Painting, modelling and terrain-making

The following  chapters are intended to give you some suggestions on the methods we use to produce the gaming environment for our figures. Much of the ideas described here we have learned from other wargamers and terrain-builders. If you have any other suggestions or comments please send us an e-mail or fill our suggestion-form (in preparation). If you like it, we will include your ideas or modelling instructions in our pages (of course mentioning your name, e-mail, URL if you like).







Our terrain system: [coming soon]

Terrain boards: [coming soon]

Hills: [coming soon]

Trees and hedges

A variety of different deciduous trees can easily be built with foam blocks and foam gravel from Woodland Scenics. It is best to construct about 10-30 at a time:

  • To construct the trunks use round wood dowels (those which are carved). Dip them into dark brown Basetex (from Colour Party Paints, or self made from sawdust, sand, white glue, dark brown colour and some water), let them dry and drybrush with white. You can equaly use real twigs for the trunks and treat them in the same way(see picture on the right).
  • Bases are best made from a mixture of sand (to make them heavy), white glue, electrostatic grass (for better cohesion), plaster (to make them hard) and some water. Put small patches (base size) of this mixture on flexible  plastic sheet and let dry for at least 24h.
  • Drill a hole into the base, large enough for the trunk and glue in the trunk with white glue. Let dry and paint the base green (a dull grass green). Let dry once more and apply white glue with a brush. Cover the  base with electrostatic grass. Let dry for 6 h and brush off any loose grass.
  • If you use a terrain system with real angled, not stepped hills, glue some trees with an inclined angle to relatively large bases. They will be more stable on those hill slopes. The underside of the sand/plaster bases is rough enough to prevent the trees from sliding over the electrostatic grass surface of the underground. Trees with angled bases will even look good on flat surfaces. They produce the more irregular appearance of real woods.
  • Finally you must glue small irregular foam blocks to the trunk. Use white glue. Try to fix the foam blocks with small  rubber bands while the white glue is drying. Let dry and glue on smaller pieces of foam to enhance the appearance of the trees.

Palm trees

Reasonably good palm trees or other good jungle-looking plants can be made from a lot of natural moss species. Have a look at the surrounding nature and you will find very useful materials.

For a kind of palm tree, I have made,  I used a moss species, whose name I do not know. I simply selected some nice looking branches and glued them to the already described bases (see picture with 15 mm figure as scale). No further paint was applied.

 Please do not use protected species. Nature conservation is also valid for wargamers and terrain builders!

Better looking palm trees can be scratch built from wood dowels and artificial fern leaves. The Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Pagescontain excellent construction hints for those trees and many other nice items (strongly recommended reading!).



 Bushes and hedges

Bushes and hedges are easy to construct. Use narrow bases of hardwood with a different length for hedges and more  circular or elliptic bases for bushes. Cut the short ends of the bases in an acute angle, so that two hedges placed next to each other at a right angles will touch each other (see diagram).

Glue small irregular pieces of sponge with white glue to the bases. Let dry thoroughly for 24 h. Cover the sponge with white glue and put them in a pile of foam gravel of the right colour and texture (e.g. beech foam gravel from Busch is excellent) pressing the foam gravel firmly into the white glue. Take the hedge (now we can call it so) out of the pile and let it dry for 24 h. Remove the loose material with a brush. Paint the bases in a dull grass green. Let dry and apply a coat of white glue and sprinkle with electrostatic grass.

 It looks very good if you mix hedges and fences on the same base (see picture with a 15 mm figure as scale). You can even mix in small trees/bushes.

Fields:[coming soon]


 Simple mud or gravel roads, that fit to our modular terrain system, can easily be built from hardboard (3 mm thick). Tape two felt-tip pens to a pair of compasses. Open the pair of compasses with a 4 cm distance between the two felt-tip pens (for 15  mm figures, DBA/DBM elements should be able to move on the road) and draw pieces of road length onto the hardboard. Draw the pieces in different angles and length (roads were never totally straight; perhaps except roman roads). Finally draw  the ends of the road pieces with a drawer, paying attention to finish with a right angle. Cut out these road pieces with a fret  saw holding the fret saw at an angle of about 45 while sawing. Apply some white glue thinned with some water and some  sand and fine gravel. Use the gravel on the sides and in the middle of the road. Do not apply too much glue and sand,  otherwise the hardboard will bend while the glue dries. Carve in some wheel tracks with a nail and let dry. Paint in a greyish brown and drybrush accordingly. Apply electrostatic grass on the angled road sides and in irregular spots in the middle of the road. The picture shows one such road piece and a 15 mm figure.

If you construct a large variety of different pieces including crossings and junctions you will be able to recreate any road layout you can imagine, except roads that cross hills or other undulating terrain. The best solution, that I have seen so far are the flexible roads made from rubber or silicon. Well painted they fit on every surface form due to their flexibility. Unfortunately they are extremely expensive.

Flexible roads

An easy and absolutely cheap solution to overcome this problem is the use of roofing felt instead of the hardboard. Use the variety with one or two sanded sides which should be available in every DIY-shop. Prepare the road pieces as described before. Use a knife for cutting (watch your fingers and your neighbour and cut at an angle of about 45). Paint  them up in your desired colour (no further application of sand is necessary). Fix the electrostatic grass with a glue like  Pattex (a glue that will stay elastic all the time). These road pieces are elastic and heavy enough to stay in every position  you lay them over hills and undulating terrain (except in a very cold environment where the roofing felt will become stiff). They can easily be mixed with road pieces made from hardboard.

Rivers:[coming soon]



 Painting figures:[coming soon]

 Painting vehicles:[coming soon]



 Houses:[coming soon]

Accessories:[coming soon]


Pages maintained by Ulrich Schulte-Ebbert of The Dortmund Amateur Wargamers
Copyright©2003 Ulrich Schulte-Ebbert. No commercial distribution of images or text from any page on this site without written permission.