Switch Theme:

Scratch build versus Commercial Terrain  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in fi
Decrepit Dakkanaut





 Elbows wrote:
The biggest step is simple: treat terrain as you would treat models.

Nothing blows my mind more than watching people balk at a decently priced piece of terrain...only to turn around and buy a $30 figure. Your game is only as attractive as your terrain. As has been said on numerous occasions, terrain is the third army on your table. It's easily the most ignored thing among 40K gamers. It's not nearly as ignored in other genres or games...but that's probably owing to 40K's much younger audience compared to, say, historicals, etc.


Yep pattern I have noticed as well including myself. Armies grow and grow but terrain looks bad...Well trying to rectify this and just have spent lots of money for materials for fantasy themed terrrain. Home games benefit and maybe helps for tournament I'm organizing to ensure there's decent amount of terrain that suits Lord of the Rings.

But really how many armies do I need? Some spare armies had been spent on terrain instead games would look much better.

https://middleagedstrategybattlegamers.home.blog/2019/09/12/tneva82-minas-tirith-vs-isengard/ <- lotr painting blog

12 factions for Lord of The Rings
11772 pts(along with lots of unpainted unsorted stuff)
3225 pts
5150 pts
~3200 pts Knights

 
   
Made in pl
Screaming Shining Spear





 Elbows wrote:
By that statement though you're casually painting all MDF with a broad brush, easily cut out with an xacto, which is a silly.

Can you hand make this?
Spoiler:



Sure.

Can you hand make this?
Spoiler:



Probably not without an extreme amount of time, material, and know-how. You seem to be arguing that everything is doable with some elbow grease and some time. That's perhaps true, but consider the overwhelming majority of gamers who may have not been wargaming for 20+ years, and many of whom even struggle to paint a simple space marine, despite their enthusiasm for the game or genre. I can hand-make terrain, and I do...but it's not something that came quickly or easily without some effort, and a lot of trial and error.

No offense but you seem really heavily biased in your tone and seem like you're just here to argue for the sake of arguing?


I may be biased because I do 3D modeling for a living and I come from a country, that had mandatory DIY classes in primary school. So I may not see where difficulties lie for an average person. But personally I can't see any overwhelming difficulty in your second example and it most certainly doesn't require a dedicated workshop. Whether I would have bought it or if I would have build it depends solely on the cost of the kit, my time at the moment and a question if I need exactly something like that or a close proxy.

You ask me if I argue for the sake of arguing. No. I argue because during my lifetime I have met an awful lot of people who never even tried to make any physical item by hand simply because it never occured to them, that they could try and succeed, or that it's something they could enjoy or be good at. That is why I advocate "at least try and see if it's something for you" wherever and whenever I can and try to de-demonize difficulties in maker crafts. And nowadays, with dedicated youtube/fb channels like, say, LukesAPS or Terrain Tutor know-how is just a click away.

Funnily enough, I have never liked those DIY classes, but then I started playing 40K and started exploring and honing my (then seriously lacking) skills. 25 years later I can honestly say, that I would have not achieved many things in my life if it wasn't for those early Warhammer years. And it all started with a little piece of terrain I still have - a small hatch made from styrofoam, printer cartridge packaging and toothpicks, painted with primary school grade paints.

With all this, personally, I don't consider any MDF or cardboard terrain as "buy only", but I do consider many modern plastic kits to be "buy only". Difficulty in creating complex commercial MDF patterns comes with limitations of the medium - like those rooftops in your example. That is why such commercial kits gain a lot of fame. But if you can substitute MDF for PVC you can bend it to shape in-situ and cut to fit cross sections. This is also why I don't advocate making such pieces DIY from the same material. MDF may be soft compared with woods, but it doesn't give way to a simple knife. Does DIY come with trial and error? It may, of course, but this as I have said, this is a thing I like about scratchbuilding - you can actually learn some usefull skills this way.

