Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Quick Update on Slooow Progress …

One of the things I tend to forget about making terrain after not doing it for a while is that it does take a while to get anywhere. And annoying little things always seem to conspire and get in the way – like having to go into work today on a Sunday (OK, OK, cue violins !)

So, in other words, I got a decent start on the second of the special No Man’s Land boards which I’d started in March, but I’ve nowhere near finished. I think all the techniques I have blogged about before, so these are just some pictures letting you see the (slooow) progress so far.

I wanted to try and break up the flat terrain style I’d used before on other trench bases. Contours can be difficult in making wargames terrain, particularly if you don’t have a very large area in which to contour. Too much contouring, and the figures may not be able to stand on the slope – not enough and it just looks flat. I tried to compromise with cutting some foamboard shapes and gluing these to the Styrofoam base.

I then added some more tree armature branches into the shattered tree stumps on the single copse base of the No Man’s Land trench board.

I’d tried on the terrain board to create the impression of hastily sapped out trenches to craters around the old trench system. I wanted to get away from neat trenches on these parts of the board, and therefore revetted these trench sides with corrugated card (representing hastily stacked corrugated iron) and the base of these improvised trenches with resin-cast wicker fascines. I used a generous sprinkle of small pebbles sieved from a bag of builder’s sharp sand to create the impression of repeated shelling, crumbling trench walls and general chaos.

I find it easiest to cut the towelling terrain to shape while the sytrofoam base is free from the PVA/Polyfilla mix. It takes a bit of time to ensure you cut around the various shell holes, trenches and so on.

Then I simply covered the base with the PVA/ Polyfilla/ dark brown paint mix, and sprinkled with gravel and sand.

That leaves a lot more greenstuff sandbags (a.k.a. the return of the very small sculpting pin!), and the extra detailing I want to try and do on this base in particular. It’s hopefully going to be a busy terrain-making week!


  1. Wow! that does look fantastic, so how many of these boards have you made?

  2. I probably missed it in an earlier episode of your trench-building exploits, but what size are your tiles? Looks like 24" x 24" to me?

    Related question, how wide are your trenches?

  3. Terrain just takes so much longer to make that you imagine it will. After all how hard can it be? ;-) So I sympathise with your thoughts, but I have to say making terrain is very relaxing and in terms of bangs per buck, you spend relatively little for the amount of time you spend having fun.

  4. Thank you for the comments Guys. Sorry I'm a bit late replying - been a busy day and I just got home!

    @Ray - thanks Ray. These two terrain boards will be numbers 15 and 16 respectively. I've plans for another 6 boards, and then I think that's about it (well, at least for the 28mm terrain - still got the 10mm stuff to do!!)

    @Wirelizard - Sure, please ask away. The tiles are 600mm x 600mm. The size was dictated by the dimensions of the Styrofoam blocks I could purchase. The Styrofoam is a depth of 40mm. The trenches are 50mm wide (enough to accommodate a light machine gun team on a 40mm base). The exception are the front line trenches where there is a firestep. Those trenches are a little wider - about 60mm. It's a bit difficult to see all the firesteps in these photos, but I shall try and take a few photos of the dimensions in the next couple of posts as I paint the boards up.

    @ Ashley – I know exactly what you mean. It does take a long time to build terrain, but in its own way it’s quite liberating after spending hours painting small things with even smaller brushes! And I agree with you about the cost – half the fun I find is trying to do things on the cheap, using old household material (towels, cardboard, old floor mats, twigs and so on) and giving them a new lease of life.


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