Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Plains War Terrain


I had someone ask me about how I make my Plains War terrain. After reviewing several books and looking at online photos of the plains battlefields you see a lot of open ground, some clumps of trees, buttes, and gullies.

Terrain is very important to me when I'm gaming, so I went to work on making some hills\buttes\gullies, etc.

To make the larger hills I carved them out of 3" thick pink insulation foam I bought at Home Depot (4'x8' sections). The board is pre-scored so that you can break them into 2'x4' pieces for easier transport. I use the Foam Factory foam cutters to make my hills.

I made the slopes of the hills fairly steep, but smooth enough to place figures on them without them falling over.

Some hills are flush with the sides of the table so they are flat on one edge. Others go into a corner and have two flat edges, while others can go anywhere on the table.

I made smaller 1" hills (gentle, rolling hills) by cutting the 3" in half along the length of the foam like cutting a bagel in half.

This allows me to make very large layouts with larger hills, and smoother hills.

After I layout the hills to my liking, I then cover them with my 6"x16" flet cloth. I use pins to hold the cloth down to the hills. I like to set it up a day or two before the game to let the felt relax onto the hills and gives a smoother look.

The cloth is just covered in static grass, flocking, and balast of different shades and coarseness. I eventually want to glue this turf down so I get a more consistant and permanent look, but haven't gotten around to that large project.

Here is the battlefield for our next Campaign Battle (Battle of Fox River) which will be played out on Wednesday.

Village with small pony herd near the Fox River:

Close-up of the village, but I don't have any villagers painted yet so warriors will be used in place of them for the game:

I think the outcome looks really great for Plains warfare, and I can still use the felt for any other game period. Hills also work for other periods without many issues.

If you have any questions please ask.


  1. Your table looks really good!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Looks great. How do you recover the flock and ballast after the game. I've heard hand-held vac, but how do you sort out colours of flock and ballast for next time?

  3. Actually, I don't bother recovering the ballast\flocking. I just carefully fold the felt so that it all remains inside. When I open it back up I use a ruler to spread it out again.

    After that I go around and sprinkle a little more flocking in certain parts.

    Eventually I would like to glue it all down, but that is going to be a big project for a 16' x 6' felt cloth. :-)