But again, this boils down to a roulette of time vs cost vs wage vs dedication vs ambition. Even only within a hobby a time spent on building terrain can instead go into playing, or assembling new unit, or painting... Personal priorities differ and I'm in no way advocating for "always scratchbuild no matter what".
There is also one other thing to consider - scratchbuilding is often best as a journey. One-off, reasonably complex project will probably cost more than buying a kit because many necessary materials come in large sheets/quanties. It is best to think in entire tables rather than single structures and consider time/cost equation with this fact in mind.
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




Learning to make scenery is worth it for many reasons...

1) Saves money. The materials usually cost far less than the official model sets.
2) You flex your creative muscles and design your own battlefield.
3) The skill required to create a game-ready piece is minimum.
4) Its a hobby in its own right and with some discipline can be useful in the field of architecture(scale modelling).
5) Perfect for using left over pieces from model kits( wreakage of a titanicus Warhound ).
6) There is a lack of kits in the required scale.

...yet sometimes its nice to help things along by treating oneself to a kit. I have some pieces for Kill Team such as the cargo containers and Ryza ruins which give the game a more authentic 40k universe feel, without spending too much money. The rest is easily home-made and will go the same route for AoS. I found a piece of stereo cardboard packaing in the garage this week and thought it would make for a great ruins piece while some of the Slaanesh range would make for interesting decoration...

Casual gamer, casual fun! 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Madrak Ironhide







Question: what is elbows using for the water feature that runs unde the terrain pieces?

DR:70+S+G-MB-I+Pwmhd05#+D++A+++/aWD100R++T(S)DM+++
Get your own Dakka Code!

"...he could never understand the sense of a contest in which the two adversaries agreed upon the rules." Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude 
   
Made in au
Anti-Armour Swiss Guard






Newcastle, OZ

 Grimtuff wrote:
 Elbows wrote:


It still holds up and provides a superb game! This is my friend's set up.

Spoiler:





Nice. Where are those red bits from in the bottom left corner? I recognise them but cannot quite place the makers.


I think they are the old Micro Arts Hardfoam large crate heaps.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 malfred wrote:
Question: what is elbows using for the water feature that runs unde the terrain pieces?


A piece of blue vinyl?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/20 00:45:04


I'm 50.
Old enough to know better, young enough to not give a ****.

That is not dead which can eternal lie ...

... and yet, with strange aeons, even death may die.
 
   
Made in us
Awesome Autarch






Yep, the barrel stacks are Micro Arts Studios stuff from Poland (lovely hard pressed foam - but I can't find a good source to get them shipped for cheap).

The water is indeed simple "faux leather" for nautical use from a local fabric shop. It's just aqua-coloured vinyl essentially.

Nou, I appreciate your sentiment, but I just don't see anyone demonizing hand-made crafts. I don't imagine most people "can't" learn to make terrain - but in meeting local gamers, etc. my expectations of their passion/desire for wargaming are pretty minimal.

I have one gaming group of older friends who are die-hards and produce gorgeous tables (both handmade and commercial). But as a life-long gamer, I think we assume often that everyone else is as passionate and dedicated to this hobby as we are. Half of the local gamers around here just dabble in it as a hobby and can barely be assed to paint their miniatures, let alone (gasp) build something.

This is more noticeable in the 40K crowd than other games of course. I frequently have to dial back my expectations even in my closer gaming group...reminding myself that I'm the passionate older dude who loves this stuff - many of my fellow gamers just buy random 40K minis and occasional spray paint them, etc.

Example:

One of my closer buddies said "hey man, I just busted out the old Mordheim books, let's give it a go!".

Me:
+Bought a beautiful mat from Urbanmatz as the basis
+Handbuilt the stuff posted above
+Painted up two or three warbands
+Bought additional MDF stuff
+Painted and made warpstone counters
+Started assembling "random encounters" models based on the article...
+Created Mordheim cheat sheets, combining info from all of the Town Cryer articles
+Crafted a new warband sheet and even went out and bought parchment paper to print them on

My buddy:
+Pulled out his old rulebook, and some unpainted models from 15 years ago.

He has the money, etc., but the reality is he'll never be interested in building something. Hell he bought a $250 resin Mordheim terrain set he'll never build/paint!

