Remodeling my terrain boards

08 Feb
Remodeling my terrain boards

While I am generally happy with my terrain (I know it is not the best looking out there but it is highly modular) one think has slightly annoyed me over the past year or so… the ground looks too pristine. Here the grass just looks untouched and even, much like a park. And I wanted to make it look somewhat more rugged. I think you can see what I mean if you take a look at this picture from Crisis 2007:

Here the grass just looks pristine and even, much like a park. And I wanted to make it look somewhat more rugged. So I took an old board that had seen some wear (some impressions) to see what I could do with it. This is what it looked like before I started:



Now like all my boards this was 50cm x 50cm styrofoam, covered with a model railroad staticgrass mat and MDF backing. I began by removing some of the staticgrass by applying small amounts of water to it and scratching it off with a palletknife. I then applied white glue to the bald spots and added sand (to depict bare earth, when painted over) and a burnt grass variety static grass to these spots. Now this is what they looked like after they had dried:



I was not too happy with this step. Even though I had used only minimal amounts of water to remove the original grass, it had soaked into the adjoining areas and turned them a darker colour (odly enough it loks lighter on the photo). Plus the greenish paper from the staticgrass mat would shine through where I had applied new static grass. So when I painted and highlit the sanded areas, I gave the new static grass a drybrush too in hopes it would help the looks… which it did not.



So I gave these areas a second coat of static grass. Which looks better, but still not perfect. What I tried though was just applying a thing coat of deluded white glue over the original mat in one spot and sprinkling some of the burnt variety there (spot marked with an arrow). I think that looks better actually.



The one think I think I am sure about is that the bare earth and burnt grass areas should not touch, or at least not create as large and area as they do here. I also think that the burnt grass looks better in small areas and applied straight to the old grass. What do you think?

Is this worth it or should I leave the boards as they are?

And if I remodel them all… just some grass added to it or bare earth as well?


Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Terrain building


5 responses to “Remodeling my terrain boards

  1. Thomas

    February 8, 2012 at 13:41

    I also remodeled my board some weeks Ago, so I totally understand your problem! I would leave them as they are, with one exception: drybrush the grass more. First, this will cover the change between the grass and the sand, which will look more natural. Second, you can drybrush the whole grass with different colours, so its looks more blurry in the end. That will also add a natural feeling, as the grass itself won’t look so similar everywhere in the end.

  2. John de Terre Neuve

    February 8, 2012 at 14:30


    I too have gone through the exact same process as you. I initially used MDF/Styrofoam/Grass Mat. I tried to dry brush it etc… just could not get it right. I eventually removed the mat (which was the problem), and then painted the styrofoam directly with a dark brown paint and then dusted on a mixed dark green flock from Woodland Scenics, I then progressively added some rubble in patches and then progressively lighter flocks (mixed green brown and then dessert yellow). This is what you see on my blog now. Additionally I cut some water features in using a blow torch, painted the base black and then worked up using a two part clear epoxy as the water. The biggest mistake I made was using 2×4 tiles rather then 2×2, but that is another story.

  3. Burkhard

    February 9, 2012 at 13:10

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    The consensus here on on the poll and some other fora seems to be not to overdo it. I had been thinking about airbrushing it before (instead of drybrushing), but dropped the idea, but I think I will go back to that. Plus I shall add some static grass to the bald patches here to make them look more natural. On another Forum someone mentioned the use of foliage clumps sprinkled over the board… that might be worth a try as well.

    Anyway… will keep you posted!

  4. The Angry Lurker

    February 10, 2012 at 11:41

    I like what you’ve done and it makes a difference for the better in my opinion but I couldn’t do it as a tantrum would develop as I over egged the whole affair but I like the the effect and it’s realism….

  5. Wargamerabbit

    February 12, 2012 at 08:45

    My “mobile” gaming boards are almost 35 years in service. Resurfaced several times. 2x2ft ceiling tiles of the “old school” without beveled edges like the new versions. I think their weight has doubled with the “layers”. Keep in mind any boards will have use and human hands (weight) applied so I would go with basic texture and use the tabletop terrain pieces for the eye candy effect.

    Michael aka WR


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