Terrain tutorial (Part 1)

Hi everyone! Today I’ve got something different than figurines. Some time agoI’m going to make my own battlefield for tabletop, and the goal is to get pleasure of playing on this wargaming table. I bought some materials for this project. Base material – styrofoam (40x40x3cm plates), some PVA glue, 80l bag of rind bark (for 4$ :D), some static grass, 36 size brush and other strange things. I don’t remember everything but in some paragraphs I’ll explain everything.

Warning! Sharp knife and woman!

The plan

First, primary thing is a good plan! I decided to make 3×3 modular table and I draw some pictures of it in my sketchbook.

The plan is:

  • 4 plates with modular hill –  it means that You can have 1 huge or 2 medium, or 4 small hills. 1 hill with pond and waterfall.
  • 2 plates with meadow
  • 1 plate with swamps
  • 2 plates with small hills or somethig (soon I’ll now what is it :)


Ok, base material is waiting for first cut. I use casual sharp kitchen knife for modelling my first hill. I cut shapes sketched with pen on styrofoam. It’s really easy, You don’t need to be an engineer to make Your own hill!  I tried do it with chisel but it’s a bad idea. You need knife, sharp knife.

…for cutting bigger plates You can use knife for bread with small saw. It can save Your time. Remember to polish surface with sandpaper.

I glue two parts – hill and pond with PVA glue, but it’s not the best idea, there are more suitable glues but I don’t have time to get right solution. I put there a lot of nails to get stiff connection. It really helpful.


Best basing materials You can find around your house, just look around and get right materials. Of course You can buy it in local hobby store but there is more pleasure to find it yourself :)

  • Fine-grained sand,
  • small rocks,
  • gravel,
  • some earth,
  • rind.

Now it’s time to use PVA glue! Take an old brush and put it on styrofoam. First place biggest rocks, second smaller and fine sand on the end. Shake the plate to take of excess of sand and other mess. The best idea is doing this outdoor. Now you have to wait until glue and sand dry. When everything is dry you need to paint it black. I use black spray but it can’t be Citadel, Army Painter or carspray because they have agressive thinners that melt styrofoam.  I use „Idea” hobby spray – it smells really strange but do not melt my terrains.


Time for some painting. You can paint terrain after planting grass but I prefer to prepaint whole surface with base colors. I use two acrylic paints – first dark brown (simillar to Scorched Brown) and lighter brown (simillar to Snakebite Leather). Just take a big brush and drybrush first with dark brown and second with lighter brown.

Planting grass

I use a lot of different static grasses, some Heki grass, some Citadel and some unnamed.

Put glue on terrain and try to get unregular shapes and remember to have fine glue surface. Start planting with darkest grass (I have some unnamed dark brown grass) – it look best on edges, next add some lighter grass (I use Citadel Dead Grass), after this I plant main layer  of green grass to get shaded effect.

Shake your plate again to take off excess of grass. I have old box for catching this excess, so and I can use it again. When all desired areas are covered wait until glue is dry and using soft brush take the rest of unglued static grass.

Painting ground

At this moment is less to do. Use Khemri Brown to drybrush remain areas, leave darkest shadows on the edges of grass. Using Bleached Bone drybrush central ligths on ground. When you’re painting rocks you can add some white to Bleached Bone. It’s all. You’ve got finished ground!


Water effects are very effective on terrains so why not to make some of them? ;) For making bigger ponds I use transparent acrylic resin. For swamp you can add some brown pigment to it to get dirty water, for epic crystal clear ponds you can add some blue.

Base, background for ponds is very important. I use dark brown and greens to shade and highligt my background for swamps. First Orkhide Shade, next Knarloc Green, after this Gretchin Green and Bleached Bone for highlights. For epic ponds I use Orkhide Shade, Hawk Turquoise, Bleached Bone and Skull White. All of this is simple drybrush using „smaller” brush like size 9-10.

When background is ready it’s time to mix resin and hardener avoiding bubbles. I add some oil color (Shadow Brown, Abteilung 502) and pigment to get swampy dirty water. I left bigger lumps of pigment because I want to have really dirty water :)


Yes! Waterfall! Water + waterfall = more effective look. So, it’s also simple. Just get some hard transparent plastic. I use old transparent CD because I lost my plastic disposable spoons. Using lighter  you can model a waterfall, but remember to hold plastic high and don’t touch flame. In this case you can get smoked waterfall hahahaha.

Ok, waterfalls are ready, cut off excess of plastic and glue it to terrain using transparent glue. You can see more than one waterfall on my terrain. Smaller one is done first because there is no place for resin. Resin is more fluid than Vallejo Still Water and drying time take about 72h so I decided to use still water and resin for bigger pond.

I placed waterfall and I covered it with few thin layers of still water. I use desktop lamp for faster drying time. When all layers are full dry it’s time to add some foam. Vallejo Snow&Foam are not the best I think, it’s just thick white acrylic paint, nothing more but I try to do some foam with it.

Next I mixed backing soda with still water and I add some splashes. That’s all. Now I’m waiting for dry resin…. ;)

In couple of days resin will harden and I’ll show you final pictures of module with swamps and hill with waterfall.


ps. pond with blood is almost ready… Now it’s time to clean up all styrofoam mess… Tomorrow will be next Space Wolves tutorial I think.

9 myśli na temat “Terrain tutorial (Part 1)

  1. O.O Amazing work, this is an absolutely stunning table. Im very inspirated whith all your works, I have always wanted to do something like this and know i got a lot of ideas to do my jungle.

    Thanks you for the detailed tutorial.

  2. the only problem is see is mapping the grid for movement. I really like the technique thought :)

  3. What is a bag of rind? I’ve been looking for it everywhere, alas it has eluded me. I want to create my own variant of your work. Can you help. Thanks for your time

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