On this forum and many others there are many derisive off-hand comments made about MDF, etc. As far as I'm concerned...ANY effort put toward a better table is worthwhile. It's like pulling teeth to get somebody to buy pre-made terrain, let alone build it themselves. I don't think anyone is gatekeeping people or stopping them from trying.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/20 02:37:16


 
   
Made in au
[MOD]
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.






Under the couch

 malfred wrote:
Question: what is elbows using for the water feature that runs unde the terrain pieces?

Looks like a piece of blue vinyl... and is an idea that I'm totally going to have to steal. Looks fantastic!



For the thread - I'm a big fan of scratch-built terrain. I have a few commercial pieces in the collection, but for the most part I like to be able to make a bunch of different stuff.

A middle-ground is nice, though... I've spent the last two years making a boatload of different terrain pieces for Maelstrom's Edge (like this), and have been loving the result of scratch-building with the plastic MEdge terrain sprue detailing. And no, that's not just intended as a shameless plug - quite a few of the MDF and resin terrain producers offer similar sorts of add-on gubbins, and even the old Necromunda bulkheads were great for the same reason. But it's a fantastic way of giving scratch-built terrain that little extra bit of polish, since the sparse detailing is the one thing that often lets scratch-builds down.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Elbows wrote:

On this forum and many others there are many derisive off-hand comments made about MDF, etc. As far as I'm concerned...ANY effort put toward a better table is worthwhile. .

I strongly suspect that a lot of people have opinions on MDF that were formed back when it was all quite new and lacking in detail. And there's certainly still some amount of that stuff out there, but then there's also the stuff like this:

...which is a utterly amazing kit, regardless of material and even without my very minor modifications.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/20 02:48:40


   
Made in us
Charging Dragon Prince





West Lafayette, IN

I will absolutely pay for expediency. I liked the bagged foam prepainted/flocked terrain they used to sell, that two piece hill set still sees every game I play currently. I also nabbed quite a few of the ruins and jungle trees from around 3rd Ed. 40K, and those things were a steal at $10 each.

www.classichammer.com

For 4-6th WFB, 2-5th 40k, and similar timeframe gaming

Looking for dice from the new AOS boxed set and Dark Imperium on the cheap. Let me know if you can help.
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Its AoS, it doesn't have to make sense.
 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

Like any creative venture there's going to be an initial period of time where your costs (time and money) will be greater than the reward and where the commercial option offers a superior all in one package.

I think if you want to make your own then make some wise early investments

1) Buy good quality tools. Then spend some time learning how to keep them in good repair and which ones will need to cycle out every so often (eg worn sandpaper). Good quality tools kept well will last you a good period of time and deliver good results. I also find that its easier to accept your own shortcomings with still and work to improve them when you already know that you're working with the "proper tools".

It's much easier to blame the tools if you've no confidence in them.

2) Invest in how-too books and guides. Yes youtube exists, but sometimes I find that whilst the internet is great for short tips; its not always as good for the comprehensive package on any process. Sometimes books work better for that as they tend to take you through more individual stages and steps and the nature of them means that there's potential for more elaboration. Compliment that structure with tutorials; though ideally try and find someone like the Terrain Tutor on youtube - ergo one source that does a lot. That way you work with a single approach rather than mutliple different sources that might do the same things different ways.

3) Be prepared to fail at first, but find the reward in the long term.

4) Combine commercial and home made.


I think its rewarding to make your own and those who have skill who make their own will often agree; but there's no shame in buying premade and just using that or painting it up and using it. Heck your models are likely all premade (even if you have to assemble them) by someone else and no one worries about that.

A Blog in Miniature - now featuring reviews of many new Black Library books (latest Novellas) 
   
Made in ca
Longtime Dakkanaut





Ottawa Ontario Canada

Both types are fine but on the scratch built front, at least put the effort in to make it feel as if it exists in the world of the game its built for.

The commercial side has never had so many options, the gw killzone boxes were and are a steal. It doesn't have to always expensive depending on the game, I'm still impressed to this day what dropzone commander pulled off with their paper terrain both in terms of aesthetic and value.

Anecdotally I've noticed the value of terrain drop when it comes to 8th edition. All the small scatter and low cover terrain just fell off a cliff on the secondary market, aegis lines, sand bags, all of it. The only terrain that held its value were big los blockers, and even then it was and is quantity and size over quality.

