I love terrain. So very much. It’s something that jumped out at me reading Da Uvver Book back in ’98. There weren’t that many photos but the stuff on show just sparked my imagination like nothing else.

They produced another book by the same name in 2003 that was substantially better but I was busy building PCs by then!

Back then GW had a book entitled “How to Build Wargames Terrain” (1996) and I got my eager mitts on it. I was amazingly disappointed. It had an excellent section on tools and materials but most of the builds documented were either primitive, uninspiring, or lacked depth. The spaceship wreckage on the cover? Barely anything on it. (It turns out that there’s a great article on it in White Dwarf #202!)

My main complaint about the book, at least when it came to sci-fi stuff, was that the builds suffered from Blue Peter syndrome. Essentially it was too obvious what the source materials were for some parts. Ironically on the builds this applied to they also did an excellent job of disguising some of the other raw materials.

Excellent cardboard work but those drinking straws aren’t subtle…

The thing being that we’re great at object recognition (unlike, say, koalas…) and if something is too easy to spot it’s difficult to unsee. One of the ways to get around that is to simply add other details to draw the eyes. The tower in the back is just a kitchen roll but the extra strips around it and the hatch on top are enough for our brains to accept it as a tower.

This is precisely the lesson I’ve taken to heart with my own builds. Give the piece things to draw the eye. Armour plates, rivets, damage, and of course, objects!

This isn’t a thinly disguised advert (you’re already on our site…)

This had lead to the creation of a whole range of suitably scaled objects because they can be added to all sorts of builds to immediately draw the eye:

Painting also helps but I’m by no means an authority on that. I mostly cover everything in rust and hope for the best!

Currently I’m working on a test building for an Ork town that I planned a while ago (*cough*). I’m in the process of figuring out how to effectively detail, paint, and base these buildings. The test is this brewhouse:

I love how the neon sign turned out and it totally draws the eye. How was it done?

It’s literally just a paperclip bent to shape and glued to a little styrene detail. Painting was done with an airbrush for the glow and then the arrow itself was done in a very light pink (with a normal brush). I’ve since inked the whole building so I’ll probably need to redo it but that shouldn’t be too difficult!

This style of can is really uncommon over here but it might look completely different to you if they’re commonplace where you are!

Next up – the mekshop!