So here's a little half-ass tutorial on making terrain for your games involving miniatures. I grew up reading Conan and Elric and ogling the miniature display at our local hobby shop, so when I think of this type of gaming, I'm thoroughly in the RPG camp, not wargaming, so some of my ideas may be skewed for a certain style of play.
Not being rich, I can't afford all that fancy pre-made terrain stuff, so I grab what's cheap, on hand, or easy to acquire. My raw materials list is fairly short, and the big expense being the insulation and hot wire cutter (but that's pretty much a lifetime supply).
- 1 sheet 2" 'blue' Styrofoam insulation.
- A bunch of cardboard boxes I had left over from my move from Florida to Michigan.
- 1 bottle Elmer's white glue.
- 2 spray cans of cheap flat black pain
- 1 can spray-on ceiling texture
- 1 hot wire cutter.
- Normal cheap modeling/craft paint
- Tools you best already damn have if you call yourself a gamer
The first step is probably the most intensive, that is cutting cardboard into 12" squares and gluing 2 of them together to 'help' against warping and adding extra strength. Note: as I am using my moving boxes, 11.5" is as big as I could get out of them, but I'm able to get 4 per box.
After scoring the insulation and snapping off 12" strips from the insulation, I then snapped them into 12" squares. I laid out 9 of these in a cube to accommodate my gaming table's width of 4 feet, and then sketched out the plan on the surface of the insulation. This particular level I opted for 2 exits per side, while the other level I have planed is only 1 per. I then followed the sketch lines with my hot wire cutter and glued down the pieces with white glue. I kept the negative space pieces for a future Mountain of Doom I'm slowly building.
I then took the can of spray Orange Peel ceiling texture and sprayed the passages and rooms throughout to give a more organic look and to help disguise the cardboards corrugation.
Flat-black spray paint applied. I got the cheapest stuff, hoping for more disintegration of the insulation, but the hoped for effect was minimal.
Note: easy stacking storage or transport!
Big-crappy brush used to apply a liberal dry brush of a medium brown, then a smaller drybrush of a medium green for a sickly, diseased effect. Note: In my campaign this cavern complex is next to the underground sea, so the green, moldy look may not be for you.
The finished 3' by 3' modular cavern complex. Design for this loosely stolen from the creative fellow in this post on Lead Adventure Forum.
A couple of other projects will be posted soon, along with a strip or 2 of Licheville, and my great experience at GameHole Con, plus, my thoughts on what a relative outsider sees in the OSR community and gaming in general. This will all be posted really soon in the within, say, the next 20 or so years if my current posting rate continues.