At least there's still kill team and necromunda and those very much value partial obstruction just as much as total.

 Elbows wrote:
Your game is only as attractive as your terrain.



Couldn't agree more, the world building aspect is and has always been one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. All too often over looked for expediency of play.

Nice boards btw!

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/08/20 10:33:08


Do you play 30k? It'd be a lot cooler if you did.  
   
Made in fi
Decrepit Dakkanaut





 Crablezworth wrote:
Anecdotally I've noticed the value of terrain drop when it comes to 8th edition. All the small scatter and low cover terrain just fell off a cliff on the secondary market, aegis lines, sand bags, all of it. The only terrain that held its value were big los blockers, and even then it was and is quantity and size over quality.


Oh yes. That's why I'm glad I'm building specifically for Lord of the Rings. There even small mound with tree or two actually DOES something. So I can build number of small items and not only do they provide visual appeal they actually have some in game effect as well. In 40k 8th ed I need these big solid walls for them to have real impact on game.

https://middleagedstrategybattlegamers.home.blog/2019/09/12/tneva82-minas-tirith-vs-isengard/ <- lotr painting blog

12 factions for Lord of The Rings
11772 pts(along with lots of unpainted unsorted stuff)
3225 pts
5150 pts
~3200 pts Knights

 
   
Made in pl
Screaming Shining Spear





 Elbows wrote:
Yep, the barrel stacks are Micro Arts Studios stuff from Poland (lovely hard pressed foam - but I can't find a good source to get them shipped for cheap).

The water is indeed simple "faux leather" for nautical use from a local fabric shop. It's just aqua-coloured vinyl essentially.

Nou, I appreciate your sentiment, but I just don't see anyone demonizing hand-made crafts. I don't imagine most people "can't" learn to make terrain - but in meeting local gamers, etc. my expectations of their passion/desire for wargaming are pretty minimal.

I have one gaming group of older friends who are die-hards and produce gorgeous tables (both handmade and commercial). But as a life-long gamer, I think we assume often that everyone else is as passionate and dedicated to this hobby as we are. Half of the local gamers around here just dabble in it as a hobby and can barely be assed to paint their miniatures, let alone (gasp) build something.

This is more noticeable in the 40K crowd than other games of course. I frequently have to dial back my expectations even in my closer gaming group...reminding myself that I'm the passionate older dude who loves this stuff - many of my fellow gamers just buy random 40K minis and occasional spray paint them, etc.

Example:

One of my closer buddies said "hey man, I just busted out the old Mordheim books, let's give it a go!".

Me:
+Bought a beautiful mat from Urbanmatz as the basis
+Handbuilt the stuff posted above
+Painted up two or three warbands
+Bought additional MDF stuff
+Painted and made warpstone counters
+Started assembling "random encounters" models based on the article...
+Created Mordheim cheat sheets, combining info from all of the Town Cryer articles
+Crafted a new warband sheet and even went out and bought parchment paper to print them on

My buddy:
+Pulled out his old rulebook, and some unpainted models from 15 years ago.

He has the money, etc., but the reality is he'll never be interested in building something. Hell he bought a $250 resin Mordheim terrain set he'll never build/paint!

On this forum and many others there are many derisive off-hand comments made about MDF, etc. As far as I'm concerned...ANY effort put toward a better table is worthwhile. It's like pulling teeth to get somebody to buy pre-made terrain, let alone build it themselves. I don't think anyone is gatekeeping people or stopping them from trying.


I was in similar situations as you describe couple of times myself. But I wasn't talking about gate keeping or stopping people from trying - as strange as it may sound, most people I have met in life didn't even thought for once, that all this gorgeous stuff around them is made by people exactly like them that just tried to make something. While this is a bit different in a physical hobby like ours, even here I saw many people react with immediate "I wish I could do this" and then walking off without ever trying when they see a terrain they admire or even a kitbash conversion they like. And in many cases it wasn't about passion, but a kind of psychological block, a fear of irreversibly destroying a physical object in attempt of doing something else from it. A dfferent example: me and my wife do steampunk cosplay on conventions. We've been in a lot of conversations about our garments and props with equally passionate people and most of them did not realize, that hand sewing is a thing and you don't need an expensive sewing machine first to make a tailcoat or a leather top hat, or that instead of simply painting a nerf gun you can make your prop from real materials using simple hand tools. I know a lot of crafts people without any prior education in their field (some jewelers amongst them) or even without a particular talent - what they all have in common is that at some point they consciously decided to start trying making things and overcome this block.

