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"Rate yourself on realism for painting/terrain." Topic

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Sgt Slag06 Oct 2020 5:19 a.m. PST

Watched a terrain making video last night, where the person showed how to, "bring a 30-year-old terrain board up to modern standards…" The "old school" board was better than a lot of game tables I've played on, from 1993 to present! His concept of, "modern standards," was to make it more realistic looking.

I go for middle of the road, between super-basic felt roads and rivers, and realistic-looking (very relative term…) terrain. I take the same approach in painting my mini's: I go for the GEtGW standard (Good Enough to Game With, at arm's length). I average 10 minutes of brush time, per figure. I have painted multiple armies, not one; I freely use pre-painted mini's, sometimes I apply The Dip, or Magic Wash techniques to improve them; other times, I just base them. I am a Gamer, not a Simulationist (someone who strives for ultra-realism, ultra-detail, both in painting style, and in terrain making/usage).

Where do you see yourself on the scale, 1 being a pure Gamer, who cares little for realism, freely using blue felt for rivers, brown felt for roads, and green felt for grasslands, without any modification; to a 5, an absolute Simulationist, who strives for ultra-detailed mini's painting (near perfect eyes, on 15mm mini's!), with as realistic as possible terrain, or perhaps only using photo-images printed on a mat substrate?

1: Plain, colored felt is fine; mini's can be primed, or bare.

2: I like a little color, and texture, on everything, mini's and terrain.

3: I like GEtGW mini's painting, and terrain.

4: I go for realistic, but I don't spend 7-12 hours on any one piece of terrain, or mini.

5: Everything must be superbly detailed, as realistic, as humanly possible.

I, of course, rate myself a solid, "3," all the way. I don't mind playing on colored, undecorated felt tables, but my personal choice, for my table, is to go for GEtGW, both in terrain, and mini's painting. I do, however, prefer some paint on the mini's, but I will play with primed, or spray-painted mini's, if my friend is at that stage of the hobby. Cheers!

Thomas O06 Oct 2020 5:31 a.m. PST


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 5:32 a.m. PST

I spent my Plague Lockdown putting my buildings on Masonite bases, mainly because I didn't like the look of just plopping them down on a bare cloth.

Personal logo D6 Junkie Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 5:43 a.m. PST

4, table has to look as good as minis

Sgt Slag06 Oct 2020 5:44 a.m. PST

One nuance to this set of hobbies (collecting, painting, building/crafting, etc.), is that I've stayed at the GEtGW level for my mini's painting. My terrain-making started out at a "2," but it has moved to a 3-3.5, over time. No real way to put that into a simple poll, however. Thanks, John the OFM, for adding some subtle nuances to this topic.

D6 Junkie, you bring out a subtle point, as well: some folks are uber-realistic in their mini's painting, but not their tables… That, however, is another poll! Cheers!

Decebalus06 Oct 2020 5:49 a.m. PST

4 Using felt is ugly and not necessary.

But your terms arent right IMO. Using caulk mats, static grass or flock isnt realistic, it is better looking. Usually we are trying for a look, that is aesthetically pleasing but not realistic. I always think, that the battle paintings of the 19th century historicism are what we try to imitate.


This would be a terrain i like.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 5:51 a.m. PST


The purpose of the look of minis and terrain is evocative, not representative. Sometimes non-realistic is more evocative that strict replication.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 6:06 a.m. PST

3.5, aspiring to 4 but time and talent not completely up to snuff.

ashauace6970 Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 6:29 a.m. PST

Definitely 4

Sgt Slag06 Oct 2020 6:50 a.m. PST

Decebalus, and etotheipi, you are correct. Those who strive for better looking tables, are indeed, not attempting realism, so much.

I chuckle every time I see hobbyists, on YouTube, painting rocks they place on their terrain, or mini's bases… You cannot paint a rock to look more "realistic," but you can paint it to be more evocative, more eye-pleasing, within the context of the model. I laugh, but I understand it, on a non-verbal level. I just don't paint the rocks I glue on, myself. I realize they would be more eye-pleasing, if I did paint them. I just choose to leave them "realistic," rather than eye-pleasing -- just a personal preference.

Your assessment is correct, I believe. Thank you, for pointing it out. Cheers!

