We are always on the lookout for good terrain tutorials. John, a self-described 40-something wargamer from Maryland, shows us how to build a solid modular terrain board. This skirmish game terrain board is based on northern European landscape. You can follow his exploits on his blog, 1000 Foot General.
Creating modularity while managing the number of pieces is always a challenge.
In Making Terrain Boards Part 1: Planning John decides to use three rectangular modules.
He uses both paper templates and foam-core mini-boards to proof his design. It yields five usable board configurations.
Base and Edges
The modules are built on 2' X 4' MDF bases. Two layers of 3/4" insulating foam are laminated onto the base.
He overcomes warped foam insulation and shows us a slick way to make sure the foam is cut square to the base in Making Terrain Boards Part 2: Base and Edges.
Cutting The River
The river is made in a three step process. First the templates are scaled up and transferred to the full-sized board using string. Second the river channel is cut into the top layer of foam. Finally, the banks are carved in place.
The pictures tell it all in Making Terrain Boards Part 3: Cutting the River.
This skirmish board is based on norther European land forms. John makes extensive use of photgraphic references to capture the look and feel.
At the same time he makes sure the modular terrain board plays well. He uses masking tape to try out various road configurations.
Then he uses one of our favorite techniques to build elevations - foam and tree bark.
There are lots of pointers in Making Terrain Boards Part 4: Building Hills.
Dirt and Stone
Now the bones are all laid out, it is time to give the boards their first skin.
A little spackle finishes the contours. Sand, PVA, and paint samples give the whole board a nice integrated look.
Best of all the dry brushing lightens the ground colors to match the references in Making Terrain Boards Part 5: Dirt and Stone.
Grass and Vegetation
John gives a nice recipe for a base flocking. Then he shows how to create visual interest without sacrificing playability by layering additional textures onto the base in Making Terrain Boards Part 6: Grass and Vegetation.