Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Terrain for Maurice

I recently took a look at my terrain collection and realized I need to buff up my choices for Maurice. I made a trip to a big box hardware store and bought a 4' by 2' board of mdf (aka hardboard).  I'd been buying it from a local Blicks art store and paying dearly for it.  The cheaper stuff works just as well as the high priced product so unless you're loaded, grab your mdf from a hardware store.  The only downside is I don't have a table saw and it's a bit of work to chop up a large sheet with a circular saw. Going into this, I had 3 goals for my terrain:

1.  It must look better than a piece of felt.  Some people shoot for the stars.  I aim for the ground because I can hardly miss!

2.  It must be light.  Since I rarely host a game in my house, I have to drag my 6' x4' canvass terrain mat, a box full of terrain and my armies on the road.  It's quite a load and the more terrain I make, the heavier my terrain box becomes.  So this time, I'm not putting loads of water putty onto the mdf. 

3.  It must be versatile.  My current collection of terrain was bought or made for Field of Glory.  The terrain I'm making here is for Maurice.  As time goes by, there'll be more rules and systems to play so ideally, I want this to work under multiple rulesets.

First up was a marsh. You're thinking that right away, I violated Rule #3.  It's hard to pretend a marsh is anything other than a marsh but I made so it's sized to work under both Maurice and Field of Glory (if I push all 3 pieces together).

I mixed up a thick batch of water putty, smeared it on the mdf and dropped bark in to give it visual interest.  Then I covered it with a dark brown basecoat with dark green in the low spots where the  Woodland Scenics Water Effects will go. After it dried, I put a wash of diluted brown ink over it to muddy up the water.  Then some flocking and I've got marshes.  

The bark turned out so well in the marshes that I decided to use it to create rocky outcroppings.  The idea is that I can drop these into a terrain feature and call it "rocky."  I put thickly mixed water putty on parchment paper and then pushed pieces of bark into the putty. Once dried, I painted a dark grey overcoat and then successively lighter highlights to create rocky outcroppings.

Next I wanted to make a couple of towns.  What should the footprint of a town look like?  I decided to go simple with a crossroad and flocking, which is not much to look at by itself.  Once you add a building or two, it comes to life.  My friend and fellow blogger Mark wrote an excellent review of cardstock buildings after he found a company that sells low-cost PDFs for printing your own buildings and terrain!  It was only after I finished this project that I realized I could've printed a village "footprint" in cardstock and skipped this altogether. ARGGG!  Cardstock is light and cheap and would've been much easier.  In short, don't do what I've done.  Go cardstock.  

Since I'll be running an Ottoman army, I snuck in pictures of my Middle Eastern buildings.  Mark, savor them because this is the only time you'll get to see them as I plan on doing the invading and advancing!

Ottoman door knocker

Janissary band strikes up reveille.
Here are some  pics of the last of my Maurice terrain.  The shape and size defines the space of the terrain and what I drop into them defines whether it's a hill, forest, rocky, broken, and so on. Versatile +++!  And light.  And while fairly simple, I think it looks better than a piece of felt! 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Fire! After all the work, its time to finally get a campaign going. I think we can fire it up in the next two weeks.

  2. That's a great idea, Monty!

    I think I'll have to do something similar to cut down on the stuff I carry around. Versatility will be my new watchword!

    1. Thanks Rosbif!

      I was just thinking about gamers in England who take public transportation down to the pub to play. Do they keep their terrain behind the bar or drag it on the train or bus? After a few pints, do they care?

  3. Lol! Now that I'm looking at my terrain sheet, I did make one more marsh than I'll ever need. Are you sure you want to let your men get their boots muddy? :-)

    Thanks Mark and I'm chomping at the bit to start!

  4. Nice one, I quiet enjoy making terrain and makes a pleasant change from painting figs. Some good ideas there as well Monty.

    1. It shows Tarty because your ruins for Impetus are excellent. BTW, I just linked to your blog. It'll be easier for me to keep up with it that way!

  5. Nice work!

    All my terrain seems to be perpetually stuck as WIP's.

    1. Thanks Iowa! Well, terrain is pretty low on the priority list. I was between projects and it just sort of happened, finally!