Terrain Building

Good terrain is in my opinion essential to an enjoyable wargaming experience. In this section I will share a few tutorials and examples related to my own terrain building efforts. All my terrain usually follows two golden rules:

Wargaming terrain isn’t like electric train terrain. Beyond just looking good, wargaming terrain is supposed to be actively used and supported in the game mechanics. A beautiful piece of terrain is entirely useless if models cannot be placed on i.t All my terrain is therefore designed to be accessible for models in all areas that ought to be accessible (e.g. any point on the slope of a passable hill ought to be able to actually hold a model). The degree of required accessiblity will vary a bit by game system and scale. Skirmish games can get away with detail and other accessibility obstructing features as long as there are plenty of spots to place a single model. Block based games such as Warhammer on the other hand really require large open placement areas to allow units of often 20 or more models to fit.

Some of the most beautiful gaming boards are static layouts. All or most items on the table are stuck in place and this allows the modeller to create often astonishing detail in each area. While beautiful, those gaming boards have limited functionaility. One-off pieces are excellent for special scenarios or as visual centre-pieces but ongoing game play requires adjustable terrain. Nobody wants to play over the same battlefield for all eternity. Apart from basing all my terrain individually, this also means that I need to keep my basing scheme consistent in terms of colours and grass/flock usage. My default method for this is to use 1/4″ Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) as the base for all my terrain pieces. I bevel the edges with a scroll saw set to a 60 degree angle and then sand them down in a more irregular pattern with a dremel tool or belt sander. Where a mask if you do this! MDF dust is not good for your lungs. I then use a coat of Vallejo Pumice Gel mixed with black paint to create the base structue. The base can then be painted and flocked to using my default scheme for models.

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