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POLL: How Much of Your Money & Time on Scenics?

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jay138 writes:

150% 200% or 300% ???

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1,669 hits since 20 Sep 2011
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much more than 300%
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quidveritas Inactive Member muses:

When you are painting up that first army, getting the troops on the table is paramount. Terrain isn't even a consideration.


For us 'well established' types, we have enough figs to play a game (not that we can't always use more).

How much money and time-- expressed as a percentage - should a gamer be investing in his terrain?

With all the Scenic Effects goodies that were recently released, the miniatures gamer can manufacture terrain that is truly impressive without a great deal of prior experience.


  1. Making really nice terrain takes time - all kinds of time - sometimes as much time as painting a group of miniatures.
  2. Expense is also an issue. Smaller terrain pieces are not all that expensive. However, when you start doing some of the 'bigger footprint' pieces, the amount of money you can put into such a beast just skyrockets.
I've been 'messing around' with a 4" hill I made out of beaded white styrofoam. The foot print for this thing is about 24" by 18". The slope is 'figure friendly' - which means it is so gradual that your figs are not going to fall over when placed just about anywhere on the hill.

first there's the cost of the foam itself;

then there's glue - all kinds of glue

the first round of glue (I put a pretty heavy coat on the bottom of the piece; which is cross hatched to create more surface area; and affix this to felt - which imparts strength to the whole piece - especially those vulnerable edges; the felt also 'locks down' into my felt table mat - which totally keeps these very lightweight pieces from moving or being displaced (a very nice feature).

then I slop on a paste that covers the top of the piece to seal it; seems this is the only way to deal with the rather fragile beaded styrofoam

Then there's the first painting - craft paints which are relatively cheap but... the larger surface areas suck up a lot of paint - more than you would think - buying by the quart or gallon might be more cost effective.

Then there's round two of glue on the top surface

Into this goes Silfor tufts, leaf litter, flock turf colors (link)

ballast - medium brown works best on hills IMO (link

I used to buy the shaker containers but I'm going to start buying the half gallon containers - man you can go through this fast when making terrain cut out of a 4' x 8' piece of foam. There's way more than 32 square feet of surface area after I carve it into figure-friendly hills.

and the rocks - realistic-looking rocks taken from nearby waterways. Proper rock selection and preparation takes time and skill (if you don't want to get your feet wet).

Then there's the cliff painting, and stuffing grasses and other stuff into the cracks and crevasses.

and after going to all this trouble, I wind up giving it away. Well not exactly giving it away. I exchange it for more felt, foam and goodies to put on my next creation.

You see, right now I'm just learning how to do this well and about 80% of my stuff is 'less than grand' so I don't keep it -

These 'seconds' may not be 'grand' but they are very much in demand - seems at the price I'm charging, I can't make enough.


This little sideshow is starting to eat me alive. I have spent six of the last twelve weeks making terrain and neglecting those 15mm partisans and my airplanes. My terrain budget has gone crazy - I don't even want to add it all up. Conservatively, I probably spent $150.00 USD on materials to do the terrain derived from that first 4 x 8' piece of foam. Now that I'm getting good at this I'll be switching to blue foam for my next round of stuff and (I cannot help myself - I just can't) the cost of materials will probably double with the next round of stuff.

This is wrong! Just so wrong! Trouble is, the stuff I'm making is way better than anything you can buy - and then there's the modeling bug at work - it is fun to do this stuff (especially with those older eyes).


Expressed as a percentage, how much time and/or money should an established wargamer reasonably spend on terrain, compared to what he spends on the figs?