I recently realised I need new terrain for the El Cid project – our lush green English pastures won’t do for medieval Spain! So I bit the bullet and sat down to build some stuff. For a starter, I tried to get away with the minimum I felt necessary for a first couple of games: some hills and rough terrain, a couple of buildings, and a wooded area.
Hills were easy. I based one of them on an old CD, the other on a single record, the rest on 1mm thick plastic sheets. In contrast to wood, all those materials don’t wrap when painted and are thin enough to blend in with the gaming mat. The body of the hills is made of styrofoam sheets cut to shape, the rocky outcrops are bark I collected while walking along the river – driftwood has great shapes that need little treatment. I then used plaster to model smooth slopes.
When the plaster had dried, I covered the structures with differently sized gravel and sand. For priming a brownish colour was used, follow by two layers of heavy drybrushing. For the finishing touch, I added some tufts of Silhouette karst grass.
Next up were buildings. Apart from some simple dwellings, I also wanted to have something that brings variety to the table and decided to make a small vineyard. In an old issue of Battlegames Magazine, the ever inventive Diane Sutherland had written an article on how to make them in a very simple way, so I decided to follow her instructions. To allow units to be positioned in the yard, I first made a modular base:
I then built up a stonewall around the yard base simply by glueing on layers of pebbles with PVA glue. The vine stocks were made out of toothpicks, between which yarn was stretched.
The whole thing was then covered in PVA glue and dunked into flock.
On this picture, you can also see the houses. All of them were made out of balsa wood. Two were covered in gravel to give the impression of rough dry stone, the other two were covered in thinned plaster to make them look like typical Mediterranean white houses. I added a canvas sunshade, made out of paper tissue covered in PVA glue, to one of them.
Now the woods turned out to be more difficult. I’ve been looking around to find Mediterranean trees, but apart from some very expensive specimens made by Silhouette, which are far outside of my budget, I couldn’t find any. However, I really don’t see myself making my own trees. I’ve seen the tutorial by daggerandbrush, who makes fabulous trees, but I don’t think I have the patience to do this. So, unless someone will come up with a clever solution or point me into the right direction, I will get some generic trees from the local model railway shop and leave it at that.