Layered (stepped) hill

2016-09-03 Khaiell

There is a fine balance in making a tabletop hill the right mix of a gaming token, a unit display stand and an eye-candy. When you let it slide in one of the directions it will lose its unique capabilities of elevating your wargaming experience to the next (excuse the pun) layer.

More tagged: hill · layers · textured paste
A dwarf army set up on hills

So what makes a hill a good one?

  • It is system independent and feels at home both in fantasy, horror and SF settings
  • It does not strike you in the head with it’s scale and can be used both in heroic 28mm world and the mass tank combat world of 15mm
  • It has several layers so that they both let you set miniatures spectacularly as if for a photo shoot and give the hill a more natural look — not like a cow-pie flat sheet that cries „I’m an ugly gaming token”
  • It has some decorations, just like real mountains: nice, big rocks, streams, lichen &c.
  • Despite the decorations it is flat enough for miniatures to stand safely and neatly in rows. In practice this means at least 40mm difference between layers as you will lose ca. 15mm for layer slope and its finish leaving you just 25mm (1”) for models
  • To hide the artificial layers the hill is finished in different colors (like green grass, orange lichen and gray rocks) serving as a camouflage for its real shape

What are my hills made of?

  • A plan! I started by drawing my hill and its layers on paper to make sure they keep the 40mm distance (see above) and look good overall
  • Corrugated cardboard for its base
  • 20mm width Styrofoam sheet (extruded or expanded polystyrene foam — I had some lying around left over from real world house insulation works); cut into rounded shapes of the layers with very steep but not quite perpendicular slopes
  • Wall filler/spackling paste/texture paste — to cover and strengthen the ugly and brittle texture of cut Styrofoam
  • Static grass, pebbles, white glue and paint for the finish

Enjoy!

See the pictures as separate pages: A dwarf army set up on hills * The dwarf lord likes to be on the very top of things * Dwarf thane and mine cart unit fillers with a wounded dwarf and a monkey on a beer barrel * Bronze Gryphons' Last Stand * This hill is mine! -- Space Marine Chaplain * …more

You may also find these interesting:
These are the most common types of walls. Should you paint them with a textured paint? Use a texture paste? Or maybe just paint the surface using stippling? »
General Tips 20-08-2014 Khaiell
Picturesque sludge canals or deadly streams are easy to make if you have the right glue. Designing their shapes and placing them is a captivating puzzle game on its own as a bonus »
How to build terrain 12-06-2011 Khaiell