But I agree with you, that any effort put toward a better table within 40K community should be endorsed. At least here in Poland it is often painfull to see 40K tables on gaming conventions - when seen side by side with Bolt Action or Napoleonics they simply look off-putting.
   
Made in us
Been Around the Block





nou wrote:

I may be biased because I do 3D modeling for a living and I come from a country, that had mandatory DIY classes in primary school. So I may not see where difficulties lie for an average person. But personally I can't see any overwhelming difficulty in your second example and it most certainly doesn't require a dedicated workshop. Whether I would have bought it or if I would have build it depends solely on the cost of the kit, my time at the moment and a question if I need exactly something like that or a close proxy.

The hard part with the large medieval house example is not in materials and tools, but planning and execution. Most wargamers buy and build fully modeled kits. They don't have to think through the building process: coming up with a design, mentally breaking it down into component parts and build order, and then shaping raw materials into components. None of these are that difficult to learn, but it's a completely new thought process to most people. It's similar to how a new mini painter has to be taught about highlights and shading. We all see highlights and shadows in the real world, but don't process them as component elements of an image.

Building scenery is a lot like playing with Lego. The hardest part is not assembling a thing, but in planning out how it will be built.
   
Made in pl
Screaming Shining Spear





Hankovitch wrote:
nou wrote:

I may be biased because I do 3D modeling for a living and I come from a country, that had mandatory DIY classes in primary school. So I may not see where difficulties lie for an average person. But personally I can't see any overwhelming difficulty in your second example and it most certainly doesn't require a dedicated workshop. Whether I would have bought it or if I would have build it depends solely on the cost of the kit, my time at the moment and a question if I need exactly something like that or a close proxy.

The hard part with the large medieval house example is not in materials and tools, but planning and execution. Most wargamers buy and build fully modeled kits. They don't have to think through the building process: coming up with a design, mentally breaking it down into component parts and build order, and then shaping raw materials into components. None of these are that difficult to learn, but it's a completely new thought process to most people. It's similar to how a new mini painter has to be taught about highlights and shading. We all see highlights and shadows in the real world, but don't process them as component elements of an image.

Building scenery is a lot like playing with Lego. The hardest part is not assembling a thing, but in planning out how it will be built.


When we are talking about recreating existing kits only build order and shaping raw materials are questions to consider, the whole design is readily available. With the large medieval house example you start with large vertical walls (you can directly recreate those with simply distorting parts of the picture onto a grid and make cutouts) to get an overal shape of easy cross sections and required rooftop curvature and then proceed with rofftop and details, one at a time. Pretty straightforward. There are some simple hacks to be learned here, like using crafters foam or piece of paper to directly measure curvatures instead of doing any calculations, but those hardly count as know-how.

It is entirely different when creating your own designs - then I agree that design is usually the longest and hardest part. For example, a lot of scratchbuilt industrial terrain is largely "ready mades" cut to shapes and combined in creative ways - plastic packaging, random toy bits, plastic straws, some plasticard, kit bits etc. There is a skill to seeing the future creation under all this multi-colored chaos and not ending up with it looking like a literal pile of junk glued together when you prime it and paint it. Or in designing a theme that is not based on pictures from the web (either kits or real life structures). But answers to questions about how to utilize a particular material or what tools best to use to shape it are google search away. You (general you) just have to want to start doing so. However, it is perfectly fine if you don't want to and go by some gorgeous commercial kit instead. As I have previously stated - I own both hand made and commercial terrain.

One skill that I personally found to be the hardest to master - not splitting hairs over own non-disastrous mistakes or imperfections. Only you will ever know that what you intended differs from what you have built. A different detail here, a covered up messy cut there, unintended battle damage instead of intact walls because you have dropped a tool, that sort of things. You see a lot more details in your own work than anybody will ever notice.
   
