Basing Terrain

For all terrain based discussions.

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Basing Terrain

Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:54 am

I was wondering if there was a simple and easy-to-use material for making of terrain bases? All guides to, and advice on, using it will be welcome. :D
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Re: Basing Terrain

Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:27 am

You mean to put terrain on? I generally don't bother to put bases on my terrian, but I have done a couple of times, and would say that foamboard and MDF work well.
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Re: Basing Terrain

Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:16 am

Hardboard is a good way if you have got an electric saw to cut it in the correct shape

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Re: Basing Terrain

Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:49 am

Simple and easy to use? Card, whether the thin stuff from cereal packets for smaller sections or stiffer card (mounting board or cardboard) for larger areas of terrain. Unfortunately it has the habit of warping when in contact with liquid, such as paint or glue, so must be kept flat during drying. Card is very cheap, of course - usually free.

Next best is probably MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), which comes in three main depths that are useful - 2mm, 3mm and 4mm. The latter is widely available in DIY/hardware stores, usually in large sheets but can often be cut to more reasonable sizes. 3mm is sometimes available in such places as well. 2mm tends to be found in model shops or art supply shops and picture framers (it's used for frame backing). This material is less absorbent and holds modelling materials well (commercial terrain manufacturers use it a lot). It's a little fiddly to cut, especially in sharp curves. A saw of some type will be necessary, since knives will be dulled very quickly.

Other wood can be found in thin thicknesses, such as balsa or ply, but tends to be more expensive unless you can find some offcuts. Balsa is easy to work with; ply less so. Hardboard tends to be 4mm thick, easily available and useful for larger terrain sections but I dislike such thick bases since they stand a scale foot/30cm off the tabletop. Fine for pavements (sidewalks), but less so for river edges or ploughed field edges. It's possible to chamfer the edges but is a lot of work and leaves the edges vulnerable to damage.

Foamboard is 4mm thick, and is more of a terrain-constructing material than a basing material.

Keep an eye out for unusual basing material in everyday life. Old CDs have found plenty of uses, despite being a uniform round shape. Plasticard (or rigid plastic sheet from packaging) is sometimes used, although it's difficult to stick some products to owing to its shiny surface. Carpet tiles may find a use, perhaps even as the terrain itself rather than just the base (crops and fields, for instance). Remember that smaller terrain pieces are generally more rigid than large ones, which prevents bowing and damage or unrealistic placement on the tabletop.

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Re: Basing Terrain

Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:19 am

Thanks to typhoon 2 for listing the pros and cons of all those materials. Thanks to everyone else also, for their input. :)
"Better to keep your mouth shut and seem like a fool, than to open it and confirm that you are."
Mark Twain
Armies: Dwarves, Misty Mountains
Unfinished LoME Profiles:
http://www.terrainguild.com/thelastalliance/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1295

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