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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Terrain-o-rama!



At the start of 2015, I ended up purchasing a little gaming table set up for my Nerd Lair (i.e. my Man Cave), but really had nothing to go on top of it at all.  For the first few weeks of January I have been mostly working on terrain, and I have come a long way in a short of amount of time, but there is still plenty of work to be done before my table is "playable".  I have also encountered several challenges along the way as well.

Challenge #1: Cheap.
- I want everything to be cheap, and thus far it has been.  Originally I look at a lot of the "Battlefield in a Box" stuff and other Terrain manufacturers, but it would end up costing me way too much to fill a table!  I'd rather spend a couple hundred dollars on an army, rather than terrain, which means a lot of creative problem solving, and scratch building.  which leads me to the next challenge...

Challenge #2: I suck @ building!
- have you ever seen those people online who can take everyday junk like pringles cans or a sheet a cardboard and turn them into something crazy and beautiful on the tabletop?  I am NOT one of those people!  If I use a pringles can or a toilet paper roll to build something, it always comes out looking just like that... a pringles can or toilet paper roll.  I also tried building a foamcore WWII building, and it was a headache!  It actually looked alright, but at the same time, it didn't look "authentic" enough to me and I felt it just wouldn't look or feel right on the table.  So, in other words, whatever I do has to be kind of fool proof, and still look good.

Challenge #3: Multiple Scales, multiple genres.
-  I'd also like for most of the terrain to be workable in both 15mm and 28 mm scales.  Obviously, some will, some won't, but I'm hoping the majority of it will.  Especially for the WWII stuff as I move into both Flames of War and Bolt Action.  The other tricky part will be the multiple genres.  Obviously, I'm going to have issues getting the 40k terrain to mesh into the WWII stuff, I know that.  BUT what I'm mostly referring to is having basic stuff like hills, and wooded areas, the kind of basic things seen everywhere, and every time period, so I can bounce from WWII to Dark Ages, to the Roman Republic era.  Another option would be a desert board in the future to serve this same purpose...

Well, hopefully I have not bored you too much so far.  From here, let's take a look at what progress has actually been made..





 First up is the crashed Aquila lander from one of the past 40k sets.  I have been sitting on this thing for YEARS, and now I finally have an excuse to paint it up!  Pretty basic, just some simple rough terrain and bit of LOS blocking too.  It definitely fits the 1st and 2nd challenge, but not the 3rd...




Next up, the two foam "bunkers".  Considering they are scratch-built, I'd say they turned out pretty good.  I actually have entrances on both sides, but in general, I'd just consider them LOS blockers more than anything.  Just like above, I think these guys fit challenge #1, and #2, but not #3...




Next, the "flat stuff" from the FoW Open Fire box set.  These can serve as additional woods and walls in a pinch, but I really dislike the flat, 2-d stuff.  That said, with the exception of the little houses, the woods/walls do fit all 3 of the challenges, BUT I have no plans on ever using unless I get really desperate for more terrain.  the 2-d stuff just breaks the immersion a little too much imo...



Next up are the storage stuff.  The red container comes from AT-43, and the green "ammo boxes" from the old DUST box set.  Again, just some general LOS blockers, but they could also function as objectives as well.  As with several of the others, they fit challenges #1, and #2, but fall short of #3.  for most part I tend to either put the red container in the middle for some easy LOS blocking, or I butt them up to the bunkers to kind of extend their LOS-blocking profiles a bit more...



 Next up are the guys that replaced the foamcore building I made earlier.  I built these two WWII Italian-inspired ruined houses using a Tamiya brick wall set for modeling and dioramas.  Looking at a lot of the ruined buildings online, it seemed like a lot went for around $20 each or more, and either were 15mm or 28mm, nothing I found could really be used for both.  Both of these cost me like $8 total, so for $4 each, and whole table full of these could be made fairly cheaply.  Challenge #1- CHECK!  I'd also say they turned out pretty good, although next time I'm going to do the stucco more smoothly after looking at some reference, so Challenge #2 - CHECK!  Finally, while they do not really work Dark Ages, they could be used in a pinch for 40k stuff if need be, and I'd say they could be used for both 15mm and 28mm without breaking immersion too badly, so challenge #3- kinda CHECK?



Next, comes the V-1 rocket and columns.  These guys are the oddballs of the bunch, as they are essentially just filler.  The V-1 rocket comes from the FoW open fire boxset and could be used as either an objective in any genre or scale, or just as something cool on the table.  The columns were actually intended for use with Arena Rex, but in a pinch could serve as filler since it fits the theme of an Italian WWII table, or a 40k sci-fi one as well.  While not super functional in any capacity,  I'd say they meet my challenges for being cheap, easy, and multipurpose.




Up next are some more ultra-cheap, Tamiya terrain.  I got the sandbags for maybe $3, and each bag is an individual, so they can easily be glued together in a variety of designs.  For these, I tried to make them as multipurpose as possible.  They can stacked to make a taller wall, they can be placed to create a kind of "checkpoint" of sorts, they can butted up against the buildings to extend their profiles, and they also work (height wise) for both 15mm and 28mm, although each individual bag is a bit too large for the smaller scale.  Thus, I'd say they meet all 3 of the challenges as well...




Finally, some foam little hills.  These were mostly an experiment of sorts, scratch build from Styrofoam packing.  having never really built any hills before, I wanted to see how they would turn out, and while the size/shape are kind of odd, I'm pretty happy with them, and I think I could take what I learned from them and utilize the same methods elsewhere in the future.  As with a lot of my other terrain, they are intended to more so be LOS blockers, but i left some space on each for models to sit on depending on if a game has special rules allowing for flight, or terrain climbing.  As these are generic, I'd easily say they also fit all 3 challenges pretty easily!


WWII on the left, sci-fi on the right...

... and here's what the table looks like thus far, although I still have a lot of work ahead of me!  Overall, the table is 6ft x 4ft, and the table themselves leave extra room for either player to put dice, drinks, cards, books, etc.  From here, I'm planning to work on a road system to span the table, creating a city block situation.  I'd also like to work on some more the WWII buildings in the future to help further fill out the space, along with more generic hills as well.  I feel I should also tackle the woods situation at some point too.  Since I'm focusing pretty exclusively on historical gaming, I don't plan on doing too much on the sci-fi side.  I'll post more in the future as more progress gets made, and the sooner I get a filled, playable table, the sooner I can start actually gaming!

Thanks for reading!
- WuhSawBe-


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