Category Archives: Terrain

Shaped by time – Wind-swept rocks for your gaming table

Your desert themed gaming table features dry lake beds and areas of deeper sand. So far so good, but this time we go vertical. Just as promised we will focus on large wind-swept rocks in this installation of the arid terrain series. The rocks are suitable as stand-alone pieces and can be freely placed on the gaming table. Depending on your design choices they can serve as inaccessible line-of-sight blocking terrain or be climbed by miniatures to give them an advantage. Naturally integrating the rocks into a larger structure or modular gaming board is a possibility, too. Per usual illustrated step-by-step instruction will guide you through the process and scenic photographs will provide examples of how these rocks can liven up the gaming table in combination with the other pieces we built in this series. So take a pick and chisel and come along, but mind your step. Continue reading Shaped by time – Wind-swept rocks for your gaming table
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Sand in your shoes – A tutorial on arid rough terrain

Arid terrain still preoccupies my mind and we shall not stop at dry desert lakes. Instead, in this second tutorial of the series, I would like to focus on the ever useful rough terrain, or in this specific case a terrain piece that features deeper sand. While you could depict rough terrain with a stretch of land filled with rocks and thorny bushes, I felt it would be much more interesting and challenging to depict an area that features fine, wavy sand, where with each step your troops or characters sink deeper, adding to the exhaustion of sun and thirst. I did also add some weathered rock outcroppings and sparse vegetation to round the piece off.

As always a list of the materials you will need for this build is followed by easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Work in progress pictures will illustrate each step and naturally I won’t break with the tradition of including scenic shots of the final piece. So put on your pith helmet, fill your water bag and follow me once again to a harsh desert environment that offers much more than featureless stretches of land to the modelling enthusiast.

Continue reading Sand in your shoes – A tutorial on arid rough terrain

Mirage – Making a dry desert lake or Oasis

I always found deserts to be fascinating habitats. A cursory look will leave you with the impression that it is hell on earth: sandstorms, unbearable heat during the day and freezing at nighttime. Yet, the desert is not only home to thousands of plant and animal species, it also has a simple beauty to it, dominated by the shapes the wind forms. They are thus a worthy subject for the modeler and can provide an atmospheric backdrop for our games. The exploits of the Crusaders come to mind as well as the cultures inhabiting Northern Africa, for instance the ancient Numidians.

In this first tutorial on arid terrain (more to follow) I will show you how to make a dry desert lake or an oasis that is slowly drying out. Using a similar technique I will also provide you with some ideas how to model a partially dry river bed, with only a small stream of water remaining. Per usual I will talk about the materials needed and provide you with step-by-step instructions how to make a cracked lake or river bed and scratch-built a dead tree to add further interest.

Continue reading Mirage – Making a dry desert lake or Oasis

The right tool for the job – Recommended tools for making terrain

You just started making your own terrain or you intend to make your first piece. Excellent! Looking at a gaming table full of your hand crafted terrain is a grand feeling indeed. But which tools should you get before you start or which tools should you get down the road when you gained some experience with this important aspect of our beloved hobby?

Fear not, as I will show you a selection of tools that will come in very handy for pretty much any terrain project. I will keep it simple and recommend a number of tools for cutting and measuring; painting, sculpting and engraving; and tools that are nice to have, but not essential.

Continue reading The right tool for the job – Recommended tools for making terrain

Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases

Last time we fashioned a diorama base featuring weathered gravestones, a gnarly autumn tree and moss-covered flagstones. As promised  in this second installment we will focus on an objective token or a small piece of scatter terrain featuring a ruined shrine and a removable birch tree. Naturally nothing stops you to use it as a scenic base instead or to incorporate this idea into a gaming board.

We will also cover how to make a generic flagstone base if the miniature you are working on does not demand a very elaborate base.

Given I already covered the basic techniques in the graveyard base tutorial, I will only provide instructions for new elements and some work in progress pictures with short annotations for the rest. The list of materials needed is similar to the graveyard base one, with some exceptions noted below.

Continue reading Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases

Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I

Crumbling gravestones covered in moss, faded letters, weathered by rain, wind and ice, a gnarled tree, the cry of an owl in moonlit night; who does not enjoy adding an eerily beautiful atmosphere to a base  that will hold a vampire, ghost or necromancer? But how to go about it, what materials can you use and how should you arrange the scene?

Fear not fellow enthusiast of the dark arts, I shall answer these questions in a detailed step-by-step tutorial. In part one I will build  a base for a Vampire Lord based on Reaper’s Judas Bloodspire sculpted by Werner Glocke, but naturally you can use the techniques presented below in any project, may it be a scenic base or a  gaming board to add a somber, yet unsettling feel to your terrain.

Part II will focus on an objective token using the same techniques, namely a long forgotten shrine with a tumbled over statue and we will also look at generic flagstone bases.

Finally part three will present the painted miniature. We will also add some further details, such as walls and bats.

Continue reading Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I

How to make wargaming trees – adding that extra bit of realism

It will shock you, but I really enjoy making trees. I know, I know who could have known? No wonder then that I dedicate yet another post to our green (or gnarly) friends.

I already covered birch trees, hazel bushes, oaks and yews, but this time the question is which features make a home-made model tree stand out and more naturalistic than the store-bought ones? What techniques can you use to add this last bit of realism to your trees?

I will address these questions with regard to bark texture, foliage, trunk and crown shape, scenic basing and critters. This is also an excellent occasion to show off my latest tree commission plus some trees I made for my own collection. We will look at oaks, apple trees, plane trees, olive trees and umbrella pines. Continue reading How to make wargaming trees – adding that extra bit of realism

Over hill and lofty mountain – how to make magnetised wargaming hills

What could be a more essential wargaming terrain piece than the common hill? No matter what period, no matter what setting, hills will be featured. They add visual interest and tactical complexity to any gaming surface, may it be modular boards, gaming mats or just a green table-cloth.

They may be an essential piece of gaming terrain, but making naturalistic looking hills that not only allow easy placement of models, but also easy placement and removal of trees or other terrain features,  can be a challenge.

In this post I show you my take on such hills and try to solve some of the problems one may encounter by using the fantabulous power of magnets *gasp*! Obviously this tutorial can also be used for terrain boards. Continue reading Over hill and lofty mountain – how to make magnetised wargaming hills

Leafy experimentation – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part II

Our yew tree stands already proud, but yew trees are evergreens, so we cannot leave it barren, instead we have to find a good-looking solution to depict coniferous leaves.

In Part I of this tutorial we created the trunk, branches and scenic base of our ancient yew tree. In this second part we will conduct some experiments to find the best solution to depict the  leaves, use some simple weathering techniques to add depth to the foliage and finally fixate it with thinned down PVA or acrylic medium. The last step is to matte varnish the tree and then glorious battle around its trunk can ensue! We will also revisit the fallen branches and add some finishing touches to the bases.

Continue reading Leafy experimentation – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part II

Measure what is measureable – laser cut profiles for a modular skirmish board part II

At last my plans for a skirmish board set during the Second Punic War can advance a bit more and naturally I am very happy to share this progress with you. Last time we looked at the basics: theming and design of the board, possible materials to construct it, historical considerations (including roman viticulture and villae rusticae)  and miniatures to use with the board.
This installment is all about the laser cut frames for the modules. The design for these has been improved, the material changed from HIPS to Bamboo and it got all very extravagant in the end with the possibility of fancy inlays. All this should be of use for any gaming board you might plan, no matter if laser cut or hand cut.

Continue reading Measure what is measureable – laser cut profiles for a modular skirmish board part II