Recycle Your 40k Trash!

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Pimpcron becomes a long-hair this week with his earth-friendly terrain tips.

Hi ya, readers! Your favorite robot Pimpcron is here! We’ve all been there, you buy a lot from eBay of 40k stuff, and when you open the box: there it is. Among all of the stuff you did want, sits some terrible, mangy, mistreated model. I have found that Space Marine Land Speeders are a particularly common species of abused model. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s punishment for being a pain in the butt to glue that hood down during assembly. Have you ever tried assembling a Land Speeder? They are annoyance incarnate. Any-who, you probably just keep this poor malformed model laying around for years on some shelf or in a box and try not to make eye contact with it.

But! That’s Where Captain Planet Comes In!


I was a child during the 90’s and loved me some Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Wheeler was my guy, but admittedly liked Kwame’s power better. And if I learned anything from that show, it’s that hot Russians with wind powers was pretty neat. That, and that we should recycle when we can. I have trouble prioritizing things.

So it doesn’t take much of a creative leap to see that damaged and otherwise unsightly models such as vehicles make awesome terrain!

But Pimpcron, I Can’t Terrain All The Stuffs. I Know Not How

Listen, I am definitely not the world’s best terrain maker and am far from an expert. But just relying on common sense, you can do some pretty sweet stuff and really add personality to your gaming table.

  1. Objectives look better when on a base. Preferably you should use something sturdy and with weight to it like masonite board; but foam board will work too. But foam board tends to warp over time and generally looks less impressive in my opinion.
  2. Look over the damage to the model and decide how that damage could get there through fighting.
  3. Set up the base with terrain or bits that match that.
  4. Spread glue on the base after everything is attached and sprinkle sand on it. Let dry.
  5. If you are going to spray-prime the model, think twice if you used polystyrene pink foam. The acetone used to make it dry quickly will eat your foam pretty badly. One way I get around this, is take brush-on primer or even some cheap paint like poster paint ($1 a bottle) and cover the entire foam piece in that before spray-priming. But be sure to cover it entirely or you may still eat some of your foam. Alternatively, you can buy foam-safe spray primer that won’t eat pink foam. But those spray primers that are foam safe will still eat the blue foam.
  6. Paint as normal and viola! You have a cool objective that adds purpose to your mission.

Here Are Some Of The Objectives I’ve Made

My friend had a Monolith that was missing a panel and some bits, and I bought it for like $5 to make terrain out of. The base for this is actually a canvas board for painting. It’s almost a foot by a foot big. The scene is a treasure hunter found this partially sticking out of the ground, and decided to see what was in it. Scarabs came out and wrecked his face. This monolith is not my Necron color scheme (of purple and gold). One thing that is fun about these projects is that you get to play around with a new color scheme without having to do an entire army in it. You can try to take some time on it and play around with stuff.


This one was one of those aforementioned derelict Land Speeders. The from was all messed up and it was missing a fin on the side. So I covered up the hood by making it smash into a rock! I always make my objectives into dead Ultra Marines because I don’t like them. And look! He was texting and driving with his Auspex! I’m not trying to make a statement, I just thought it was funny. I made this piece before the blood for the blood god technical paint came out. If I ever get back to it, I will add that.

crashed-landspeeder-objective-2 crashed-landspeeder-objective

This was a model that was horribly painted so I put an important data device in his hand that we must retrieve. This also makes a great relic. I don’t play vanilla marines at all, so painting some Ultra Marines for these was pretty fun. My Squat army is play-as Space Wolves and my other marines are Chaos.

dead-space-marine-objective2 dead-space-marine-objective

So What Have You Recycled? Post It In The Comments!


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  • BrotherCaptain

    I really like the idea of this, actually. I have quite a few abused models that I’ve somehow acquired, so might actually give this a go.

    • You should. It is a good feeling when you get a cool terrain piece out of something you probably couldn’t have even sold. Literally trash.

  • sjap98

    Excellent article, as always, Mr. Pimpcron, sir/ ma’am!
    Oh, and “He was texting and driving with his Auspex!”!!!

    • Thank you sjap98, sir/ma’am, human, insectoid mutant. It’s really quite fun to make beat-up objective pieces.

    • Damistar

      I agree, terrain is cooler if it evokes a story. This one is simply awesome!

  • benn grimm

    I always felt sorry for the kid who had ‘heart’ for his power. Whilst his pals are summoning tidal waves, earthquakes, fiery doom and whirlwinds, he occasionally got to fire off some lame pink beam that caused grizzly bears to become slightly less grizzly.

