Bases for terrain elements

2011-06-13 Khaiell

A how-to guide simply on making flat cardboard bases? Oh yes! There are some serious pitfalls and easy wins in this. For most "area terrain" like woods or marsh a base is basically the whole thing anyway

Picture described below
A simple terrain base made of cardboard
A sandwich of two perpendicular cardboardsPreparing basesUnfinished terrain baseFighting over the objective marker: an arc with ashes of an Imperial hero

A terrain base must be rigid, light and thin. The best material satisfying these conditions is foamcore used by professional architects. Thin MDF board is a treat for serious projects and there is also a material particularly pleasant for the touch: plywood.

However for most projects simple corrugated cardboard is enough. This is the thing used for most packaging. It is versatile, effectively free and easy to cut. Ikea boxes are particularly useful as they have the right thickness, are quite large and you get them quite clean without any sticky tape or lamination.

You can make the cardboard extra strong by glueing two layers of it in such a way that their corrugations are perpendicular.

To make a base of a cardboard box, you have to:

1. Lay it flat on the floor

2. Mark the desired shape with a pencil

3. Lift the board (not to damage the floor) and cut the shape out using a sharp knife

4. Stick some masking tape around the edges to hide the corrugation. A painting/masking tape is the thin sticky paper tape used to protect windows' glass and the like from spills of paint. Available in all shapes and sizes from any DIY store

5. Paint the base using an enamel paint

Try to avoid using water-based paints (like acrylic) or water based glue (like PVA) on a cardboard base
— you will warp it. more about warping cardboard and what glue to use

Personally, I paint all my terrain bases to look like muddy, trampled grass. see how I do it

See the pictures as separate pages: A simple terrain base made of cardboard * A sandwich of two perpendicular cardboards * Preparing bases * Unfinished terrain base * Fighting over the objective marker: an arc with ashes of an Imperial hero

You may also find these interesting:
Most of the miniatures, be it plastic, resin or metal, come with flat gun points with no hole. You can easily fix that with the right tools. And the Citadel Hobby Drill is not enough. »
Modelling 01-09-2017 Khaiell
One of my most popular tutorial - about building a hill - just got even better with a new photo shoot. Enjoy! »
News 02-06-2017 Khaiell
On our YouTube channel...
Today I will show you a modelling project: how to multiply the Beasts of Nurgle. Although it will surely save you some penny, the main goal of this project is to add variety to your horde of living poo.  »
YouTube 23-03-2018 https://youtu.be/_-NeJomfEh0
How to kitbash the old and the new Citadel industrial "Sector Imperialis" terrain to make the elements look cohesive. And how to make them pipes actually connect afterwards despite the conversions. »
YouTube 02-02-2018 https://youtu.be/gkZMRsakhVk