Made in ca
Nimble Pistolier




Montreal, QC Canada

I recently started to make my own stuff and frankly it's not as hard or time consuming then buying, lets say, a GW plastic kit and having to file off all the damn mold lines. Just a few weeks ago I finish two Terrain pieces, one store bought and one home made.

For instance I took these materials:


And then I made this:



Which honestly, didn't take too much time. In fact the most time consuming part was waiting for the glue to dry, and all it cost was really was about 5 dollar worth of balsa wood I bought at my local hobby shop, Everything else I already had or I got for free by diving into the recycling bin at my Condo.

It can take practice but the techniques are not hard to learn for anyone who already has a foot in the hobby.

Commodus Leitdorf Paints all of the Things!!
The Breaking of the Averholme: An AoS Adventure
"We have clearly reached the point where only rampant and unchecked stabbing can save us." -Black Mage 
   
Made in de
Poisonous Tomb Scorpion






I'm not big on building terrain. I like human sized miniatures precisely because they are so small and I can get them done before my mind chases off after the next idea I have As such, I haven't had much luck getting scenery done in large quantities. I do find good looking terrain enjoyable, though, so I occasionally spend the time on it. As such commercial terrain has a higher likelihood of making it on my painting desk than scratchbuilt stuff.

That said, I do enjoy scratchbuilding just fine. As Elbows put it so well in an earlier post, I don't treat scenery any different from any other model and since I love converting, the ideal for me is picking commercial kits and bits and enhancing them with customization. Or scratchbuild something and add commercially available bits for decoration. That's what it's really all about: the final result. As long as the resulting terrain piece looks good, I don't care how I got there and what ratio of bought versus self-made went into it.

Something I haven't seen discussed yet, something I've done last year for Star Wars Legion, is getting together with friends and making terrain as a group. That may be a way to bypass initial problems if you otherwise approach scratchbuilding terrain on your lonesome. It certainly helped me get terrain pieces built and painted in way less time than it would take me if I only answered to myself, and had the effect of bringing people in with suggestions and lending a hand that wouldn't usually do that kind of work on their own.

The whole thing started out with getting into Legion but having no suitable terrain for a table. I wasn't going to stand for it after we, that includes me by the way, had been pretty slack with Bolt Action terrain. So when a friend and I got together after I suggested we could build some terrain that Saturday, two weeks later we had these Tatooine domiciles to show for it:



I did most of the design work (as much as a box with half a ball on top is design work) and geomancy, while he did the gluing and exterior coating. The buildings were assembled in an afternoon and because the real time investment was drying time, the next time I took them with me to paint (and add the door curtains which we hadn't handy at the time). By my standards that was quick and very productive.

We got a bit ambitious afterwards and decided to do a large centerpiece for a Mos Eisley table. I suggested a night club of our own design because we initially had trouble finding good photos of the cantina. This project drew in another three guys that helped make the piece possible.

Again, I took architectural design lead, but this time got to share the math stuff with someone else which made for quicker and more efficient work. While the final building is based on my design, others' suggestions led to the tiled terrace, the door design, the Twi'leks as well as the shape of the satellite dish and sunroof. I'm probably forgetting some bits, too. Team effort is the point, after all, and there's no sense in dismissing good ideas.

This one took a good bit longer due to its size, but having several helping hands actually cut down on time and it was done in four or five sessions plus I think three days it took me to paint.



Where this progressed is by the time we got to the final piece, my involvement in building was negligible. Since the craftsman's hut was done alongside the nightclub, while I put the final details on the latter, a friend made largely by himself with only a little input on the side from me. I did the painting again since we agreed a unified paint job would help tie these things together, but if we had done this as a team from the start that would have also easily been able to be taken over by someone else.



We built with sturdiness in mind first and foremost since the terrain pieces are at my local store and will probably see a bit of rough handling for years to come, and thus tired to keep down cost and time invested. And I have to say for what they are, they turned out to be a very satisfying project. So much so that while painting of 40k armies at my local store has been pretty spotty, having nice terrain to play on has led to a surprising amount of painted Star Wars models (that, too, includes me - I love painted models, but work very slowly).

