Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Terrain Problems

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  • #34191
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    Have you ever got so into designing and building terrain that it’s function as a venue for wargaming recedes into the background? It’s happening to me and I’m a-feared it’s the first sad step down the path to model railroading.

    #34192
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Very much…
    However this seems to end up with me never finishing them, as the bar I set is always so high I am forced to stop once reality sets in.

    So I set about a new build, which of course escalates out of control…

    #34197
    Paul
    Participant

    Both Mikes: sounds familiar. I have had a half completed Japanese castle stashed in my cupboard for a few years now, a half completed, interior detailed (right down to skirting boards) apartment building that I binned a while back, and other terrain features too numerous yo mention. As you say, it’s only a step away from model railroading (or really small scale doll houses), so I have tried to rein it in. Switching to 15mm helped. Of course, now I am busy scratchbuilding Victorian Science Fiction vehicles, and fighting the same problem (“It’s just a few more rivets”)

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    #34201
    Spurious
    Participant

    Nope, from the start I plan (roughly, so much is still done on-the-fly) out every terrain project with that it has to be usable, transportable and durable as the primary concerns. Those three guiding principles together keep everything from becoming impractical, with pretty much all problematic detailing being ruled out for being too fragile, too cluttering (always check your figures can fit whilst building) or making the overall shape too awkward to transport.

     

     

    #34209
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    That’s what happened here:

    I am sure you can see the problem. Very nice terrain; not so great for gaming.

    My current Old School 6mm project is an attempt to go the other way: dead simple, almost impressionistic terrain, without even flocking. Let’s see how that plays.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #34210
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    Right now I’m trying to build some steppe terrain with enough low hills and various elements to keep it from being tactically lame. Unfortunately it keeps morphing from the Dasht-i-Qipchaq to the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom because I can’t decide whether to go historical or Sword & Planet with it….

    #34211
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Wow, that’s stunning Thad.  I thought your 3mm modern/near future stuff was incredible, you’ve taken it a step further.  Someday I’m going to try out your push-mat terrain concept, but I doubt it will come close to looking as good as yours.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #34214
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    While I like Model Rail Road terrain, I go for playable…..

    #34215
    Patrice
    Participant

    It happens. I always keep in mind that terrain elements must allow the miniatures to stand upon them without falling over; and that they should not create situations where players could argue about tactical advantages etc if terrain elements are not clearly understood for what they are (protection from shooting? or not; difficult terrain to walk on? or not; etc.) …but even so, you can still have problems sometimes.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #34216
    Etranger
    Participant

    I like my terrain to look ‘feasible’ if not completely realistic, so woods have ‘lift out’ sections to place troops in, hills have reasonable slopes, some buildings have lift off roofs etc. I try for an impression of reality, rather than reality itself.

     

    There is a charm to old school terrain though, stepped hills and all.

    #34224
    Norm S
    Participant

    Just saw this post today – amazing terrain, that looks to have retained it’s function. I think i might throw mine in the bin

     

    LINK 

    #34231
    Northern Monkey
    Participant

    Making terrain/scenery is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the hobby to m, though I do tend to make pointless and unnecessary stuff that is usually impractical for gaming, see my latest “Dead Marshes” project for eg: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/   (you have to scroll down about half way for pics)

     

     

     

     

    My attempt at a Blog: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/

    #34234
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Fruit Shoot tents FTW!

    #34360
    Anon User
    Member

    For me making the terrain gives its own rewards, just as researching, buying and painting the figures are all exiting parts on their own. Running a wargame scenario over it is just the icing on the cake 🙂

    I’m a big Papercraft fan and my biggest build was this shopping mall over which I run zombie hunt/survival games :

     

    My all absorbing big build at the moment is a Deep Space Freighter for a planned Aliens game, progress being logged on my blog at Aliens project

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Anon User.
    #34383
    Etranger
    Participant

    Modular wargames terrain and arty photos! 

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Etranger.
    #34403
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    At first I wanted to go very detailed on my terrain, but quicklt realised that this was completely impractical. So now I have a nice GW gaming mat and individual pieces of terrain (fields, hills etc) that can be placed as required. Everything is based in a coherent way so it still looks nice but is very finctional at the same time.

    #34406
    Noel
    Participant

    That’s always the main concern, to balance functionality with aesthetics.

     

    #34484
    McLaddie
    Participant

    Yes, that balance. It is a matter of abstraction the higher the scale. For instance, at the scale of BA or CoC, a 15mm figure is the actual scale of the table. You can then have lots of detail, such as Estranger’s post. [RR modeling/ aesthetics] The higher the scale, the more ‘functional’ the terrain has to be as opposed to detailed.  For instance, at the brigade level [15mm and 6mm Napoleonics–@100 yards to the inch], I have villages on a single base with room in the center for whatever sized garrison could occupy the area.  However, it can look odd with buildings around an empty center.  Functional.

    Bill

     

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by McLaddie.
    #35606
    gcmini
    Participant

    Have you ever got so into designing and building terrain that it’s function as a venue for wargaming recedes into the background? 

    Welcome to my world.  I’ve spent dozens and dozens of hours building game boards with tons of terrain on them and never actually used them for gaming.  The fun is in the building for me as much as actually using them.

    Here is one of my most famous hangar queens … it’s a 40″ x 40″ ruined European city.  Never been used in a game yet.

     

    Allen Rockwell
    GameCraft Miniatures
    Business: www.gcmini.com
    My Blog: www.allensmicroarmor.com

    #35931
    McLaddie
    Participant

    I saw this and thought of Mike’s question. Obviously some folks see wargame terrain as an end in itself.

     

    #35933
    malc johnston
    Participant

    Never really had that problem, i can’t wait to finish a building then game with it, the Seberian fort is doing my head in at the moment as i am spending to much time on it, into the 2nd week of building it now, there was a starfort at the old club that was never used in 4 years, gathering dust, i picked it up and gamed with it with a number of other members.Now we have left the club i don’t think it will ever be used again.

    Willyoupleasehelpmefixmykeyboard?Thespacebarisbroken!

    #35967
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Before I was a gamer I was a model railroader so terrain and scenery were always very important to me. This was when I was about 14.

    Later on I noticed the terrible wear and tear terrain took (especially when you built it like model railroad terrain) and was literally destroyed after half  dozen battles.  Then back in the days when GEO-HEX first came out I was interested in that, and got a few pieces, but they degraded almost as fast, and while they were good for slopes it was hard to make complex terrain, so I made up my own system. I made plywood plates out of 1/4″ luan plywood in exactly the same size as geo-hex  (12″ across on the parallels of the hexes, about 14.5″ point to point of the hex.  these I used as the basis for scratchbuilding model terrain. I used regular slopes for hills, and developed “boxes” for forests with lids that allowed troops to be IN a forest and really concealed. For houses and towns, walls and bridges etc., I modeled them directly to the plate. These another improvements (like using the metal from electrical wire for the rails in fences slowly over time made a set up that was not only modular, but was almost indestructible. Some sections have been through dozens of battles and look as good as new. It also is modular and quite functional, and it looks very good. When I began using the porcelean Lithuanian Candle Houses , which are beautiful but quite fragile, the hexagonal plate allowed a positive “lock’ so an incautious movement wouldn’t knock them over or off the table. My game is not hex based, it’s open movement, so  the hexes are really just for the geomorphic effect. There are plain hexes, hexes with roads of various configurations, town hexes hills, forests marshes, rivers and so forth. Sometimes I think it’s getting obsessive.

     

    Anyway as time goes on and I have now lots of figures and armies and have developed as part of my rules a mechanism to stop painting on one army (and start another) by use of orders of battle, I have started branching out and sprucing up the terrain with small scenes and vignettes. For example one hex with a small hillock and a stand of birch trees has a shepherd and sheepfold in it. The large “box” hexes for forests have scenes on the outer flanges of figures of picnics, lovers in trysts and my favorite- fairy tales and folk tales. I’m working on looking for the figures and material to make a scene from A Midsummer Nights dream with bottom with the jackass head lounging by the river with Titania.

    Yes it can be an end in itself.

     

    Otto

    #35970
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Yes it can be an end in itself.

    Yup.

    #35971
    William Jones
    Participant

    I put far too much work into the minis and models and not nearly enough into terrain features.  This is foolish, because sorry terrain undercuts the appearance of the whole game, including the glorious army advancing over a motheaten army blanket.

    I’m intending to rectify that with the 6mm WWI project and KoW stuff that is planned.  We shall see.

    @ Allen Rockwell, I am surprised that setup hasn’t been used quite a bit.  Post-apocalypse, WWII, Syria, Ukraine, Libya ISIS, even 40K could all settle into that very nicely.

    #35972
    McLaddie
    Participant

    This is foolish, because sorry terrain undercuts the appearance of the whole game, including the glorious army advancing over a motheaten army blanket.

    I gotta agree with that.  The visuals are important to ‘getting into the game’, like Santa without his reindeer.

    Happy Holidays and a Splendid New Year of Gaming! 

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by McLaddie.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by McLaddie.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by McLaddie.
    #35977
    Spurious
    Participant

    This is foolish, because sorry terrain undercuts the appearance of the whole game, including the glorious army advancing over a motheaten army blanket.

    I gotta agree with that. The visuals are important to ‘getting into the game’, like Santa without his reindeer. 

    As someone who loves building terrain as much as armies (biased!), it does continually astound me how little so many wargamers care for the appearance of the battlefield. A good looking table really enhances the whole experience, that visual component really is core to the whole point of wargaming with miniatures rather than counters and yet it’s often so neglected.

    Worse still (from my perspective) is that there seems to be an active dislike of paying for decent terrain, despite the amount of time and effort it takes being at least equal to that of miniatures, and terrain will typically see more time on a table than any models.

    #35986
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Another issue I have is that of guilt.
    I may decide to make a certain piece of terrain and then feel guilty if it is not a piece of terrain that I can mould and cast up to sell.

    Things for my own use can be as intricate and bonkers as I like.
    Things for the business need to be desired and easy to make moulds of to cast from.

    I am trying to hit upon a happy medium where I make my own intricate terrain pieces using my commercial products as the starting blocks.

    A simple example would be the resin compound that I added some extra bits to, the original commercial model is here:

    And some minor additions here to make it that bit more my own, which seems daft as I made the original, but you know what I mean.

    #35987
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Oh and I have yet to use it in a game…

    #35988
    malc johnston
    Participant

    Thinking about it i created the Boxer Rebellion – 55 days in Peking , think i gamed it a couple of times and it just gathers dust now, not really happy with the building of it to be honest, could of done it better and i think thats why i don’t bother with it anymore.

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    Willyoupleasehelpmefixmykeyboard?Thespacebarisbroken!

    #35989
    William Jones
    Participant

    Thinking about it i created the Boxer Rebellion – 55 days in Peking , think i gamed it a couple of times and it just gathers dust now, not really happy with the building of it to be honest, could of done it better and i think thats why i don’t bother with it anymore.

    You might consider selling it.  You may be disappointed with it because you could do much better, but there are many who can’t do the work that well and would be delighted to have it.  Then you can do the better one to replace it and it’s win-win!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by William Jones.
    #35991
    William Jones
    Participant

    Oh and I have yet to use it in a game…

    Just out of curiosity, AB, working so cleanly at that scale must take more care.  Does it take more time as well?  From the outside looking in, it looks terribly fiddly.  I just want to know what I’m walking into.

    The idea of 6mm Mordor just went through my head…

    #35992
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    I don’t know.
    It has been over 20 years since I did anything bigger than 6mm; I am not sure how long other sizes take.
    I know I am slow, at least compared to other 6mm painters.
    I guess it depends on the individual?
    If you just paint your 6mm blue and say hey, look some Voltiguers, and it work for you then great.
    However I paint my 6mm as I did 25mm, so blended highlights, washes etc.
    This means a character model can take an hour to do.
    To be fair some of this is going back and touching up mistakes, mistakes that would not been seen from 3 feet away but mistakes that are there none the less.

    Same with vehicles and terrain.
    I just could paint it all very basic and be done with it.
    But I like to try and show off that 6mm can be as detailed as bigger stuff.
    I like the challenge of sculpting hinges on 6mm doors and then painting them.
    I like buttons on trousers, thin washing lines between walls, decals and rust, oil and pebbles and waste paper bins.

