5 October 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Polystyrene Cliffs

Having fairly limited space and hobby time, I always try to make models and terrain for multiple gaming systems.

This is a tutorial for some almost free cliffs I've made. I made these for the following games I play (or want to play): Deadzone, Scrappers, AutoKill and Frostgrave.

I've made this square and flat topped, because it gets better play area for skirmish shooter games and use as dungeon walls. 

  • Hot Cutter
  • Polystyrene blocks
  • Sand, dark paint, woodglue mix
  • Granite effect spray
  • Grey paint, woodglue mix
  • Flock
  • Thinned, green paint, woodglue mix
Step 1 - Mark it out
I bought a super cheap hot cutter from AliExpress (you can find them on Ebay as well). Bought mine for 13$ including shipping. A wonderful tool for the price, easy to work with. 

Mark out the block you want to cut on polystyrene (I picked mine up for free a the recycle station). I've made sure to work in 3'' blocks, for perfect fit in Deadzone. 

 Step 2 - Cut it out!
The hot cutter needs time to warm up. I'll do one cut, then it needs to warm a bit again. If it's too cold, it'll draw annoying polystyrene strings from the material.

A nice effect from using the hot cutter, is that the melted polystyrene is stronger. It will not tear as easily as normally.

Step 3 - Cut the edges
Make cut off here and there, giving the cliff some rock shape. I've tried to make sure the base is as close to a 3'' square as possible.

Step 4 - First paint layer
Make a mix of wood glue, dark paint and sand (add water if too thick). Paint the rock with the batter. This will work for shading the granite effect. The glue will strengthen the terrain piece and make sure the spray paint don't melt it.

Step 5 - Second paint layer
I bought a granite effect spray paint at the hardware store. Super fast to use. I also come in as sandstone or terracotta. But I figures granite would work best for most games.

Make sure to only give the rock a thin coat. It'll leave the deep areas dark and lets the first layer be slighty visible. A thick layer of the granite spray is too light. It takes around 24 hours for this spray to harden.

Step 6 - Flock
I've added some flock to a third of the cliffs. My flock is homemade with a recycled blender, foam matress and green paint.

Mix grey into your glue and paint it on the clif. Press a big handful of flock into the glue, a lot, the more the better. Leave it to dry and don't take it off until it's all dry.

Step 7 - Strengthen the flock
I've thinned some wood glue and green paint. I've then dapped it onto the flock, very lighty. The mix needs to be thin, so it'll just run into the flock. When it's dry, it'll help the flock stay in place. It gets pretty strong. 

Finished cliffs
I've made a lot of cliffs, in many different sizes. Enough to fill out some boards in rocky terrain. Here's examples of the above in different boards. The mats I use for most photos are cheap felt mats from excellent Ceri Designs.

Top side scenarios in the city. The light rocks fit fairly well into the frostty look I'm going for on my other Frostgrave terrain. An easy way to get quick bulk and line of sight blockers on the board - that doesn't look out of place. With only a handful of building, my 3'x4' table is good enough.

For the underground Frostgrave scenarios - in caverns and dungeons. Throwing in a some furniture and I have a decent 3'x3' dungeon. I need to make myself some walls, for a proper dungeon - I'll use the same method as above.

Scrappers is a cool little system by Osprey Games. Very nice rulebook, it's a sandbox system that allows use of pretty much any post apocalyptic og sci-fi models in your collection. 

I don't have much 20mm specific terrain. But the rocks will work well for a wasteland board with my 20mm vehicles.

Lastly they are for use in Deadzone. I've made enough cliffs to fill the standard 2'x2' Deadzone mat. It looks pretty good with nothing but rocks and scatter terrain. This is a double mat 4'x2' board filled up.

No comments:

Post a Comment