Nehekhara lives! Sort of! 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




MDF stuff is basically all better and (effectively) cheaper than anything I can make online. I recommend Deathray Designs, having tried a few companies.

In terms of the GW plastic stuff...I'm in a bit of a weird spot where I interact with a ton of it because it just kind of...accumulates. I build and paint terrain for an organized club, and we often get donations of the GW stuff, either from GW directly or from our players. Just a week ago someone gave me a set of promethium pipes and haemophilia reactors to paint up, along with a couple 28mm Flak 88s which I will...get to eventually.
   
Made in gb
Automated Space Wolves Thrall




the_scotsman wrote:
and haemophilia reactors


for when you really need those streets to keep on running red.
   
Made in gb
Sure Space Wolves Land Raider Pilot







I go hand made for easy things like rocky terrain, hills, rivers, even Ork buildings for that authentic Orky look. Anything that requires precision I'll buy, it saves a lot of pain. Seller on eBay called banksjohnedward does very cheap terrain in MDF and the quality isn't bad considering the price.
   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

Ever since I first got into the hobby I have been fascinated with terrain building. I was the kid that the other kids came over to play with, and I made all the terrain we used back then. It was pretty simple stuff - model railway trees and 2nd edition cardboard ruins along with some scratch built buildings and felt rivers, and linear bushes made from branches of our artificial christmas tree. I have a lot of nostalgia for that period. I would say aside from the buildings, which was mostly a case of gluing interesting packaging onto a cardboard base and the hills made from layers of cardboard stuck together into steps, most of my terrain was not really "built" but just repurposed.

In 3rd edition and 6th edition fantasy, my favourite thing in the books was the terrain tables, which was like a "to do" list of awesome terrain. I used to dream of having a board for each table.

I spent a lot of time making terrain in my 20s, most of it pretty basic, but I lost it when I moved country.

Now, I am getting back into the hobby and making terrain is a big focus for me. I tried scratch building EVERYTHING, but my scratch built trees, though good looking, were too flimsy, so I am buying stuff like that. But I plan on scratch building everything I can, and really challenging myself.
I am proud of branching out into resin casting and really pushing my scratch building. I often watch crafting videos on Youtube, but for me the most rewarding part is making my own design and then executing it with a combination of techniques I have seen. I have been focusing on making terrain for Dungeons and Dragons, so mostly tiles and furniture, but now I am branching back out into a set of wargames terran for a dark ages style setting and probably after that a post apocalyptic urban zone.

I much prefer scratch building, because I am particular about the visual style of my terrain, I value modularity a lot, and I like to design things for gameability rather than pure aesthetics. Sometimes, a kit you can buy is exactly what I want, and then I have no problem buying it. But most of the time at least one element is a deal breaker for me.

GW has a lot of very technically well made terrain. I think tables which use only GW terrain and miniatures have a very striking visual style that looks great. Unfortunately, the style is so exaggerated that it generally does not integrate with other terrain very well. I think this is a clever intentional move by GW to keep people buying terrain from inside their ecosystem, something you also see in the specific rules for their specific, nameed, terrain kits. I think using these kits is totally fine, and they do look great when all combined together, but it makes me sad that the creativity i used to see is not really on display as much, and a certain mindset change has come over the hobby, or at least, the GW section of it. To be fair, PP was even worse with flat terrain being popular because of how tightly terrain was defined.

I am happier with a more generic, more "realistic" looking style that can be used in a more modular fashion. I am more interested in games that let me make my own terrain and have meaningful rules for generic terrain, like Grimdark Future or Age of Fantasy.

I am having a lot of fun making my terrain, but it certainly does require a lot of patience and time to work on it. I enjoy the time spent, and am happy with the results, so for me it is worth it. But I do mess up the spare room a lot, and my wife is very tolerant of the pile of "building materials" I have scavenged and left beside my painting desk.

