|One of the most important aspects of wargaming is
terrain, buildings, etc. Figures and vehicles are covered on their own
page - this one will cover building vegetation, roads, bridges, houses,
etc. Most will concentrate on 15mm or 20mm (both of us use 15mm for
The aim is to give some ideas and techniques for making
models for gaming purposes, not absolute replicas or works of art.
of us is an architect or a botanist so the general idea is to have fairly
representative structures and vegetation which need only be reasonably
plausible. Basically, terrain pieces need to combine functionality with
effect : intricate models will eventually get crunched by some
player but nice looking terrain will make or break the visual appeal of
For the time being, the following pages are available (but
some work) :
Modelling material and techniques
This will only be a very short and general guide, have a look at the
modelling sites listed at the bottom of the page for more examples.
A good quality cutter (X-acto is the most common brand) and an ample
of sharp blades (dull blades are the surest way to ruin a project and
yourself in the bargain).
A small hand saw. Buy a cheap one in a discount store rather than the
sold in model shops : they are exactly the same, except for the price
A mitre box is useful if you want to make angled saw cuts without
your hair out.
A steel ruler. Not only will this help keep your pencil lines straight
but it is also ideal for cutting.
A set square
Plastic painting knife. Cheap and useful for spreading filler. For
areas, use an old brush handle cut down into a wedge.
Loads of those very cheap brushes found in discount shops. These are
to apply wood glue, texture filler and clay. Always have an abundant
of these or one day you simply won't resist the temptation of using one
of your good painting brushes and regret it instantly...
A very old toothbrush (preferably one that has had a second life
shoes) is excellent for texturing filler and clay.
Rarely mentioned : a cheap, simple CAD program. This is certainly not a
necessary item but it does a tremendous job of taking the hassle out of
making paper templates. DeltaCAD is
a particularly useful program which can be used by a six year old.
Wood glue, a.k.a. "PVA glue" or "Elmer's glue". The white stuff which,
despite its name, will stick most materials together. Dries transparent.
Super glue, for things that won't wait. Use the cheapest stuff you can
A stick of paper glue, useful for temporary glueing of templates or for
a dry fit to make sure you got the angles right. Again, use the
you can find.
Here are a couple of useful sites which should povide plenty of
Cardboard of various thicknesses, your prime material. This ranges from
good quality laminated cardboard found in art shops to the corrugated
used in shipping boxes and the thin one from your favourite cereals or
Foamcore board. This is polystyrene sandwiched between two sheets of
Light and sturdy, this is very useful for large structures.
Balsa wood. This can be quite expensive and is not very easy to work
because it is prone to shattering just when you make that cut. Some
it, some hate it.
Plasticard, sheet of styrene plastic found in model shops. Useful but
expensive so use it sparingly.
Filler, a.k.a. "spackle", Polyfilla and Tetrion are common brands.
Air drying clay such as DAS Terracota.
Bamboo skewers, found in various thicknesses.
Just about everything else that you would usually throw away : next
you're about to send some packaging material to the bin ask yourself
what could this be good for ?" and you'll be suprised !
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There is a nice site covering a variety of modelling techniques, aimed
at the 25mm "Games Workshop" games (fantasy and science fiction), but
for the historical gamer nonetheless, at TerraGenesis.
Another source of excellent terrain modelling advice is Major
General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial Wargames Page which focusses
on late 19th Century games but is useful for all periods.