down view illustrates the point that their are two different major styles of leaves found on Palms. Elongated, frond like leaves , such as those on the left, and wide, "palmate" leaves like those on the right. The Date palms that I saw in the Islands all seemed to have Palmate leaves... some very, very large!
This is the final style of Palms that I got - short with large, palmate leaves. All of these will probably get some dry brushing of the trunks and leaves before use. All told, I got about 52 palms for about $25. Not bad at all! There should be quite a few of these appearing in my Egypt vs Assyria game at Historicon in July.