Friday, 23 August 2013

Scenery - Hills, Ruins and the Bastion

While I enjoy playing at the Sydney GW Battle Bunker, I really wanted to be able to play at home where the fridge is full of beer (full may be an exaggeration) and I don't have to cart my models around. Having a board at home is easy - a table or floor is fine for those not lucky enough to have a dedicated full-time gaming board. The main problem with playing at home is usually scenery.

I looked at the pricing for the GW scenery (and gaming boards) and decided that it's great when playing at the store and having a virtually unlimited selection of scenery but to get the same thing at home starts getting pricey - to be honest, I'd rather spend the $200+ on more models. Therefore, I decided to build and paint my own.

When I was younger, I made some hills by simply cutting shapes out of polystyrene sheets and gluing them together. This worked really well for the purposes of gaming (LOS, etc), but I'm looking for something with a nicer aesthetic now. Enter a new breed of hills - the same polystyrene core but covered in a layer of plaster bandage and finally skimmed with plaster to give it a rocky and solid look (and weight). I then added some grit, paint and flock and there you have it - a perfectly usable hill that won't win any awards but will look convincing enough in a game.

Not happy with simple hills, I then decided to make something a little more challenging - a ruined building. Foam board and PVA were the only requirements here and I soon had a small ruin that offers a 5+ cover and some difficult terrain. The gaming board is looking less sparse.

Finally, the most adventurous piece of terrain - half building, half mountain - a Bastion! I started with a foam board base the size that I wanted the finished piece of terrain to be. I then started making some rough sketches of what I wanted it to look like - I was thinking something along the lines of a Pillbox. Add in some generous measurements and I ended up with something more akin to a fortress. Once I had the main structure, I glued some polystyrene struts in place to form the shame of the mountain and layered the plaster bandage over it to for a solid shape. Next was the layer of plaster to give the rock a less dimpled look followed by a thick layer of black acrylic paint to act as an undercoat. With the undercoat dry, I painted the whole piece very quickly using a single palette, a big brush and merging all the colours together. This is not a very technical approach but rocks don't tend to be detailed and have uniform patterns so the more random you can be, the better. I was left with the finished structure to use as an objective in any future home games.

Next on the list is a forest of sorts but it may be a while before I can summon up the courage to try and make trees out of green stuff.


  1. Wow dude, impressive, I would fail attempting to make terrain.

    1. Thanks! These are all first attempts so hopefully I'll get better as I build more. The photo doesn't really do the bastion justice, it's massive.

  2. Have you seen the stuff these guys do:
    There's some great ideas & tutorials etc if you can get past the weird baby talk thing. .

    1. Haha thanks, sounds good. I'll take a look.


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