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"Ever Made ROCKY Terrain Like This?" Topic

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1,636 hits since 22 Sep 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Cacique Caribe22 Sep 2018 8:29 a.m. PST

I'm sure there must be other similarly beautiful treeless cold weather places with amazing rocky views too, but these pictures of Wales just blew me away! It is some place called the Rhinogs or the Rhinog Badlands.

1) Have you ever made something like this, either for you Ancients, Medieval or Fantasy skirmish games?
2) Did it introduce new challenges to the skirmish game itself? Was the project worth it?
3) Got pictures?
4) Got tips?


PS. Ever since I started researching far northern terrains to contrast the "plains" look of my new Frontline "tundra" game mat, I've developed a deeper appreciation of those colder treeless country landscapes (the far north of Europe, Asia and America), as well as deep envy of the people who can hike and photograph them. :)
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Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 10:15 a.m. PST

I played infinity on one awesome table at my FLGS that was similar. It had a big cliff on one side.

It was a great game. Lots of different tactical problems because of the cliff. I went back about a month later and it was gone. Scrapped.
Why? Because her rhe 40k and WHFB players couldn't figure out how to incorporate it into their games "fairly" so they just ended up making it into a 5x4 table effectively leaving out the cliff.

Oberlindes Sol LIC22 Sep 2018 10:23 a.m. PST

Those are beautiful pictures. Thanks for posting them.

I haven't tried to make a board like that, but I have gone hiking north of the Arctic circle in Finland and Norway.

Tom Molon Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 10:27 a.m. PST

Nice pictures. Very reminiscent of parts of Scotland.

Toaster22 Sep 2018 1:11 p.m. PST

I've done something like that

Just scrap polystyrene covered with sand and PVA.


nevinsrip22 Sep 2018 1:26 p.m. PST





Not exactly what you want, but the method is the same.
Pine Bark Chips, model RR rocks and talus.
This would be fairly simple to do. To my eye, the bark chips look way better than broken up poly.

Shoot me a PM if you have questions.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 4:57 p.m. PST

That looks awesome Bill. Just what CC was after.

Cacique Caribe22 Sep 2018 5:15 p.m. PST

Unbelievable, you guys!

And look at the link that another TMPer sent me, using bark chips. You need to go down about a third of the page:


What an inspirational treat for the eyes. I've got a notebook in front of me right now and am already scribbling some of these amazing ideas.

Thanks so very much.


nevinsrip22 Sep 2018 9:36 p.m. PST

My pleasure.

Codsticker22 Sep 2018 10:31 p.m. PST

The closest I ever did was this cliff for a Pulp Alley table:

Cacique Caribe22 Sep 2018 10:44 p.m. PST


Well done!

Are those carved out of foam? If so, I could have sworn that a couple of sections on those cliff faces had real stones on them.


The Last Conformist23 Sep 2018 3:31 a.m. PST

I did a base in a style simlar to the OP pictures years ago, but while I was basically happy with the results, I didn't go for it for a whole army because I figured it didn't look like a place where you'd have a battle.

Might use something similar for a skirmish project one day.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2018 10:21 a.m. PST

Several years ago, I made a beach with seaward facing cliffs based on Google Earth photos of Iceland for a game with two Viking factions vying for a whale that had washed ashore (aka lunch). The bulk of the high ground was foam, faced with hydrocal (a form of plaster) rocks cast in model railroad rock molds. I added a ravine leading to the beach, largely filled with stunted N gauge trees, though this was a 28mmm game.

The table ended up split three ways: sea, beach, and uplands, with the action taking place on the beach. People did wade in the sea (to get around the whale's tail, which was still in the water), and could have climbed off the beach by way of the ravine (one band did flee that way in one game).

Another Iceland game had a small island just off shore made from a Christmas display foam hill from Michael's craft store, repainted, with bird gravel at the foot of the cliff where bits of the cliff had fallen away. One player thought I was evil for repurposing a Christmas decoration in such a sacrilegious way, until he realized it would make a great Pointe du Hoc for his 15mm WWII games.

This ended up being just a scenic element in the game.

As far as complications go, I understand that along the far northern border between India and Pakistan troops on patrol carry their own oxygen due to the altitude and oxygen usage has to be factored in to any actions (Do we want to run and use up more oxygen, but be in the target zone for a shorter period of time?). This is something I always thought would be interesting as a game, but have never gotten around to.


Anton Ryzbak23 Sep 2018 1:50 p.m. PST

I made some rocky ground around my Dark Ages tower, but nothing as extensive as all that.


I guess It would just be a matter of repeating the process (a lot!)

Codsticker23 Sep 2018 2:11 p.m. PST


Well done!

Are those carved out of foam? If so, I could have sworn that a couple of sections on those cliff faces had real stones on them.


Thank you. Yes, they are carved from foam. I filled gaps with Sculptamold and textured some of the stone faces with it as well.

Anton: one of the things I should gave done was put more scree at the bottom of the cliff face as you have done- it is much more realistic.

Cacique Caribe23 Sep 2018 5:29 p.m. PST


What if one made the edge of a rocky hill with bark chips, and then filled the center with spray can expandable foam? Then, after it finally sets, just trim the top and any excess that might have tried to get out between the chips.

Would that work, you think?


nevinsrip23 Sep 2018 11:50 p.m. PST

No, I do not think you can control the foam not to get where you don't want it. Use smaller chips to fill in or get a bag of model RR "rocks" and spread them around.

Take a good look at where my chips are placed.

Cacique Caribe24 Sep 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

Hmm … does spray foam dissolve plastic wrap and tape? If it doesn't, then that could be one way to limit where it sticks and where it doesn't, right?


williamb24 Sep 2018 8:19 a.m. PST

Use plaster, stucko, or dry wall patching material behind the chips to create a solid surface, then fill with expanding foam. This will also hold the chips in place. Great pictures of Wales.

williamb24 Sep 2018 8:20 a.m. PST

Use plaster, stucko, or dry wall patching material behind the chips to create a solid surface, then fill with expanding foam. This will also hold the chips in place

wizbangs24 Sep 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

I made a valley with steep, high sides years ago but it wasn't very playable. It was too steep for figures & too high so the best you could do is fire bows into or out of the valley. It also took up too much storage space.

I'm inspired by these works & May take another shot at it; incorporating considerations like storage space & figure placement in the process.

nevinsrip24 Sep 2018 5:06 p.m. PST

If it doesn't, then that could be one way to limit where it sticks and where it doesn't, right?

No. Try it and see what happens.

Tiny Legions07 Oct 2018 8:56 a.m. PST

My experience in the past is to make a hill like normal using foam, cork, card board etc. Any place that you want to have a rocky out crop, you add bark to taste. For rocks that appear like sediment, use pine bark lying flat so that you see the side where all of the bark is in layers, for boulder type rocks you can use either pine that is not laying flat or regular bark. If you want a wall of rock like a cliff face, than I recommend that you make a larger base, place the bark first and then form your hill around the bark.

The old WFB 6th edition Dwarf army book is where I learned how to do this.

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