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"10mm Terrain Essentials" Topic


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John Platt22 Jun 2018 7:22 a.m. PST

OK, so I know before I start that this is going to be a stupid question but I really would value some input.

I'm getting back into gaming after a break and I dusted off my old 10mm WWII stuff for Blitzkrieg Commander. I have figures (and I was surprised at how good a job I'd made of them) but at present, I don't have any terrain other than a few buildings I think I must have given it away when I packed in gaming.

I'm planning on playing 1944/45 North West Europe with my teenage sons and I find myself at the bottom of a metaphoric big hill. I don't have any cover/terrain etc and I need to prioritise building or buying (but probably building) some.

I'm planning to build some walls and hedges and buy some trees what else do you guys find useful? Should I bother with hills or roads or rivers? Would modelling minefields and fields be a better choice? What about bridges?
My time is limited (as are my funds) so where would you guys start and what would you prioritise?

steamingdave4722 Jun 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

Roads and tivers are pretty essential; road junctions were often objectives, as were bridges. I make roads and rivers out of scrap cardboard. It needs to a be a reasonable thickness to stop it warping when you paint it, the backs of A4 paper pads are great. You could also use thick hardboard or mdf; I got a supply from the backs of old self- assembly furniture.
If you want flexible roads to follow terrain contours, you need latex or rubber strip , that does mean spending a bit of cash.
If you have a decent green cloth, don't bother too much with hills – books or layers of cardboard from boxes under the cloth do a decent job and give flexibility in shape and size of hills; figures don't slide off hillls gormed this way like they do with the " domed" plastic hills.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 8:05 a.m. PST

If you're tight for money, scratchbuild the trees and hedges. A box of so of roofing nails and pom-poms from a craft shop will cover your board and look decent with a little glue and flock, and hedges are what those green scrubbing pads are for. Neither will strain the defense budget

But you certainly need bridges and they have to be coordinated with your roads and rivers. I'd say buy some commercial bridges with straight sides--very important--do cardboard rivers as Steaming Dave recommends to match, and consider your options on roads lining up with the size of your bridges. Vinyl is nice but expensive. I like felt myself--cheap and follows contours--but not everyone is content with it.

But don't buy or build a road which won't go up and down your hills.

hurrahbro22 Jun 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

Roads, rivers and hedges.
Roads and rivers can be done with scraps of cloth or even card that has been painted.
Hedges, use sponge painted green and cut into thin strips.

firebase201223 Jun 2018 1:56 a.m. PST

For cheap and good looking rivers buy sheets of cheap acetate a clear reflective thin plastic simply paint your prefered colour wait till it drys then flip it over an instant reflective river. You can if you want add river banks with flock grass tufts and rocks cheap easy and looks great.

EJNashIII08 Oct 2019 3:58 p.m. PST

fake fur from a fabric store makes easy fields

Mark 123 Oct 2019 3:44 p.m. PST

I'm planning to build some walls and hedges and buy some trees what else do you guys find useful? Should I bother with hills or roads or rivers? Would modelling minefields and fields be a better choice? What about bridges?
My time is limited (as are my funds) so where would you guys start and what would you prioritise?

My take:

Walls and hedges are very useful to build. As a base I use stirring sticks collected from visits to my local fast food chains and coffee-houses. The suggestion of scrubbing pads is good -- the green ones are very convenient. Thin cork sheets are also good for stone walls. Just slice 'em into strips (both pads and cork), and glue them down to the stirring sticks. A bit of dry-brushing, some flocking on the sticks, and you're done.

Your choice of scale (10mm) indicates to me that you are probably going to game with a ground scale that allows you 1Km or more of game table. In Europe, even in the very rural farming areas, you will find villages, hamlets, or other clusters of buildings about every 700-1000m. You just don't find large open tracts of land with 1 or 2 structures.

I'd be more inclined to build the trees too, and save my limited funds for the buildings.

I much prefer my own 6mm European game boards to have 2 or 3 clusters of buildings every 1.5 2Km of table space -- maybe 2 villages and an industrial park, for example. Or 2 villages and a small hamlet.

If you want to go cheap on the buildings, with some creativity you can do much with plastic packaging that all sorts of random items come in these days. Car parts, batteries, all sorts of things you purchase on a weekly basis come in plastic packaging that can be sliced up, painted, and maybe (if needed) decorated with some plastic sprues for external plumbing or chimneys. I made a reasonably impressive factory complex out of a keyboard cover that came with my last desktop PC.

For the general table layout I strongly urge you to look over a few of Mark Luther's AARs ("Microbiggie" here on TMP). I am an avid fan of his results, and a student of his approach. It starts with a green cloth -- he uses cheap bed sheets, but I have opted for heavier cloths like canvas. Then I add a pack of pastels. I DRAW my rivers and roads. Cheap and cheerful. Then I add crop fields with cut cloth from the discards/seconds bin at the fabric store (faux fur is useful as others have suggested, but so is corduroy).

For elevations I collect cut corrugated cardboard. Basically, for a period of a few years almost any cardboard box that came into my home was attacked with an exacto knife, and sliced into odd shapes. These then go UNDER my cloth to give my game tables a third dimension.

Some were cut into similar shapes at progressively smaller sizes (to stack up), others just in random shapes. Some larger boxes were cut to provide particularly large single-height pieces, often then dissected with a curved cut to give me the ability to cover much of the table with a flat surface 1 elevation high, dissected by a depression of selectable width -- a river bed or wadi or submerged roadway.

As you don't NEED to have big hills or wadis for every game (and in particular for your first games), you can just add to your elevations collection as boxes come into your home over time. Although really, one flat-screen TV purchase can build half the Alps for you if you want.

For trees, I like the nail-and-pompon suggestion, but another very cheap and really nice-looking approach is dried grape stems with model RR shrubbery. Really, one good munching of tasty table grapes can give you 10 or 15 really nice looking trees. I use room-temp self-drying clay on pennies as bases (a hole in the clay and a spot of glue holds the grape-trees admirably). The durability might impress you -- I have some grape-stem trees that are 30+ years old, although the lichen I used so long ago doesn't look as good as model RR shrubbery I use these days.

So all told, for the princely sum of maybe US$25-30, plus the cost of scale buildings, I can have an infinite number of European game tables.

(Munch munch mumble) and I get some tasty snacks in the process…

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

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