Hopefully soon I will have enough for some games and can get some of my friends or students to try playing a game with me. Having a fullly set up board is one of the most important parts of the hobby for me and I totally agree with people who say terrain is the third army on the board. However people do it is fine by me.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/22 16:38:59


   
Made in us
Tail-spinning Tomb Blade Pilot





An alternate source for prepainted terrain is pet stores. This can be hit and miss, but if you can catch them on clearance you can get some good buys on centerpiece type items, such as this Buddha statue http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=337426

I've also bought aquarium plants, but have yet to actually mount them for jungle terrain.

Kings of War: Abyssal Dwarves, Dwarves, Elves, Undead
Kings of War Historical: Macedonian
Dropzone Commander: PHR
Blood Angels Necron [WiP]

 
   
Made in au
[MOD]
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.






Under the couch

Indeed...


   
Made in lt
Longtime Dakkanaut






Don’t feel bad about spending money on things that would make your gaming table look beautiful. I’ve spent around 1k - if not more - euros on my Mortalis table and never had a slightest thought about going cheaper or maybe that I was spending too much. It just looks so damn freaking awesome!

While I prefer professional hard plastic/ resin terrain over mdf and home made styrofoam, because simply it’s just so much more detailed and durable, some things, like rocks and hills that get their details from simple hot wire cuts can be easily made at home.

   
Made in de
Poisonous Tomb Scorpion






 insaniak wrote:
Indeed...

Spoiler:


Hey, those are cool!

Nehekhara lives! Sort of! 
   
Made in ie
Norn Queen






Dublin, Ireland

Example:

One of my closer buddies said "hey man, I just busted out the old Mordheim books, let's give it a go!".

Me:
+Bought a beautiful mat from Urbanmatz as the basis
+Handbuilt the stuff posted above
+Painted up two or three warbands
+Bought additional MDF stuff
+Painted and made warpstone counters
+Started assembling "random encounters" models based on the article...
+Created Mordheim cheat sheets, combining info from all of the Town Cryer articles
+Crafted a new warband sheet and even went out and bought parchment paper to print them on

My buddy:
+Pulled out his old rulebook, and some unpainted models from 15 years ago.


Sorry but thats brilliant

Dman137 wrote:
goobs is all you guys will ever be

By 1-irt: Still as long as Hissy keeps showing up this is one of the most entertaining threads ever.

"Feelin' goods, good enough". 
   
Made in us
Awesome Autarch






Did I mention he plays the warband that starts with 100 extra gold or whatever? Yep, HE'S EVEN WORSE! THE FIEND!

 
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

A local tournament organizer/wunderkind builds terrain using molds (hirst?) and dental plaster. Apparently the dental plastic is incredibly tough. It's also interesting in that he's dismantled some projects to build others.





   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

I was going to ask about the "water" on Elbows' table, but beaten to it.

FYI, black vinyl, the matte finish sort, makes for good 'asphalt'

The question: Scratch built. There was nothing available commercially when I started, so, I put all those odd skills I acquired to use. No pix here, but in my needs an update soon blog are some nice photos. Link in my Sig.

Damn, that wasted effect looks just the stuff. Gonna have to get some vinyl.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/23 20:14:06


 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka






As long as the end result looks good, I don't care how you did it. Any more than I care if you're using GW minis, third-party accessories, 3D-printed or hand-sculpted models in your 40k army - as long as you've painted 'em.
   
Made in us
Land Raider Pilot on Cruise Control






Across the Rubicon

I made a couple of pieces of terrain, but by and large I just prefer to buy it instead. The building aspect of the hobby is probably the least enjoyable for me and the time spent doing with scratch built was more effort and time than I wanted to put in. Not to mention not really having a work area to handle it.

Below is a church I built for American Revolution games. I was a simple project, but in the end I think I would have rather just bought model I based most of it on.
Spoiler:


In comparison to my Sector Mechanicus Kill Team Board:
Spoiler:


I think the Kill Team board looks head and shoulders better than my church and still took less time to build and paint.

Both are better than my Deadzone stuff which was cheap and servicable but outside of Deadzone itself kind of pain to use:
Spoiler:


I do think terrain is very important to miniatures war gaming. Even when I wasn't a very good painter I was still trying to put together a table with a little wow to it. Here is a table for Dust Warfare:
Spoiler:





   
 
Forum Index » Dakka Discussions
Go to: