Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Complete fantasy terrain set

Terrain tutorials are a fantastic thing. There are many excellent written tutorials and youtube tutorials for any subject, such as those made by The Terrain Tutor or Luke’s APS. These guys put out some incredible content covering a wide range of skills and they make some excellent terrain.

I find the problem with terrain tutorials in general is that they are a bit too narrow. They concentrate on a specific terrain piece or specific technique and the newcomer to terrain is either overwhelmed with the choice of techniques or ends up with a set of terrain made with 50 different styles and techniques.

It seems like the equivalent of learning how to paint an entire army by watching and following a separate youtube tutorial by a separate author for each unit in your army. You unfortunately end up with something that doesn’t go well together – each unit using a slightly different combination of paints and a different combination of techniques. One unit that was painted mainly by drybrushing is stood next to a unit painted with an airbrush, stood next to a unit painted with washes, stood next to a unit painted with highlighted layers etc.

Again it’s not a critique of the quality of tutorials out there, just an observation that terrain collections can seem disjointed, since the builder was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of opinions and techniques out there (drinking game: take a shot every time I say the word “technique” in this article). Gamers have often built each piece months apart with different paints, with different flocks and none of it looks like it belongs together.

What I want to do with this series of articles is to take you through how to make a single, consistent set of terrain from start to finish. All the way from buying the materials, to building each piece and then painting it all so that it all looks like it belongs on the same battlefield. 

So how about that cost?

The majority of the cost will come from the materials needed, naturally, and expect them to come to around £70 if you’re just making a single set. One of the good things about terrain is that bulk buying can save you a hell of a lot. If you and a friend pitch in together, preferably more than one friend, or you want to make several full sets of terrain, bulk buying some materials can rapidly drop that cost down to around £40 per set.

It’s up to you if you want to buy enough for a single set, or go for the bulk buy options. The bulk buy options obviously give you much better value, however you will end up with a lot of leftover materials if you’re just making a single set. Those materials take up a lot of space, and as someone who keeps a large stock of materials and has a tiny house – trust me when I say that you’ll soon regret buying so much and leaving it sat around.

On top of the materials, you will need some tools. Nothing particularly expensive, just various knives and paint brushes. Things that either you’ll already have or will be handy to have around for future projects.

Time?

A solid weekend of construction and painting. A day to build, leave stuff to dry overnight and then a day to paint.

Of course you can spread that time out over several weeks with a few hours here and there, but a weekend sounds cooler.

What are we building?

Here’s the list:

  • Rocky patches (difficult terrain)
  • Ponds & swamps
  • Hills, including a modular hill
  • Rocky formations (blocking terrain)
  • Wheat fields
  • Obstacles (hedges, walls, fences)
  • Forests
  • Buildings

I’m going to look at each of these in more detail in the next article.

If at any point you have any questions or comments, post a comment on the article or drop me a message on Facebook.

 

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