Friday, February 5, 2010

Make Your Own Terrain

Phil B. made a post on the cost of pre-made terrain over on his blog today. That post got me thinking that my old terrain making articles on our old website aren't easily accessible any more. Here they are, re-printed from our old club website:

Basic Hills

These are some basic hills I made out of home insulation foam. I used a battery powered hot-wire to cut the foam, but it eats batteries like crazy so I have since bought a plug-in one. You can get them from Micromart or woodland scenics. These are ridiculously easy and nobody should be paying $5.00 per hill to get pre-made ones.

The procedure is easy:

Cut out the hill from the foam with a hot wire.

Paint the hill top and bottom with interior latex house paint. Have the hardware store mix you up a quart of O.D. green. Cost for a lifetime's supply is $5.00.

After the paint dries, paint the top of the hill with a second coat of the latex paint and shake some Woodland Scenics turf on it and let the paint dry. Shake off the excess. I used medium green 'blended' turf for grassy hills. Other colors are available for desert, mountains, etc.

To make the turf more durable, coat it with Woodland Scenics scenery cement, watered down white glue or Testors Dullcote.

I made a dozen hills over the course of 3 evenings. Total time invested was under 3 hours. Total investment was under $15 and I have plenty of turf and paint for many more hills.


Standing Crops

These are some standing crops I made for use with V&B. The crops need to be able to be trampled down by troops who pass through the terrain piece.

First, go buy yourself a welcome matt made of natural fibers. I got mine at Wal-Mart and it had a plastic backing that the fibers were fixed into. Cost for the matt was about $10, but it was enough to make 15 fields worth of crops as well as having plenty left over to give some to friends.

Cut the matt up into squares. I made mine 1" X 1" since my stands are all in multiples of 1" and it seemed a convenient size. I used a utility knife and a straight edge from the back side of the matt. I used scissors to clean up the fibers on the edges of the squares so they would sit beside each other easily.

Next, make some field borders for the squares to sit in. I just cut felt in sizes appropriate to hold 9, 12 or 16 squares in different shapes. Glue some foliage clusters on the edge to make it look pretty. I made about 15 fields in an hour using a hot-glue gun. Cutting the foliage clusters into thin strips with scissors sped things up.

I store enough squares and fields for any large battle in a plastic shoebox sized storage box. Total cost for fields, squares and storage, under $20.00.

The rest of the Northern Conspiracy's terrain making articles can be found over on our club's archive site here:


Phil B said...

Good stuff Al! Very impressive.

Mike said...

Nice to see how to do this.