Category Archives: terrain

Happy New Year!

A little late to the show but my great plans for painting and sorting and planning over the two week break just didn’t materialise and it’s back to work tomorrow! I’ll be doing a little review of 2014 and plans for 2015 in due course but the last couple of days I did manage to do a little sorting and tidying. The ‘game table’ got cleared and as I wanted to clear some space the old and damaged terrain tiles got sorted and cleared and I finally finished the three I needed to complete my small ‘desert’ game area. I started this ages ago…and bugger me it was in 2011 – here!!! … and I still had two large tiles and a gully to do to make it a decent size. These are now done:

2015-01-03 16.06.07 2015-01-03 16.06.13And this gives me the following play area. I’ve left the other side of the tiles green but to be honest I’m not keen on the gaps showing so I may paint the reverse of the gully tiles as well so I can do a flat surface. Large tiles are 18″ but as most of this will be for 6mm games it is fine. I also did a few of the small hill sections.

2015-01-04 17.40.12 2015-01-04 17.40.32 2015-01-04 17.40.54I also spent a little time tidying the paint desk and prepping the next lot of figures (for Ayton) and lining up some C18th, WSS and Sudan stuff! Should keep me going! The table doesn’t look that much better but it is and I’ve stored duplicate paints.

2015-01-04 17.41.13And I’ve used the top of my paint rack to hold my most common paints and triads.

2015-01-04 17.41.24So, things are all set for 2015! All I need now is a PLAN!!!



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Veltrim for desert terrain

A while back when I was trying to sort out some desert terrain by repainting my Purbeck Terrain tiles someone suggested using a material called Veltrim as a base cloth (mainly for 6mm games). Before Christmas I tracked down a supplier on eBay (toeragstruckmats). The Sand colour I wanted was out of stock but they let me know when it was back in and even posted a small sample. The material is used for lining the inside of cars/camper vans and is about 3mm thick. It has a smoother base side and and slightly furrier top side. The colouring is a more beige type sand but it matched the paint I used for my tiles and seems OK, if not your usual yellow sand.

It comes in 2m wide strips and you buy a meter for £7.95. I went for 2m for a total of £23.40  including shipping. It arrived about 2 weeks ago but with work and kids and the York show it was only last night that I finally unpacked it! I was relieved to see it was the right colour and this evening, after getting the kids to bed I dragged it downstairs and with pen, tape and scissors in hand I set to it!

For the main use (if I ever get a game again!) I wanted a 6ftx4ft piece so the first stage was to trim a 4ft length off the main width (200cm). The piece I was sent was actually 237cm long so taking this last piece I measured off another 4ft length to give me a 48″ x 45″ piece for smaller skirmish and hopefully FUBAR type games!

This still left a decent size piece so I thought it would be good to hack this in to various shapes for contoured hills. I’ve done a good selection of shapes with a few small bits to make them interesting. Taking pictures in the evening in my back room doesn’t do wonders for the colour (and I could really have done with having some models on for ‘effect’) but it does give you a good idea of what it all looks like.

I’m quite pleased with it and having spent today having a big clearout in the attic I have finally cleared the table and laid out the two 4ftx2ft bits of MDF with a view to a little skirmish of some kind in the near future. And at least now I have some terrain!


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December Update – Syrians and watching Zulu…

I had great plans for trying to get a game today, even if only solo. Wife was supposed to be out for the day with the kids. But my expected full day to myself ended up as a few hours (by the time I’d done my assigned chores!) so I did something I’ve been planning to do for most of this year – watch Zulu! It’s one of my favourite films and back in January when we finally bought a big TV and Blu-ray player it was one of the first films I bought (along with Black Hawk Down, Gladiator and Watchmen).

If you read the comments on Amazon about the Blu-Ray transfer there are a few people who complain it is ‘too clean’ and that the original ‘quality’ of the film has been erased by the digital processing. All I can see is a bloody stunning film! The colours are vibrant and it was a joy to watch. It was great to have the time to sit and watch it on my own and it still remains a great film. I know the history ain’t quite right but in this case I don’t care. For me it is one of THE films of my childhood and I can watch it again and again!

And after the film I had a little time to finish off some basing. I had done a unit of T62As for my Syrians. Models are GHQ and rather nice. HQ stand completed as well.


And just so I might have enough for a small game, I did a recce unit and the CO stand.


The GHQ T55 is an absolutely lovely model. Oozing crisp detail and and example of GHQ at their best.

And yesterday I spent a little time dipping the latest batch of trees from Timecast in PVA ready for basing up.


With what I’ve done so far this will hopefully give me enough to get going, though I think I really need about the same amount again! As with the others I did I’ll be putting them 3,4,5 to a base and then putting those on defined areas of cloth etc. to mark the extent of woods.

One day I’ll use them in a game… 🙂

Someone on TMP had suggested using Veltrim (usually used for car interiors) as a material for game cloths. I managed to get a sample of the ‘SAND’ colour.

Although it matched quite well with that I’ve painted my tiles I’m not yet sure I’d right for general desert use. Just not quite yellow enough. It would cost £21 plus shipping for a piece 9ft by 6ft. The jury is still out on this one!

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Going off the rails… well, on them actually!

