Monday, November 2, 2015

My New Box Set (of Terrain)

The first stage of any terrain project is planning, and for the rooftop fights and infiltrations, there won't be any drop cloth - only the tippy-top levels of large buildings.  They may be anywhere from three to fifty stories tall.  The precise height doesn't really matter since we're only modelling the top floor or so, and how far a figure falls from the terrain doesn't affect the battle, any fall takes them out of the game.  If we can nestle four large buildings into the box, there should be plenty of room left over for the copious amounts of scatter terrain needed to keep things interesting.

And so it does.
The first consideration must me the box.  For the rooftop fights and infiltrations, the cheap clear plastic box measures roughly twelve inches across, ten inches wide, and six inches high.  That dictates the maximum size of my terrain pieces.  Four pieces should cover a two-by-two foot section of tabletop.  A little on the small side, but we're looking at scenarios with only a few figures and plenty of blocking terrain, so it should work. 

In the above photo, the buildings are separated by alleys which can be bridged with ductwork, pipes, or wires, which would cover more ground.  The nice thing about this set is that you can arrange the buildings in a lot of different ways.  You could leave a nice courtyard in the center, or line them up for a longer more narrow terrain set, like so:

No more pure rectangular battlefields.
The buildings themselves are basic terrain pieces, just foamcore held together with craft glue and scotch tape.  For variety, the buildings are built to three different heights, and the cornice* of each building has a different height.  This breaks up the terrain and serves as additional cover at the cost of no additional space.  As you can see, all four buildings still need a lot of detail.

The tallest building is the only one with an overhang. That way there
is never a covered alley between buildings.
The four smaller rooftop access buildings are built separate and can be swapped around each building to taste.  In addition to providing cover, they make great sniper posts, objectives, and "spawn points".  Naturally, the nestle inside the tallest building for storage.

Next up.  Detailing the base structures.  We're going to need a lot of empty cereal boxes.

*Crennel?  What do you call the raised edge of the rooftop?


  1. Thanks Clint. Been loving the shots of your Skirmish Sangin games.

  2. Love your blog!! Lots and lots of great ideas (with great execution, too!) A few years back I made up a couple of "rooftops" using the flattish styrofoam bottoms from boxes containing various fragile items. I ran out of gas, though, and finally tossed 'em--I wish I had seen your ideas before doing so!

    This is totally off-topic (sorry), but I wanted to let you know what I do for ploughed farmland before it slips my mind: I use corrugated cardboard--you can sometimes find it with only 1 side covered, or even neither side covered, when used for packing material. Otherwise you have to peel off one side covering the zig-zag part, which can be tedious. Once it's done, paint the zig-zag stuff ground-color (whatever is appropriate for the locale), and when dry, run a line of white glue along the top of each ridge and sprinkle on green (or whatever color you want) flocking. Viewed from a distance, it look like planted fields where the crops have just begun to come up. What's nice is the stuff is nice and flat, can be cut to whatever size and shape you want, is pretty rugged once it's been painted, and comes in various thicknesses, depending on how heavy the cardboard was to begin with, so different scales can easily be accommodated.

    I'd love to send you a picture of a finished piece, but at present I lack the technology to do so!

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson


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