Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Natural looking rocky terrain (I hope)

A "finished" rocky hill.
I got fed up with my attempts at miniatures painting and wound up tossing them all in a bath of Simple Green to soak.

I was feeling the urge to build something and had finished setting up the portable band saw my wife had got me for Christmas so naturally I found myself making terrain, well cutting 6mm MDF with a bevel-edge anyway.

I wasn't sure what I was going to make yet but I had a ton of scrap insulation foam and some Woodland Scenics rock molds I was wanting to try out so I decided to make some hills. For me, this consisted of taking the cut MDF, gluing a bunch of foam chunks all over the place and on top of each other to make a basic shape and then tacking on the cast plaster rocks wherever seemed to suit them best. There will be some pictures of this highly complex process further down in the post.

My terrain building is mainly influenced by 5 YouTube and internet masters of wargames/model railroad scenery builders:
  1. Mel the Terrain Tutor;
  2. Mike at Terranscapes;
  3. RuntHerder, MisMuse and company at 3T Studio;
  4. Kathy Millatt; and
  5. Luke Towan.
For hills I tend toward the 3T methods in my own building.

Here's some WiP pics of the first 2 hills I made:

Foam on, rocks affixed, filler on and sanded and grit/texture added.
Earthy areas base-coated black.
Rocks painted in a rock-ish fashion and some browns going on in the earthy bits.
Dirt is done. At this point I wasn't sure if I wanted to do any vegetation or not. I didn't think I was a fan of the colorful green terrain...
...so, I tried it. I impatiently put on a single layer of green (Woodland Scenics Green Turf or something) while waiting for a delivery of Scenery Express.
This made it look a little bit silly when I tried to add the other shades on top when they arrived! I think it blended better later in the process.

From there I decided to make some more hills trying to incorporate all the lessons I learned from those first 2 hills.

The earliest stages of conception for these babies. Looks so pretty, eh?
Filler being applied.
Filler cleaned up and sanded - OUTSIDE!
Ready for flocking!

This time I tried flocking using a mix of Mel's (the Terrain Tutor) technique as demonstrated on the D-Day build videos and my own technique of mixing everything like crazy as well.

Initial flocking and bushes added.
I've made a few changes since those last pics were taken. Mainly to try to make some of the wild-flower clumps blend a little more naturally.

Next I'm trying to do some modular river and road sections as well as some modular boards. Just need some time.... :-)


  1. Hello, MrJoBangles. Hey, I use Simple Green too! When I last bought some I purchased the 3.78 litre size. Tomorrow, I plan on doing more work on 3 Oldhammer Mk VI Imperial Space Marines. So far, I have them base coated red and I've applied a red ink wash... they've been stripped twice already! I like your hills: the shapes, height variances, shapes, rock formations, the flowers and the grass tufts. My hills aren't as detailed as yours are. I've shape and height variance but I've just started experimenting with rock formations and, so far, I've just used a single type of green static grass over a green or brown base coat, although, I plan on trying mixed flocking and I now have 3 colours of green flock. Oh, and I look forward to seeing your next painting attempts!

    1. Yeah, I feel your pain with miniature painting. Never seem to be happy with it no matter what I try!
      Thanks for the kind words on the hills and stick with it with yours, only way to improve its to get dirty and play I find :-)

  2. Wow those pieces look excellent, I must get some terrain on the go instead of sticking solely to miniature painting.
    Glad to see another Canuck with a blog!

    1. Thanks and I'll be sure to check out your blog as soon as I have the chance