“Don’t cross the Streams!” Terrain mash time in galaxies far far away….

Big Paul has been knocking together terrain from coke cans and belly button fluff since he could walk.  Terrain is a massive part of the gaming experience in Paul’s eyes, and in his words ‘if the board looks right your game’s gonna be 10 times more enjoyable and memorable’.

With the advent of MDF terrain, 3d printing and companies such as Imperial Terrain, creating a detailed and memorable gaming table is a few purchases and rattle cans away.

Terrain Mash (15)

The following pictures stem from a brief discussion at our local gaming store about how to get some tables put together for Star Wars Legion.  We did some googling and such and up came Imperial Terrain, amongst others.

“THAT’S Star Wars” was the main comment.

Once we took a look at what was being done in 3D print, in particular the Millennium Falcon docked at an Imperial Terrain Spaceport, the sale button was pressed and a 3D printer on the way.

What followed was 2 weeks of frenzied printing and painting.  Paul has been working on a ‘Rebel Scum’ board, which he intends to use with Legion, Necromunda and 40k.  His view is simple; as a gaming group our focus switches from game to game as the months pass, and he wanted a box of terrain he could use whatever the gaming weather that month.

To achieve his unique cross-game setting look, Paul pulled on Imperial Terrain STLs, Mango Terrain Mango-Lite MDF and GW terrain sprues.

The starting point is always the base; Cork tile dinner mats work really well; they’re cheap (raid your car boots), don’t warp, and are about the right size for a good terrain piece.  Or a piece of hardboard, jigsaw cut and sanded edge works just as well.


Note : Based buildings may seem an extravagance, but they store easier, last longer and look much better on the table.


Once that’s set, place your main terrain piece (ie building) and then place supporting components around it to create a scene.  Plenty of scatter is always good; plasticard scraps can work well in most settings.  Old kid’s toys can make amazing set pieces if painted to suit!  After all, all the original Star Wars props are adopted WW2 weapons and such.

Once you’re happy with the layout, stick everything down and ‘base’ the model.  Basic PVA and send job does the trick.  A few rocks from the garden, washed and broken up, add character and a bit of weight to the piece.

Once this is dried, get out the rattle cans!  Black undercoat, hit with red, then green or grey.  Apply as a ‘fog’ from about 2ft away so the layers mix and are semi-transparent with each other.


Once all dried, apply a basic drybrush and weather.

After that add detail to suit; at this point, stuck on posters, old transfers, static grass, hand-painted graffiti etc all add to the piece.  Metallics for exposed metalwork, rust etc. all bring it to life.

Terrain Mash (13)

The beauty of the above technique is that it’ll fit into most game systems, and is relatively quick to get to an end result.  Even working steady away it’s not difficult to put together 1 or 2 of these a week.  Batch work helps a lot when spraying, and there’s nothing stopping you putting the stuff on the table once sprayed till you get it finished!


As well as the games mentioned, the terrain works really well on a larger scale – for instance we have a large 40k Apocalypse game coming up soon, and this will be used to create an industrial hive area on the board.

Main thing to remember is rule of cool and don’t be afraid to try new things.  No matter what happens, a table full of painted and unique scenery is always gonna trump the traditional 8 x grey plastic imperial ruins 😉

Here’s some more pics of the Mash-up scenery 🙂


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