Pimpcron: Making DIY Terrain Sucks
Pimpcron wants to hear your thoughts, but has plenty of his own.
Hey readers! Your old pal Pim P. Cron is back with an article on making terrain, or maybe not making terrain.
I Love Terrain!
Pimpcron absolutely loves terrain, and for obvious reasons (since I own a convention) I own a metric ton of it. Shorehammer is my convention and we pride ourselves on having the most scenic, beautiful tables at our event. I feel that terrain really makes or breaks the look and feel of the game, not to mention adding tons of tactical options while playing. Assuming that you’re not playing with grey plastic models, terrain helps immerse yourself in the game and setting. Terrain really is the 3rd player in this game and is the difference between ducking into a bunker or hiding behind a Coke can. Those two things are very different in feel.
Here’s My Problem Though
I hate terrain. No, maybe that came out wrong. I hate painting and making terrain.
Painting and making terrain is my LEAST favorite part of this game and I just don’t feel like it is as rewarding as the other aspects of the hobby. While you actively get to play with models that you built and painted, terrain is just backdrop and you don’t actively get to use it. That makes me feel like creating terrain is a waste of time, even though I know that isn’t really true.
When I first started out with this game I made a lot of my own terrain. Which, come to think of it, would make a good article because some of it was down-right clever. I’ll add that to the list of article ideas. But the main issue with DIY terrain is that it is not durable. You typically make terrain out of things such as pink Styrofoam, or other household materials and the typical player will not go through the extra steps to make it durable. If you keep your terrain at home, it has a better chance of survival but even then it will get damaged over time.
One of our battle mats from Shorehammer. It was a real hit.
Here’s My Solution
After calculating the time and materials needed to make some nice terrain with any amount of durability, I feel like it is a losing battle. Most of us have limited time as it is, and if making terrain is not your favorite thing, then you have to seek other options. Luckily there is a host of companies and independent people that you can buy terrain from. Sites like Etsy and eBay are home to a lot of people who make terrain, but of course your results may vary with quality and value.
It’s probably no surprise to many of you that I am a huge fan of gamemat.eu for game mats, and pre-painted resin terrain. They usually have cheaper versions of their terrain sets that aren’t pre-painted but honestly, it is worth having it already painted. Gamemat.eu has high quality stuff and they are well-known in the industry. Another one of my favorite sites for terrain is terrains4games.com. They have an utterly massive product line of beautiful but more-affordable terrain than most sites. A lot of their stuff is MDF which tends to be more affordable, and you can buy all of their stuff in painted or unpainted. Once again, I always buy it pre-painted because I want to take it out of the box and directly onto my table. My friend Josh recently ordered an entire table’s worth of terrain from them and he will have an instantly-ready table. Just add water! Actually don’t add water. Not a good idea with wargaming terrain.
A pic from one of my recent battles. You see my green play-as Rhino taking cover.
Whether you go with one of those companies or another venue, in mind it is well worth the money to have pre-painted terrain ready for my table. Neither of these companies know that I am talking about them in this article and they have not asked me to say this. They are just my two favorite companies to deal with.
Another thing I feel like I have to admit is that many, many people in our hobby love to make terrain. I think I would probably get some flack for not mentioning this. There are untold numbers of groups on Facebook and elsewhere that people can join to learn tips and tricks of terrain making. I would suggest that everyone at least give terrain-making a try once in their hobby career. It might not be for you like it isn’t for me, or you might just stumble on your favorite part of the hobby. I am part of these groups and they make some breath-taking scenery. I met a friend through Shorehammer named Daniel who can make amazing terrain out of spare junk. So if you have the creativity and some junk, you might just enjoy it.
What Are Your Go-To Terrain Sites? Your Go-To Terrain Groups?
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