Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Styrene Hill of Old

At the time I created this piece, I was unable to afford items like the Realms of Battle boards. I liked the look of the (then new) Realms of Battle since they had hills that were directly moulded in to their surface for miniatures to climb up and down.

Instead, I decided that some of my terrain could do with some natural hills for the miniatures to be placed on. Vantage points that were not ruins, or generic houses -- but natural features. After digesting the contents of books like How to Make Wargames Terrain I decided to have a go myself at making a styrene hill.

The construction of this piece is straight forward enough. Two roughly rectangular blocks of styrene, each about the height of an imperial guard figure, have been stacked on top of each other and glued in to place using PVA glue. The lower styrene block is mounted on cork board that was sold as a table mat in a department store. To shape the styrene blocks a little, I used a hot wire cutter to give them a little bit of shape and texture. 

Once the two rectangles dried out, I then coated the piece liberally in PVA glue once more and added in some large stones in corners (e.g., see the lower left corner of the upper block). Flock in several different shades of green were then applied on top of the rest of the PVA glue and left to settle in place. 

Painting consisted of touching up some areas of the piece where the flock didn't stick well to, using dark green paint for some low-lights and crevices, and painting the stony areas in black followed by several passes of a whiter dry brush. 

I have had this item in my collection for many, many years. Some of my earlier battle reports might even have it in although I've not looked at those photos whilst I was writing this piece. As a result of its age, the green flock has faded. Too much UK weather (it got rained on a bit when I was transporting in one time), Australian Sunshine, combined with transport back to the United Kingdom again has all taken it toll on the hill. I might attempt some rejuvenation on the piece, although at this stage I'm tempted to retire it and produce new pieces as its replacement. If nothing else, the construction of this piece demonstrated to me that home made terrain items can look good and not be limited to crazy conversion ideas!


Russ said...

Nice and thanks for sharing. I have some similar (not as good looking as even dry brushing was one step too many when I was a teen) terrain myself that's still in use today. The game group is looking to upgrade these sorts of pieces using modern techniques. The meta for 40k also impacts the hills required for games where these types were good to get a heavy weapons squad peeking over for a good shot and still have cover applied. Now hills don't give cover so for these types of tiered hill need low ruins to be placed on top (making the hill a ruin) or else change to a different type of hill that is tall and blocks line of sight. The second option is where we are going as even our ruins don't block line of sight so the new tall blocking hills will fulfill that function.
Do you have an article on higher line of sight blocking hills? Cheers!

WestRider said...

How to Make Wargames Terrain is such a great book. I have an older edition from the 90s, and I still pull it out occasionally for tips and inspiration.

I had a number of hills like this back in the day, but I donated them to a FLGS one time when I was moving and they were the easiest way to trim down the bulk of what I needed to haul to my new place.

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