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 7:31 a.m. PST

4. We spend a lot of time,effort and money to make our armies "look" the best we can. Why not devote the same resources to the table they will fight over? Miniatures separates us from board wargamers for a reason.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

4 but I make terrain but not Railroad terrain.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

3 to 4 depending on which genre it is.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 8:33 a.m. PST

I'm a 3, I'd like to be a 4 or 5……

Grelber06 Oct 2020 8:59 a.m. PST

I don't apply the same standards to my scenery I apply to my figures. So:
I've got palm trees. They get used for ACW games in Florida, pirate games in the Caribbean, Darkest Africa games in the Congo, games set in ancient Egypt, games in the Pacific islands. Are they the correct species for all or even any of these? I have no idea.
I have rocky outcroppings. Are they the correct color for rocks in Iceland, Britain, Norway, Greece, or the western United States? Sometimes. Probably. I hope.
I have "N" gauge trees for my 28mm Icelandic Vikings. Are they an appropriate species? Probably not, but next to the 28 mm figures, they look stunted, like the scrub oak behind my house. The first Viking settlers there cut down all the few big trees, so lumber for ship or house building had to be imported from Norway.
I have some lovely JR Miniature dirt roads, sold as appropriate for 15 mm figures, which do a nice job of providing tracks for my 28 mm Vikings. They are also used for the inadequate road net for my 28 mm armies in 1940s Epirus.
So, yes, an effort is made to provide appropriate scenery, but no guarantees as to how "beautiful" or historically accurate it may be.


Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 9:19 a.m. PST

4+ and striving for 5, when possible.

If anything, I think the terrain should be better done than the minis, or at least at the same level as them. Yes, I am a fan of model RR terrain too, though that's not always possible when you have to travel to put on games.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 9:34 a.m. PST

Model railroad buffs will spend a fortune getting the Delaware Lackawanna going through the Nay Aug Cut in October of 1937. It invariably looks mahvelous.

However, we need to totally rearrange our terrain for the next game. Moving some things, adding some, removing some.
So there's a big difference between permanent and flexible.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 10:23 a.m. PST

I think I am a 2.5?
To me terrain is there to allow the imagination to make it look real…I have a good imagination!

Martin Rapier06 Oct 2020 10:23 a.m. PST

Figures and terrain are different, and I have different criteria for each, which are partly based on my predjudices in favour of particular periods. For some things, good is enough is fine, for other things, I like to do a thorough job.

Unpainted is a no-no though. What is the point? If I can't use painted figures I'll use blocks or counters instead.

Sgt Slag06 Oct 2020 10:38 a.m. PST

Actually, John the OFM, some gamers use fixed, modular boards, which they re-arrange positions with, on the tabletop, to vary their terrain setup. It is somewhat modular, but the terrain features on each board, are fixed.

Me? I go for totally modular. This does limit my terrain quality, but I am alright with that. Everything in this hobby is a trade-off. This poll question is to see where TMP'ers fall in the spread of this particular set of compromises.

Used to game with a friend, who professionally painted mini's for Reaper to use in advertising; Reaper paid him in both product, and cash. His mini's were astoundingly good! He painted eyes, birthmarks, and even tattoos!…

I hated gaming with his figures. I was afraid I would damage them, drop them, scratch them, etc. And I did. He spent around 12-15 hours painting each and every figure in his collection… Did I mention, they were amazingly well painted? I almost had a heart attack when I dropped one onto the tabletop, and it was damaged: broken weapon, paint damaged as well, of course…

My figures are block painted, Dip'ed/Magic Wash'ed, bases textured, and ready for play. I average 10 minutes of painting, per figure. At my arm's length, I cannot see 90% of the details of even my friend's uber-painted mini's. I view my mini's at arm's length, 90% of the time, so that is the level I paint to. My hobby, my choice.

When one of my figures is damaged, I tell the offender not to worry, I'll fix it later. I don't get stressed. It is the price of playing with them. Same with my terrain pieces. I like low-stress gaming, for me, and my friends. Cheers!

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 11:33 a.m. PST

2 and proud. I paint etc to please myself & as a hobby, not into super detailing as I paint etc slow enough already.

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 2:56 p.m. PST

4 must match Minatures..I hate seeing well painted Figures and then grade school terrain…

von Schwartz06 Oct 2020 5:04 p.m. PST

A 3 all the way,
I started out gaming on a painted, 4' x 8' plywood board set on pool table with similar painted rectangles of wood set around for hills. We might have a few cheap plastic trees and some cheap railroad buildings. We have evolved somewhat since then.
I like to paint my figs historically accurate and fairly detailed, I do 15s. If you are painting and doing it to a 5 level, good for you, but like many of the replies, my figs and terrain are for gaming and getting together with friends and making new friends. I like to let them use my figs and terrain to have fun and I don't wanna be freaking out cuz someone bent a flag standard or knocked a tree over.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 7:02 p.m. PST

4-ish. I agree with Etotheipi's articulation of the issue.

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