    If you care to pick up your models and appreciate the work, then a 0.5mm error in 6mm seems much greater than a 0.5mm error in 25mm.
    So more care needs to be taken, but if you don’t get close then it can be more forgiving…

    #35994
    William Jones
    Participant

    I’m going to try to do the WWI minis and terrain in a toy soldier, or even graphic novel sort of style.  Bold and exaggerated, and see how that works.  Terrain will be absolutely vital.  I want the contrast of ‘the green fields of France’ with the cratered sterility of No Man’s Land.  We shall see.

     

    #36009
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Several gamers have noted disappointment on disparity between figures and terrain of some gamers. What you must remember is that those people who do that are probably the more mentally stable among us. It IS after all a game, and the soldiers and units are the “active” pieces that we use to create and pursue the actual narrative of the game.

    The others? well….

    Being a model Railroader as well I have noticed something.  The majority of model railroaders make layouts that are from the steam era, and now, at this stage, most of them have never seen a steam engine (I saw two, and this was working steam engines on a train line). Most of the rest in diesels pitch their era in the transiton to 60’s and 70’s erea . The unifying thing to all these is that they pitch their eras in a time when they were very young or not even born, and the detail and craftwork they lavish on it simply marks them as idolizing an earlier, happier time than now. That is, they want to go back to the time of their childhood to a world of wonder and the halcyon days of yore when people looked like you see them in the old movies.

     

    It’s a psychosis.

    Gamers, like me, are infected with it, and lavish detail on their battlefields and on structures and scenes that have almost NO chance of EVER being on a battlefield. I made, for example a model of the palace of Princess Trixie of Saxe Burlap und Schleswig Beerstein. This includes the gardens and little bungalows and kiosks in the “wilderness” park. Like model railroaders those of us who overbuild on terrain are building stages our mind can act out our little dramas on. This psychosis came over me quite young.

    When I was in High School they put out a yearbook and underneath your picture was a brief bio of your name, nickname, what you studied and favorite saying and other characteristics. At the end was a statement “Leaves for…” Which usually was “The Army, Rutgers, NJIT, Yale, U of some state and so forth.

    Under my picture they wrote “Leaves for the 18th century.”

    I got tired of waiting for the celestial bus and realized I would have to build it on my own.

    I don’t begrudge people who don’t lavish attention on their terrain, it makes my own look better.

     

    Otto

    #36010
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    The terrain for my vaguely “Interwar”/Scifi Phosgene & Sol d’Or campaign is my first to include illumination (it’s supposed to take place in perpetual, half-lit darkness). It looks good as a tableau but in terms of practicality playing in the dark is, well, dumb.

    #36013
    Oh no….
    Participant

    I like my terrain to look “realistic” but sometimes the compromise between realism and playability is hard to achieve. A couple of photos of my VBCW 20mm (OO gauge fits nicely despite not being exact ). 28mm Dark Age its a case of getting the terrain to look right and forget the ground scale.

    A very early VBCW game. The factory represents Jacobs (cream crackers) in Liverpool.

    The start of a game, not much on the table yet.

    A lot more populated now. The buildings look great but can be nudged/damaged by players when leaning over to move units near the centre of the table. The price you pay………..

     

    #36015
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Apart from the Skol (really? They still make that?) that is pretty bad ass.

    #36028
    Oh no….
    Participant

    Must still make it. Some even drink it by choice

    The buildings are all OO railway ones, mainly card. I’ve got even more now! Just call me “Rachman”.

    #36457
    Thuseld
    Participant

    Those fruit shoot tents. Are they covered in anything to make sure the paint sticks?

    #39325
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    I am very much a thinker, not a doer.

    Like I do with rules, I enjoy pondering on terrain ideas as I am renewing it all at the moment. But I need to be in a ‘pottering frame of mind’ to do any painting or modelling which is then done as per my earlier decisions with nothing to improve upon without pushing my envelope but at the same time to suit my purposes but not to competition standard.

    So, no individual pieces don’t get out of control with me but I do keep adding to armies & terrain until I have (excessively, almost) everything.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

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