building terrain

For all terrain based discussions.

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Squire
 
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building terrain

Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:34 am

Hi Guys

I'm fairly new to the hobby and have very little terrain. I would like some suggestions on how to make good terrain without spending a lot of money. I would appreciate any help.
it is a pity that our friends lie in between, if no land divided Isengard and Mordor then they could fight while we watched and waited.

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Standard Bearer
 
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Location: Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand

Re: building terrain

Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:01 am

Look around for cheap things, or even free things.

Cardboard from cereal boxes is a great thing for terrain. I generally find a use for it in all my projects.
Home-made flock can (I think) be made from sawdust dyred green.
Long grass can be made from brush bristles.
Clumps of foliage from ripped up sponges, and trees armatures from dried out grape stems.
Sand from the beach for basing.
Broken up corks for rocks and boulders.
And how's this for a terrain tip? Try going to a hardware store that sells polystyrene or styrofoam and askeing for pieces that have been broken or damaged in some way. As these pieces are not usually of much use or value to them, they might give them to you for a lower price, or even for free.
Balsa wood is one of the cheapest modelling materials that I know of, and as it's so versatile, it's worth every cent.
Also, try making use of broken or badly damaged minis to add flavour to terrain.

As you're new to the hobby, try to keep your projects easy enough, and managable, and slowly progress to bigger and far cooler things as you get better.

Good Luck!

EDIT: There are plenty of good articles for terrain out there that you can garner inspiration from. Here are some that I know of http://www.one-ring.co.uk/phpBB2/kb.php?mode=cat&cat=2, but there are many others besides.
http://bdhobbymadness.blogspot.co.nz/

May the wind under your wings bear you to where the sun sails and the moon walks!

Squire
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:27 am

Re: building terrain

Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:07 pm

thanks for the help I will be sure to try them.
it is a pity that our friends lie in between, if no land divided Isengard and Mordor then they could fight while we watched and waited.

Image

[CENTER]Image[/CENTER]

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Squire
 
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Re: building terrain

Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

Cereal box Cardboard is awesome for terrain..

I built the top of orthanc using just that, a hot chocolate tub lid and lots of masking tape :D
Also, Lollipop sticks and craft matchsticks are good for forts and other constructions...

You can also make some nice rocky features and mine tunnels from the styrofoam packaging things that come with computers and etc, you know the bits at the bottom and top of the box that are shaped to fit?

Just use your imagination! Paper towels for washing your hands can become harad tents, lollipop sticks can become forts, styrofoam can be anything from the mines of moria to towering cliffs and hillsides, bottles can be towers, anything :)

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Location: Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand

Re: building terrain

Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:26 am

That's the beauty of it all!
http://bdhobbymadness.blogspot.co.nz/

May the wind under your wings bear you to where the sun sails and the moon walks!

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Ranger
 
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Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Re: building terrain

Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:55 am

You've asked a deceptively simple question, since the word 'terrain' means different things to different people. For some, terrain implies massive gaming boards, beautifully-sculptured. For others, it means simple items that are recognisable enough and are placed as needed on the dining room table. You need to decide what level of terrain you want to achieve, even if just in these early days.

A second key issue involves the use of the terms 'good terrain' and 'spending little money'. I'm afraid that these two don't go together. Commercial pieces of terrain have big price tags (look at the gorgeous Forgeworld sets, for instance), not least because they have high postal charges unless you're lucky enough to be able to visit a shop or convention (the latter having admission fees as well as transport costs). Home-made terrain has the advantage of your time being free, rather than paying for a craftsperson's time, but once you've factored in the cost of glues and paints and flock and tools, the start-up costs are pretty high.

That said, it IS possible to make up an acceptable terrain collection without breaking the bank a second time (the first time the bank was broken was when you decided to start collecting GW miniatures!). As has been stated before in this thread, you must become a magpie. Look at everything in the house or garden with a different eye. Go through the rubbish and inspect everything before allowing it to be thrown out. The best terrain often uses strange items in a novel way. Look at non-modelling or craft shops for inspiration. A cake shop might provide small Christmas Cake fir trees cheaply or Wedding Cake columns that need a simple paint-job to become ruins of Old Gondor. A pet shop might supply interesting fish tank gravel for scree slopes or rubble, or caged bird sandpaper for wheatfield stubble. A furniture manufacturer or waste dump might supply the stuffing for chairs, that can be used for home-made tree branches and leaves.

Collecting materials is important and should be done as often as you have storage space for. Cereal packets provide useful card. Blister packs provide some nice plasticard sections. Garden twigs, once dried, make tree trunks, fallen logs or barricades. Rocks and pebbles become boulders. Bits of roadside grit become smaller rocks. Small boxes are useful to store these little items in, or become the basis of houses and barns in their own right.

It's worth looking at some commercial manufacturers since there are some bargains to be had (on eBay or direct). I use PMC for my buildings these days, since £10 (GBP) gets me a delightful cottage or barn for the price of a single LOTR blister pack, and it comes fully painted externally and usually with an accessible interior. I could possibly make one myself, but it would take a lot of time, the expense of getting the design right (trial and lots of error!), the cost of collecting the tools together, and so on. The same goes for the marsh, pond and river sections from S&A Scenics. They used 2mm MDF sections for their bases, which is surprisingly-difficult to obtain, and then some nice modelling techniques that are such good value that I won't even bother making my own any more. Both these manufacturers will also tweak their basic designs or even take commissions so that there is a lot of flexibility. I'm sure other companies do the same but I've used both of these for some years so know them well.

A couple more factors to consider: how will you store your finished terrain? That may dictate how large the items are, or what shape or material. Terrain is bulky, compared to figures, so some thought before you start will save a lot of hassle. Also, consider who will be using the terrain. If you are part of a regular group, then perhaps you can share the cost of a glue gun or matt emulsion paint tin or big bag of lichen or whatever. Furthermore, you might spread out the workload, with one person making trees and another hills while a third is responsible for rocky areas.

Squire
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:27 am

Re: building terrain

Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:27 pm

I guess I should show you guys the ones I have already done/ working on. I will post some when I figure out how.
it is a pity that our friends lie in between, if no land divided Isengard and Mordor then they could fight while we watched and waited.

Image

[CENTER]Image[/CENTER]

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Squire
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:24 pm

Re: building terrain

Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:15 pm

take picture
upload picture to photobucket
copy the 'img code' from photobucket to here.

it should look like this [img ] url of image [/img]

done :)

Squire
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:27 am

Re: building terrain

Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:14 pm

hi guys tell me what you think thanks.

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it is a pity that our friends lie in between, if no land divided Isengard and Mordor then they could fight while we watched and waited.

Image

[CENTER]Image[/CENTER]

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Ranger
 
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:07 pm
Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Re: building terrain

Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:11 pm

Good starting point - keep up the good work. Obviously there are always tweaks to be made, as your standards grow higher or you learn new techniques or become more ambitious, but you're definitely on the right track. I would be wary of towers and the like, if you play LoME-style scenarios. These would be unbalancing in such a game, unlike - say - a hill or marsh or your barricades.

Certainly you have enough to start playing with, and that's the main thing. The best terrain in the world is no good if it never goes on a wargames table! As Gavin Lyall stated in Operation Warboard - the book that got me started in wargaming all so many years ago, 'The very crudest of plastic hills becomes real enough once you've had half a company shot to pieces trying to capture it'.

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