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
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
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
Ancient trees with their often haphazardly growing branches, bulbous trunks and weathered appearance always fired up my imagination. Inscribed in their bark are stories of times long past, combined with a certain mysticism and deep respect for such an old being. To depict such a tree on the gaming table can add such qualities to our games and add narrative potential as well as a welcome change to young or middle-aged deciduous trees that are most commonly depicted.
For this two-part tutorial I chose to model an ancient yew tree. With their broad, often hollow trunks they allow us to use the tree as cover or as a mission objective, adding further to the appeal. I also decided to magnetize two of the main branches for easy transport and storage. Per usual I will provide some botanical background, some facts about owls, a list of the materials needed, followed by detailed step-by-step instructions. Part I will cover the trunk and branches as well as the scenic base, while Part II will focus on different options to depict the foliage.
Continue reading Through a Forest, Darkly – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part I
Browsing my blog it becomes apparent that I have a thing for modelling trees, evidenced by earlier posts on oaks and birch trees. But what about bushes, shrubs or hedges? There is a variety of shrubs and bushes that one could depict on the gaming table and construction will be very similar in most cases. That said I chose to make a hazel bush for this tutorial given they have a distinct, very appealing bark texture and the fruit lends itself for base decoration. Oh, and I think squirrels are adorable, so why not give them some scale hazels to forage?
Per usual a step-by-step tutorial will guide you through the creation process, with additional background information and scenic shots of the finished bushes.
Continue reading Squirrly goodness – making Hazel shrubs for 28mm and 15mm
You will be all familiar with the famous caulking method to make beautiful flexible wargaming mats. However, this technique does not only come in handy to cover an entire gaming table, but can also be used for scatter terrain, such as rough terrain, roads, villages and even hills. It can also be used to create a very versatile photography mat.
In this first installment I focus on making some flexible rough terrain featuring some rocky outcrops, brush and small bushes. I took my inspiration for this piece from ekimdj, who not only has a very nice blog, but also wrote a tutorial for flexible desert terrain on the Sweetwater-forum, so if you are able to read German check it out (it is pretty picture heavy, so you can follow it easily in any case).
This tutorial will also come in handy if you want to learn how to create basic groundwork, flexible or not. This technique can be applied to a small base or an entire terrain board.
Per usual I will give an overview of the materials you need, followed by detailed step-by-step instructions and finally some ‘action’ shots showing off the piece’s flexibility.
Continue reading Built on shaky ground – flexible wargaming terrain
In the early morning hours you finish your latest work: it turned out exactly as you envisioned; it looks glorious. But wait, how to share your work with the wider wargaming community? Easy! You take out your smartphone and take a snapshot. You look at the picture and, to your detriment, all the glory disappeared. All you got is a blurry picture that is way underexposed.
However, you don’t need expensive equipment or even a light box to make nice pictures of your miniatures. In this tutorial I will show you how I take my scenic shots. I am not a professional photographer, but I try to improve my photography skills on an ongoing basis and would like to share the experiences I made so far. I will cover the camera I use, materials needed to set up your scene and provide before and after shots to illustrate the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. A second installment guides you through a complete photo session, moving from the general to the specific.
Continue reading Shutterbug – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part I
Some years ago I made my first steps into miniature terrain building. Alongside my ever-growing Carthaginian army I also wanted to have some nice terrain pieces for Field of Glory. A system that requires players to have a good selection of terrain that goes well with a specific army. I did not want to go the felt pieces route, so I decided to make a variety of mediterranean pieces: A lake, a group of mediterranean pine trees, an olive grove, several fields, a swamp and a number of hills.
I will present some of my early works and provide some brief notes on how I created the pieces. As I am working on improved versions of these I will, as of now, not provide detailed step-by-step instructions. Some of the photos are of an older make, so please excuse the sometimes less than stellar quality. The pieces will also go up for sale very soon in a new section of the blog, so if you are interested watch this space.
Continue reading Remnants of the Past – a collection of mediterranean terrain pieces for 15mm and 28mm
Last time we fashioned a barren oak tree using twisted wire for the main trunk and seamoss for the ramifications. We went on to add some structure to the bark edging a characteristic pattern in a layer of woodfiller. Painted up the tree looks the part for a winter scenario, but in adding some fall foliage and critters we can add some colour and life to it before winter arrives.
I will briefly outline how to paint the squirrels, how to finish the autumn themed base and finally how to attach the foliage.
As always, some facts about squirrels, materials required and step-by-step instructions will be provided.
Continue reading Winter is coming – Realistic trees for wargaming and dioramas part II
Last time we looked at a simple method to make realistic wargaming trees using just seamoss, a bit of wood filler and foliage nets, but there are more advanced techniques that will yield even more realistic results suitable for the gaming table and a diorama alike. Naturally this comes at a price: the time involvement is much longer, as this project will take you about three evenings.
This time the tree of choice is an old oak tree. We expand on the idea of utilising seamoss in first making a tree armature out of wire to have a sturdy set of main branches and then attaching seamoss to depict the finer branches closer to the top of the crown. Finally we will add the distinctive bark texture. This way we achieve a tree siutable for a winter themed gaming table or diorama. Foliage and further details will be added in part two of this tutorial, situating the tree more in a late fall landscape.
As always, some facts about oaks, materials required and step-by-step instructions will be provided.
Continue reading Winter is coming – Realistic trees for wargaming and dioramas part I