BtGoA: Creating the Ruined Bio Dome of Alpha Prime

gates antares logo

Get some ideas for your table from this great terrain piece.

Warlord Games worked with Sarissa Precision and the Phat Katz demo team to create something special for the Beyond the Gates Of Antares display at Salute 2016

via Warlord:

The task was to create a ruined settlement in the centre of the board which would provide a close quarter battle area for opposing forces, leaving the outer area for overgrown vegetation and unique areas for concealment and ideal sniping and ambush opportunities. After reading the rich background material in the rule book we decided that we would create a dome that had perhaps once been the savior of an endangered or dying race but had over time met with some other calamitous event and having been deserted, nature had reclaimed the now long forgotten dome protected settlement.

Tools used:

Green (Oasis) Wet bricks
Glue (PVA, UHU and hot glue)
Flock and static grass
Herculite 2 Casting powder
Fish tank models
Fish tank and plastic flowers
Clear Resin
Clear silicone sealer
Phat Katz Antares table white

The base board was circular and 3ft in diameter with the bio dome covering a quarter of the domes total area with part stanchions around the remailing circumference. The ruined bio dome was built in three stages:

1. The Ruined Buildings

We wanted to create a set of buildings in the centre of the board that looked as though they had once formed a small settlement or perhaps ancient religious site of high importance which would tie in to the history of as to why it had been saved and placed in a protective dome. In order to fit in to the board theme the buildings needed to be basic but functional and appear as though they were of stone construction and in a state of decay and ruin.

Hirst Art molds have an excellent range and vast variety of molds. In particular the molds used were from the Castle Molds range including:

  • Basic Block Mold #40
  • Wizard’s Tower Mold #50
  • Prison Tower Mold #60
  • Turret Mold #61
  • 8″ Round Tower Mold #64
  • Cracked Floor Tiles Mold #203

These molds provided the perfect rough stone texture for our ruined buildings and paved areas. To provide a strong building block that would be ‘gamer proof’ we used Herculite 2 casting powder.

The buildings were then scratch built using various Mayan ruin pictures as a rough guide and frame of reference. We wanted to make sure that the buildings were not just eye catching terrain but terrain that could be used to house troops inside and at different levels for perfect firefight opportunities. The buildings and their ultimate layout provided not just cover but lines of fire as well depending on where the opposing factions were on the board.

2. The Rock Formations & Waterfall

Due to the weight of the board and the Herculite 2 buildings and pavements we needed a lightweight solution for the rocks that were incorporated in to the board. Fortunately one of our members was redecorating their parent’s house that had an abundant amount of old cork tiles which make excellent rocks when built up. We wanted the rocks to be incorporated not just around the board but in the dome area as well to give the appearance that the dome had been built in to the rocks.

To get the height in the large dome rock formations we used the Oasis bricks / blocks, these are incredibly light, easy to cut and do not melt if they come in to contact with various glues and adhesives.

The cork was pushed in to the Oasis blocks and glued in place and gave a great rough rock-like appearance to the overall build. From the start we wanted a little waterfall from the top of the dome falling in to some form of natural rock pool near the bottom.

To achieve the waterfall effect we piped silicone sealer in strips on a non-stick surface and used a cocktail stick to mix it up to form a falling water effect and when dry stuck it down with more clear silicone sealer. The waterfall pool and water pool were filled with a clear liquid resin that did leak out onto the rocks and baseboard but overall added to the effect.


3. The Overgrown Jungle

To get the overgrown jungle effect we bought various different artificial plastic aquarium plants and grasses as well as fish tank decorations.

In all approximately 12 – 15 different types including ferns, eucalyptus and pine were used. We went for different greens rather than a multi-colour effect to try and emulate a rainforest type setting. Many of the artificial plants were mounted on wire which was easily pushed in to the cork to secure it to the board, others were glued in using hot glue as this is fast drying.

The outside of the board was painted with undiluted PVA glue and then a variety of different coloured flock and static grass was used, pretty much what we had available rather than a planned colour scheme. We had a few large bags of reindeer moss which was bought from various garden centres last Christmas. These bags are sold with the Christmas decorations and was an ideal course material that represented climbing vegetation as well as undergrowth. We wanted an over grown effect around the whole of the board as the stanchions represented the dome superstructure and the whole dome was now in ruin.

As a final touch we broke up various pieces of the Perspex dome shell to give the whole dome area a totally ruined and derelict feel.


What are some of your favorite terrain builds?

  • Andrew


  • Richard Mitchell

    That is pretty boss I hope they keep doing articles like this.

  • Zingbaby

    Very nice looking piece!

  • Sleeplessknight

    They also need to make Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin minis to go with this terrain piece.

    • V10_Rob

      If you shoot them, both players win.

  • ZeeLobby

    That’s pretty sweet. I love articles about custom terrain. BtGoA is just another game I wish I had time and money to play. Without 40K eating through my wallet maybe I should pick it up til 8th drops.

  • Donald Wendt

    Well I’m impressed. With all the grimdark terrain over the years I never thought of using aquarium plants to have living plants on a piece of terrain. This board would look decent on a smaller scale for an intact tau settlement, too.

    • Mike X

      Seriously? GW used to sell aquarium plants terrain pieces… for like $20. It was their most expensive product at the time (for what you got).

      • Donald Wendt

        Wasn’t aware of that. I don’t buy much GDubs except the actual minis. Sounds like their MO, though. Most of my terrain has always come from model train stores.

    • CatachanCommissar

      I play catachans as one of my armies, so I used cheap jungle plants from aquariums and special glue to build a huge set up very cheaply. It looks great, very alien.

  • zeno666


  • Awesome, big board. Aquarium plants are really easy way to build jungle terrain and bases. I get mine from Aliexpress, just for literrally few bucks you can have whole board!