After a chance conversation with Jason from the North Shields club about railways for 1/300th games he said he had picked up a pack of the Hornby Track Planning Symbols for use in a planned game. I’ve not really had chance to talk to him properly since so I don’t know how far he has progressed but I liked the idea and grabbed a pack on eBay. They are 1/4 OO/HO scale so as close to 1/300th as you are likely to get! You get a reasonable selection of straights (enough for 3-4ft) but you also get LOTS of curves and points. And as this is for model railway planning, you  get curves for doing twin tracks and fancy crossovers.

On a visit to Timecast I was talking to Mark and Barry about any plans for doing track rather than using actual model railway track which is a tad too big. The issue is always how much you do. You need straights, points and curves. But if you do curves, what radius? And do you allow for double track? And curved points? So this Hornby stuff seemed a good idea. They also said they had looked at this as well for some models but had found it really difficult to glue…to anything. Something about the type of plastic being glue resistant!

Now I bought the pack months ago and as with many projects it has sat on the side waiting. However, at SMOGGYCON last weekend Martin at Warbases has a little bargain box so I picked up a pack of 132mm lengths of MDF which I thought would be ideal for the track. And today I found a little time to make a section up.

I just lathered on UHU glue and let it dry fully, trimmed the ends, and then used Vallejo White Pumice to texture the rest of the base. Sprayed with mid brown an then painted and dry brushed the lot.

You can get an idea of what the basic track looks like below. The only slight issue is that some/most pieces have a code number on them. I may try and trim some of these off but on the test piece I left them on and then painted that bit black. I also used one of the very short track sections in the middle and that makes it look a little uneven.

Overall, assuming the glue thing doesn’t kick in, I’m quite happy with it. Future one’s I’ll texture to make the raised track bed more prominent. And I want to move to some double track, maybe mostly curved. Martin at Warbases has said he can cut curved bases to size so if I can work up some templates that should be good to go. The lots of interesting points etc. will allow some nice rail yards to be made up, I hope.

Still, as with all projects, lots more to do!

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A night on the tiles…

Well, a night and half a day really. And a few years ago I’d have been talking about imbibing alcohol! But not now… Terrain Tiles! That’s what I’m talking about! But first a little history…

Back when I started getting back into figure gaming up here in Newcastle (c.1998) and started my AWI project my two mates, Gary and Terry had started picking up Purbeck Terrain Tiles. These were based on polystyrene tiles, but it was the standard polystyrene a la box packing so it was light and quite susceptible to damage. As I didn’t know what else was available and obviously needed to fit in with what the guys had, I managed to pick up a load at the Shrewsbury Wargames Show. The tiles came in large 18″x18″, mid 18″x9″ and smaller tiles at 9″x9″, the latter being for things like river curves, roads, rough ground etc. I bought enough to cover a 6’x4′ table and due to space/time/wife constraints at home I never actually used them until a couple of years ago when I played a game of Field of Glory at home. Other than that, the only time they saw light was to set up figures for photographing! I’ve tried a couple of times to shift them via TMP etc. but to no avail…

Roll forward to this year…and the need for some desert type terrain both for my FUBAR project, for my Yom Kippur War, and for my upcoming Western Desert WW2 project. I’ve seen rather nice desert terrain mats and the TSS tiles are nice but to be honest I don’t really have the funds to get something like that now. I could make some proper tiles following ideas from Michael at Angel Barracks but again, cost and time. So given that I have a Games Workshop battlemat for my European gaming and the tiles are reversible I thought I would adapt them.

Here we have the basic 18″x18″ tile:

I wanted a little variety in texture so rather than just apply paint to the lot I slapped some PVA in random patches:

And then scattered the usual medium railway ballast I use over the lot:

There are river sections but as I have some ‘lay on top’ river pieces I thought I’d use the river sections for a wadi:

Brushing off the loose left this:

I use DecoArt paints for my basing base colours and for my FUBAR chaps start with Country Maple. Now this would use a lot of pots so I took one down to B&Q and got a pot of emulsion matched. To be honest it came out a little lighter but isn’t too bad a match. Now I should have had a base coat photo but my phone died so we skip to the final tile! As the base was light my usual Tan first drybrush didn’t really show up so I went straight to Antique White. I tried dry brushing but it was getting uneven so I ended up using a sponge over the ballast areas and occasional dabs inbetween:

The river sections had the sides painted light grey and drybrushed almost white as I’d seen pictures of the side of a wadi in the Golan. I stuck a few bits of gravel in the bed and some assorted Woodland Scenics bushes. I may add more of these later.

Overall I did four of the big tiles, two rivers and a couple of hills:

The flatter pieces are MDF random shapes painted to match and these are meant to represent rises in the ground and give areas to hide behind and also to go hull down in what would otherwise be open ground:

Details of the wadi:

More wadi:

And some Israeli M48s moving through with support:

Overall I’m quite pleased with them. The colour doesn’t match the IDF bases as much as I’d like but it will the FUBAR chaps when I dig them out. Ideally I’ll do another two big tiles and another wadi section. This should give me enough for a decent FUBAR game and also a small Cold War Commander game.

I’m still trying to decide whether to add some areas of static grass to match the FUBAR basing, and also whether to spray/coat the lot with thinned PVA to protect it a little more? Not sure.

Anyway, a productive little session 🙂


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