I originally created this post back in 2011 and I am updating my thoughts as of January 2013. I still believe creating your own terrain can be cost effective, but the caveat is that I dont think it is time effective. I also think the durability of much of my own terrain is less than what I could buy especially products made out of resin. I will continue to make my own terrain such as hills, but I am going to defer more complex terrain features to the professionals especially buildings.
The first addition to my scenery collection was some road side trees. These are made using:
- tongue depressor as the base
- Glue three 1.5-2.0″ nails
- Apply Spackle to the base
- Paint base with your favorite hobby paint. Can even drybrush the nails to add more texture
- Add flock
- Finallythen apply woodland scenics clump foilage to the nail as the canopy to finish off the tree.
I was inspired by another website that I cannot find at the moment. They created whole forests using nails and then covering with foilage.
The second piece of terrain I really didnt make from scratch, but I did add the bases. These are from the Heki range on Scenic Express http://www.sceneryexpress.com/prodinfo.asp?number=HK0304
Bases are simply spackle over a 1.5″ washer from home depot. Important to keep the balance of the tree. The set was nice in that it provide a great variety of trees from one box,
The next section show my hills and gun pits that were inspired by BF terrain.
Above is the list of materials that I paid for to make this project. Its doesnt include the costs I already paid for ballast, small stones, other colors of flock, and foam cutters. If I would have bought premade terrain it would have cost me well over $100.00. However, I will admit that premade terrain is significantly more rugged that home made terrain and over the very long term it might be more cost effective. I just need to find a good varnish to seal them in.
Process for the hills is all the same:
- Cut particple board or some type of base out to form the base of the structure. You can use other material such as plastic card, foam board, or even plywood.
- Cut first layer of insualtion foam
- Cut second layer of insulation and then shape with first layer
- Can keep cutting depending on how high you want to go.
- Continue to shape until final structure.
- Make sure to cut in little lines and recesses.
- Apply spackle to structure. This is important to add the right texture. It also protects the foam from external damage plus from exposure to spray paint which can lead to a chemcial reaction that creates a honey comb effect. I learned the hard way. Anything just to coat the foam works! From what I understand acryllic paint doesnt cause the effect.
- Once the spackle is dry cut in lines on the face of the mountains.
- I added sand in after the first coat of spray paint. I then repainted the sand to hold it in and then I sprayed my diluted elemers glue mix.
- Spray paint or just use craft paint. My son used our cheap airbrush after I completed mine. Wish I would have thought of that.
- Once the color is finally doe I added in the woodland scenics blended static grass and then a number of different colors of flock.
- Then add in some ballast and smaller rocks
- I touched up the hills with the brown spray to blend the grass into the structure. It really shows well on the large grassy hill.
- Final step is a varnish. I did only one coat of my good army painted matte. I need to get some cheap matte to add a thicker coat
The gun pits used only MDF board base spackle, wooden skewers, paint, static grass, and GF flock. I did use some crayola air dry clay to form a rim for the spackle to go over. The rest of the photos show the final results and the terrain in action!!! Please send comments and suggestions for improving! 🙂 Total time to build took about 12 hours maybe a little bit more. If I could afford the premade terrain, I would buyt it in a heartbeat. However, my kids are getting older and cost more!
Bottomline! I think making your own terrain can save you some coin to that can be used to buy minis. It also creates a challenge that gives a sense of accomplishment when done. Some of the challenges to creating your own terrain is storage and durability. Durability can be a significant problem when the terrain is used alot.