Natural terrain, Terrainbuilding

Mountains of Mars, part II

Hello polystyrene my old friend.

Wouldn’t take long before I came back for this versatile material. Creating with polystyrene is quite messy. It’s also a bit unforgiving, as exposing its characteristic structure easily breaks the immersion.

The foundation is set
The basic foundation has been set.

So I went for a bit more expensive polystyrene; not having to deal with the crumbles of the standard package-type was quite the relief. Above is the result of a few hours of carving in the couch for a few evenings.  I started of with a wire cutter for the basic shape, moved on to a standard carving-knife and finished off with a carpet-knife. It ended up three levels high, using sticks and PVA to fixate.

cliff 2 WIP
Next stage – Putty and rocks

As I’m still playing around and getting comfortable with creating terrain, I went for the middle ground in terms of dedication to this project. I used putty and and rocks to cover gaps between the layers and trying to reduce the fact there is obviously three distinct layers (four with the last part placed on top).

First cliffs done
Bellan progress pictures 101: Draw the ring. Then the rest of the owl.

After making sure the putty is fully dried – slab on the paint. I bought generous quantities of paint when I worked on the game-board so i could add it to my terrain.
The result is OK. The layers are still obvious, which is a good thing to note for future cliffs. I’m satisfied with the carving, though I will work more to create more transitioning between layers.

cliffo 2 wip

Didn’t take long before I moved on to a second one.


Natural terrain, Terrainbuilding, Warhammer 40 000

Mountains of Mars – Settling on the foundation

Like most people, I tend to grow bored of performing the same tasks over and over again. The wonderful thing that makes me appreciate playing conflict games with miniatures is the great variety in creation. So after a few weeks of evening-sessions painting different shades of red and metal, I turned my focus to another aspect; the surrounding landscape in which my army would operate and engage other armies of the vast 40K-Universe.

The most sacred of environments for my industrial, knowledge craving empire of twisted cyborg mutants, Adeptus Mechanicus, is the planet Mars. Creating a Martian board felt quite natural, not only as sacred soil for my faction, but also as a quite unique environment. Many battle boards either tend to stick with the grim gothic environments of the Imperium or green grass covered flats serving multiple purposes. Many players prefer the comfort of a gaming-mat, which is very easy to store, transport and takes little time to prepare. Though they come with one of the bigger risks which I want to avoid at all costs – Breaking the immersion. Sporting different pieces of different qualities tend to do this, so mats where…of my table.

By sheer coincidence I happened to celebrate my 30th lap on our pale blue dot around the sun by this time. For this achievement I received a gift from my wonderful girlfriend, which has become the foundation for my Martian enclave – A Citadel Realm of battle gameboard.

The basic unpainted board, as showed on Games Workshop website.

This felt like a great start to me! As I’m all but an expert on creating a sectional board, and with a board requiring 6×4 feet I would have to stick with sections in order to store it in between games.

The board adds depth to the field, without the complexity of Sector Imperialis, and so didn’t create much restrictions for my own visions of my future board.

The basic colouring of this section complete! Five more to go.

Once again I didn’t take much pictures of my progress, as I had no plans for creating a blog. It’s hard getting a grip on planet Mars à la 40k. It became terraformed and lush, only to become arid and poisonous once more. This, in combination with being extremely industrialized made me go for a dark and sickly palette of red.

All sections clad in their basic coat.

Mars is a quite dead planet. Though some tectonic activity probably takes place, the landscape bears few scars and cracks. Instead, guzzling winds is the artist of the Martian surface. And so I consciously gave the surfaces the appearance of writhing dune waves.

Mera Hills. Courtesy of Mars Rover “Spirit”.

Another thing I noted when browsing through pictures of Mars. Rocks. Rocks everywhere. Giving my board this kind of surface would probably induce a bad case of wobbly model-syndrome. So I made a compromise, trying to add rocky features in moderation.

Upper right section almost complete. The two mid-sections display some of the addition of rocks made to my gameboard.

I added mostly to existing cracks and crevices. As seen in the picture above, I went more freely on the two flat sections. Always looking to be that special snowflake, these additions to the board was a must.

Most part of the highlighting is now done.

I still have a few things to attend to on my board. I will update on my progress for this board in future posts.