Terrain Talk Pt. 6 – Next Gen Hills!

One of the great things about this hobby, especially with the rise of the internet and YouTube, is that you never, ever stop learning new tricks. Certainly, our last terrain post, dedicated to master terrain builder and all round good egg Dakka Dakka user Skalk Bloodaxe, taught us that!

And courtesy of our internet mentors at Luke’s APS and Mel The Terrain TutorBoseClifffSitu2, we’ve learned a few new things since our last round of terrain building. Last year, we bought a big square of insulation foam and 3mm MDF with the intent of revolutionising our collection of hills, and in true SFG style we’ve managed to make….

One.

The problem we’ve had is gradient – trying to get the height/ width ratio with such a thick block of foam is really tricky, so we’ve ended up settling for a big LoS blocker, and as a salute to Luke of Luke’s APS fame, we heretofor dub this “Fellowes’ Peak”. The real issue is having bought to thick of a sheet of foam. Too thick a sheet = too much height = too steep slopes to get up.

That said, it was a pretty fun build. Want to see how we did it?

Step 1: Cut out a piece of insulation foam, hack some chunks out of it with a DIY knife and glue it to a piece of MDF. I tried using a jigsaw but 3mm MDF didn’t respond too well to it – wound up using a DIY knife, scoring the material before cutting through it. Notice the little alcove carved in the left hand corner.

Step 2: Adding texture! Tacky glue and “Hard As Nails” glue used to attach pieces of masonry and bark shippings to what will become the rock facings.

Step 3: Filler! Using a spatula and fingers, we start to create the hill contours.

Step 4: Dressed with cat litter, painted with texture paste (mixed from PVA, sand, filler pwder and water) and undercoated white – yes, white! Stay with me…

Step 5.1: We begin the leopard spotting! Start with washing a dirty yellow, mixed from yellow, brown, and black craft paints, thinned down with LOTS of water

Step 5.2: Dabbed on some brown wash, plenty of overlaps

Step 5.3: Black wash chucked over the entire thing, and black paint to undercoat where there will be earth tones and flock. You can start to see the effect coming together now!

Step 6: With the wash dried, a light bone drybrush pulls it all together and adds highlights.

Step 7: Flocking! I used Mel The Terrain Tutor’s 3-tone flocking method for this, mixing three grades of Jarvis JTF flocks – lowlights, highlights, then midtones

Step 8: Sealed with a spray mix of PVA and water, and then hit with a coat of matt varnish. Then place in situ and enjoy!

And thus was Fellowes Peak born!

A week or so later, I got the itch to do another big piece – I’d always fancied a big corner piece to add drama to the table, and it occurred to me that a big cliff or rocky bluff would be the perfect way to utilise the height that the thick foam gave me. And so, using the exact same methods, over the following week Bose Cliff was created:

The thing that’s been really great about these pieces is how easy the new techniques have made things – I always hated the PVA/ sand stage, it took forever and inevitably made a huge mess. Texture paste is a far better bet, especially when you’re going to be flocking on top of it anyway. As for leopard spotting instead of the traditional grey drybrushing – well, I’m not sure we’re there yet with the paint ratios, but it’s looking pretty fly!

Bose Cliff in situ

I’d also like to take a moment to thank Mel the Terrain Tutor for his video on the three T’s of terrain design – I built this having measured the capacity of my cupboard and also the footprint of Skalk Point, our power substation from the other month, as we’re planning these to be the centrepiece of our big Apocalypse: Earth Summer Smackdown game, just a few short weeks away!

In the meantime, I hope these provide you with some inspiration – good luck and good hobbying, stay thrifty and we’ll check in soon!

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