What’s up hobby hunchbacks?! Things have been busy around here as the team is preparing for the Lords of War 3 tournament later in January, but I hope you had a great holiday season! I managed to get some me-time inbetween the family gatherings which resulted in some finished terrain for either SAGA or Fantasy games. In this post I’ll walk you through the process of making easy and generic yet atmospheric terrain pieces to breathe some life into your gaming table.
I think it’s safe to say that we all have experienced the good old cut up door mat counts-as-a-wheat-field lying like a dead corpse on the tabletop. Don’t get me wrong, door mats are great at resembling crop fields for 28mm gaming, but with just a little bit of effort you can make every piece of cloth in town jealous of your fine rugs.
When making early medieval or fantasy crop fields always cut your mats into various interesting shapes. Remember that most agricultural reforms for large scale farming took place in the later medieval period or during the industrial revolution. Smaller crop fields, as used within the “three field rotation system”, were planted wherever the soil was good and often farmers would own several fields scattered over a large area – thus the outline of each individual field could vary from squares, triangles, to other odd shapes. In Sweden, not many of these smaller crop fields are left as good soil is rare and the agricultural reforms hit small scale farming hard during the 19th century, but in England several of these smaller fields are still in use today. So lesson one: don’t settle for boring square fields!
The next step is to screen off the field. Here you could build a small fence, a small stone wall or simply make some bushes with clump foliage. I used a set of Renedra wattle fences that I had lying around. The kit is super simple to use as the wattle bits are bendable, and can be cut down or glued together to change the length of each side which saves a lot of time. Hobby time, as we know, is precious! I glued the fence as close as I could around my field using a hot glue gun, and sanded the base before moving on.
I left the mat unglued so that I can switch it out for a “plowed” field (the thinner type of brown door mat) if I want that in the future.
Since the wattle fence kit comes with two sets I figured I could also make a pig pen while I was at it. This time I wanted to incorporate a pig sty into the piece so I kept the shape of the pen simple and squared. After some quick google-researching on medieval pig stys, it seems that most medieval sty roofing would use wooden shingles or thatched straw. 1st Corps Miniatures sells a beautiful resin sty for only £5 , but as I said earlier, time is precious and I didn’t want this to be yet another half done project waiting for a sty to ship some time after new years eve. I settled for a home made sty using some easy (but highly un-historical) planks that I covered with wall filler in order to make the roof a bit more discreet. I then glued some pigs from Gripping Beast onto the base and covered the inside of the pen using wall filler. Use your fingers and get dirty here as you want the mud to look smooth and not like it was applied with a tool. Don’t worry if you get filler on the inside of your wattle fence, as pigs probably don’t care if they pump or scratch their dirty backs against it.
After letting everything dry for 24hrs I took the pieces outside for priming. I’ve been leaning towards using spray cans for as much work as I can lately, since this really makes the process of basecoating faster, so I suggest you give it a go too as it also improves your understanding of light and miniature painting. I gave the terrain a basecoat of black, followed by a coat of Liquitex dark brown spray. This was then followed up by a zenithal spray using my new favourite color Zandri Dust from Games Workshop.
Once everything was dry I drybrushed the wattle fences using Vallejo Panzer Aces Light Mud (315) and Vallejo Model Color Deck Tan (70.986). The roof of the pig sty also got some pin washing using a green ink to resemble wood rot and light moss. I then painted the mud of the pig pen using a cheap brand dark brown color, slapped some paint onto the beasts, and finished the bases using static grass, flock, and different tufts.
You could easily call these bad boys done by now, but this ain’t no pleb terrain so go get yourself some two part epoxy resin and prepare for first class take off! When I created the mud using wall filler I deliberately made a couple of “pools” where the pigs would have been lying around cooking their fat bodies in the sun. So, as a final step I mixed some of that resin, tinted it with some brown ink, and poured it into the pools. Cover your piece with a sheet of paper (to prevent dust getting into the resin while it sets) and let dry for another 24hrs. Enjoy your dish and may your pigs forever thrive!