So, I have been trying to think what would be the best way to showcase my terrain adventure since I started making terrain literally a year ago. My first project was a series of desert themed buildings and I thought about starting there; however, I think maybe showing the easiest stuff first would be more inspiring/helpful. So, let’s dive in.
Most of my inspiration came from people and posts online. I will give credit where it is due so if you are interested you can go to those people and see the same tutorials I did. Anything that I made myself, like those first buildings, I will go into a little more detail on.
Making My Mat
I am not a place in my life where dropping $80 for a nice game mat makes sense. I used to be, pre-kid; however, times have changed. I also did not want to make my own. The thought of spending hours tossing sand on canvas and painting it, etc. seemed tedious to me. What I ended up with works just fine for me. I found this Woodland Scenics railroad mat at a hobby store and got an idea. I bought a simple tri-fold board and glued this mat to it. This let me easily fold the mat up and tuck it behind my dresser when I am not playing. I found a giant green grass mat of the same type for $8 on sale at Hobby Lobby a few months ago. It should be able to cover three tri-fold boards to make a 4×8 table. I will post about that one when I assemble it.
Total investment for mat: $15 for mat, $3 for tri-fold. 15 minutes to measure, cut, and glue.
Infinity has a ton of these scenery packs for around $12 each online. They assemble super quick and just a little scotch tape holds them together like a champ. You could go all-out and really reinforce them, but I do not see the need. Anyway, I have four of these packs and I love them. They seem to come in two basic varieties with a host of different graphics on them. If you want quick, good looking sci fi scenery, you can’t go wrong with these guys. You may see a few print and build paper terrain pieces in some photos. Ultimately, I got tired of these and moved on. I may build more in the future and I’ll cover those then. They do have some sweet looking aircraft you can print and assemble, but I have yet to do that. Not sure I will ever get around to it. Between ink and assembly time, the Infinity packs are a better deal by far in my opinion.
Total investment: About $12 for 4 buildings and 4 to 6 smaller containers. They also come with a small mat you could use too.
DM Scotty’s Jenga Blocks
If you do not know about the DM’s Craft or DM Scotty or the Tabletop Crafters Guild… then go onto Youtube or Facebook and look the man up. He has a ton of tutorials, mostly focused on fantasy builds. Anyway, he posted once about these mini jenga blocks you can buy that are a great scale for miniature furniture. I copied what he did for dressers, tables, and booth chairs. I combined another tutorial of his regarding making a bed with these blocks and even added some squared balsa wood strips and coffee stirrers to make bunk beds. I also made some computer terminals that I then printed out images and mod podged over to seal the image.
Total investment: You can find the mini jenga sets for $1-5 online. I bought two sets and it was plenty.
I spent some time searching the internet for tokens to use to denote stuns and knocked down statuses. Ultimately, I decided to use my old Sedition Wars kickstarter token set that I had laying around. I think tokens really help keep track of the game state when playing solo, so I highly advise using them.
Total investment: Quite a bit since it is currently the only thing from Sedition Wars that I am using. I may assemble and paint the miniatures in the future, but they are of a smaller scale than the Mercs Recon miniatures that I mainly use.
Not much to say here. I used barbeque skewers and coffee stirrers to make ladders and some small wooden pieces I picked up from Hobby Lobby to make small tables. The barrels are straight from Hobby Lobby.
Total investment: Under $10 for everything.
These are my babies. This is the first scatter terrain project I did on my own. So to make this I used:
Foamcore from Walmart: $2 for a 20”x30” sheet (I used this instead of the $1 rediboard because it is sturdier)
Coffee Stirrers: Under $10 for 2,000. You could swipe some from Starbucks or other places… but honestly, for the price of a coffee you could just order a ton online and not look like some crazy stick thief.
Clump Foliage: $4 Woodland Scenics pack from Hobby Lobby.
Aquarium Plants: Under $10 from Walmart.
Hot Glue, PVA Glue (Elmer’s), cheap craft paints (I use Apple Barrel)
- Assemble small open boxes from the foamcore, whatever size you want. I use ¾” for half cover for almost all terrain that I build. I made a few lengths of boxes. I did line the inside with two strips to create a pocket to put the plants into.
- Cut coffee stirrers to cover the whole area vertically and a few long strips to go horizontally. Do not worry if they are not the same size on the vertical cuts. It will look a lot better and more realistic if everything is not uniform. I also ran a few strips on the top edge of the box and two rows along the top half of the inside of the boxes.
- Paint them up. I hit them with a thin wash of brown, dabbed on a few random spots of green, yellow, brown, and black. Then I created another brown wash from craft paint, a lot of water, and a drop of dish soap. I slapped that wash on to blend all the colors.
- Hot-glue the plants in place. This is why I made the foamcore channels inside the boxes. They help hold the plants up and you don’t have to build up hot glue layers to hold them upright.
- Glue the clump foliage around the aquarium plants. Then top them off with a mix of watered down PVA glue to seal them in place.
Honestly, this whole process took a long time. Cutting the coffee stirrers is a beast and a huge time sink. Watch a few movies while you do it or just do not build as many as I did. Gluing those strips on the boxes also takes a good while. Everything else goes by fairly quickly.
The end result is pretty sweet. These are some of my favorite pieces.
Other Scatter Terrain
Hedges- Zombicide Black Plague Kickstarter
Sci Fi Bits- A Mix of Necromunda and Sedition Wars terrain packs
Rock Formations- Just rocks and sand glued onto cereal box. I added some clump foliage when done. These can be done in a day and are also one of my favorite pieces of scatter. Watch WintersSEO on Youtube for a good tutorial on these.
Trash bags- literally just rocks wrapped in real garage bags with some thread. Watch Mel the TerrainTutor on Youtube for this tutorial.
Flaming Smoke stacks- I watched BlackMagicCraft on Youtube for this. Basically, they are DollarTree flickering LED candles covered with stuffed animal stuffing, and spray painted black.
If you want to get a board going fast, here is what I would do.
- Buy 2 or 3 Infinity scenery packs. These will work for a while and they are cheap and easy to put together.
- Make some small rock clusters to add a little variety.
- Make the smoke stacks. They are awesome in person. Very cheap and literally can be built in about an hour.
- Ask yourself what you want for your table and start building/buying. The Infinity packs will get you playing and the other two builds are so cheap and easy that it will build up your confidence and get you motivated to start into a few more time-consuming builds.
So yeah, that’s a real quick run-through of some of my basic scatter terrain. I will start covering more time consuming builds next.