    Oh yeah, recycling…well, I’ve been using the genestealers I got with ‘hulk for 40k, not sure if that counts tbh…

    • Coltcabunny

      Heart was effectively mind control. The kid just didn’t use it properly.

      • euansmith

        Maybe it is time for a grim and gritty reimagining movie; with Heart as the villain?

      • rtheom

        Not only that, but mind control for animals. There really isn’t much more potential for badassery than that. Sure, you can make a big wave of lava, but I can make a thousand eagles pick you up and drop you into the mouth of a hundred great whites!

  • Deacon Ix
  • euansmith

    Great stuff, as usual. I really like the posing on the “relic’s” corpse.

  • Don’t text and drive land speeders

  • zeno666

    I found some use for old 40k models such as terminators, Mephisto and other crap.
    I glue them inside hollow terrain at the bottom to act as weight!

    • Aezeal

      Come on…. just paint them and put them in a display case you heretic.

      • zeno666

        That case is where I put nice looking miniatures.
        Not boring outdated ones.

  • Diagoras

    That land speeder is the single greatest piece of terrain I have ever seen. The monolith is also beautiful, but it doesn’t have the humor or the dead Ultramarine.

    Am I biased? Yes.

    F**k Ultramarines.

    • Thanks! And I, for one, hate Smurfs too.

  • petrow84

    I pushed a monolith’s edge and a few scarabs into sand, and filled it with PUR sealing foam – got the details just nice enough to make a terrain piece out of them, like remnants of a sunken tomb world..

    • Ooh! Nice touch. Pics?

      • petrow84

        Try to grab some on Monday – it is in our gaming club.

      • petrow84

        Just came into my mind that commenting will likely to be closed on Monday, so tried to cut out from a fairly old photo. The hill in the middle contains the small raised areas on the top of the lith, as well as a side of it, plus several scarabs. The small hill in the back is the lower edge of the mono.
        Sorry about the quality, this one is more than 5years old.

        • Oh, I see it! That is a great way to really get the most out of your trash model! Good job.

  • Davis Centis

    I “recycled” old Guardsmen into Genestealer Cultists! MWAHAHAHA!

  • CthulhuDawg

    I’ve been building my wife’s Necrons for awhile now, she likes the game but does not like the hobby aspect. Every box of warriors comes with 12, I’ve been swiping 2 out of each box and smashing them into Deathwatch bases. It also is nice because first I use them as test models for new metallic paint schemes, by the end they already looked pretty jacked up and I just have to smash them apart and spread their pieces around. Necron hands clutching out of the dirt all zombie style is my favorite so far. Great article pimp.

    • Thanks! And I love that you’re using the extra Crons as basing material. Good idea!

  • CatachanCommissar

    Love the Monolith, I love terrain that tells a story. That’s why dioramas are so cool to me.

  • Emprah

    I did use a few spare arms as chopped off body parts for hero bases.

    This is a good idea, but remember folks, marine blood dries almost instantly so you need to be careful with the blood splatter.

    • I guess my guy was on blood thinners. 😀

  • Graham Bartram

    Ebay is great for tanks so badly painted and glued together that no one bids against you and you get them dirt cheap. They may be too rough for proper army use but it’s easy to make 1 or 2 great “wrecked” vehicles out of them. For a super fast paint job if time is short, spray black, dry brush grey, then a little white on the edges, then tint with inks. The result is good enough to get gaming with and serves well as an under-painting if you want to revisit the model later.
    I’ve made a lot of scenery, and to be honest, it’s one of my favourite parts of the hobby.

  • Damistar

    I have a Forgeworld Reaver Titan that I’ve been stuck on the base for awhile now. I’d love to do it as a diorama with a an imperial Guard vs Chaos firefight going on around (or under) the uncaring Titan’s feet. My concern is that in a game players might ask about the moving buildings or LOS issues.

    • Graham Bartram


      • Muninwing

        you could do them on plastic plates that magneted to the base, with alternate plates for actual play that were less busy.

        do a layer of cork or the like, then cut specific shapes into them. use plasticard or something more rigid as a substrate, with more cork or the like on top, for the interior of the shapes. then cut another identical shape out and mount that on the same kind of plasticard. then put magnets in the original base, match the magnets with both of the inserts, and do each one differently — one with the war going on underfoot, the other with plain terrain.

        then you have a display model that quickly adapts to play without distraction.

  • rtheom

    These are some really cool ideas. It’s the sort of thing that I always want to do, but I can never bring myself to ruin one of the model’s I’ve painted, no matter how bad it is. However, your idea of picking up junk from friends… that’s something I hadn’t considered before…

    • Thanks! And they already come battle damaged!