Saturday, 21 December 2013

Making Terrain for Afghanistan.

Well over here at RadioDishDash we are in the process of making a completely new set of terrain – in fact probably two sets (One for Colin and one for myself).
Our board was lovely but eventually I got bored!

We needed some new compounds and hills and trees and random bits and pieces. This became evident as when we started to work on Despatches our new supplement we had to borrow some buildings from a fellow gamer (thanks Ray – you are a champ!)
So one of the requirements I gave myself was how do I make awesome compounds that are cheap and complement our existing Crescent Root resin buildings which are being removed from the table and also placed on modular terrain pieces.
So I did a bit of digging around on the web for Afghanistan buildings and what they might look like and surprise-surprise there is lots of regional variation J
For example you can have buildings that go from:


Armed with my reconnaissance I chose high density foam as my weapon of choice for the building material. Why? Well it is strong-ish and offers me a fully customisable surface to texture as opposed to the foamboard/foamcore or cork which form my tastes is a little too regular.
My tools are pretty basic. On top of these I use some woodworking glue and polyfilla and some dress making pins with tiny metal heads.

Here is the blue high density foam ruled up roughly for cutting into wall sections. The figure gives you a rough size of the wall thickness – about 10mm. The blue foam is 50mm thick.

This is how I cut it :-)
Be really careful and take your time and use a cutting mat underneath I use a craft knife with a thick blade “Ultra sharp, heavy duty 25mm wide x 0.7mm thick Rock Hard snap blades.” If I am going to take a finger off I need it to be quick! Seriously be really careful – lots of little cuts are the best and they won’t deform the foam. Change the blade regularly.
This is an essential item Pumice. Freely available at most beaches in New Zealand courtesy of being part of the Ring of Fire – no, not the Johnny Cash song, but the volcanic region of the planet. I do however, find it essential to play country music during all manual labouring jobs like building terrain.
The Pumice is used to squash into the foamcore for texture. A rock will do the same but you have to be careful not to crush the foam too much. Also pictured are my homemade brick stamps – made by removing the bristles from some old brushes. The hole in the middle is just me making some visual additions to my test piece to see what I could do easily:

Here is the above example showing the texture and size of my random test wall:

So after I cut out the walls, windows and doors and texture them as above I start putting them together. I use a PVA/Aliphatic resin wood glue and some pins pushed in and recessed. Don’t panic if it’s a bit wonky once it’s all glued down on the base it will look suitably Afghani:

Here is another example, also showing how I make the rooms and wall braces for the roof:

The stairs and walls go together. Stairs are easy to make cut them out scribe them and indent with pumice and glue and pin them in. If you start glueing best to make sure that when its drying you prop it up or put it on newspaper that can be torn off from underneath after it is dry or it will be stuck solid to the table you were doing it on-lol:

Making the roof sections For the top roof glue something on so its easy to remove from the building when you need to get it off – again don’t glue it in place:

These are all made on 1.5mm plastic-card and also pinned together by drilling underneath and inserting location pins:

Doors are made of plastic-card scribed and braced. I leave them as standalone so I can take them out or open them – you could hinge them but I don’t bother.:
So what does it look like all put together – pre gap filing with polyfilla and painting:

And after painting which I will talk about next building post it looks like this: 



  1. The buildings look really good and easy to make. Well done.

  2. cant find the post on how to paint these where should i be looking ?

  3. There is a great manufacturer landscape. I think your readers would be interested to know.

  4. What paints were used fir the buildings and ground?