Terrain upgrade

February 27, 2019

Like many other hobbyists (I assume), I have terrain pieces amassed through the years. After showing some old green hills in my previous post, I figured there might still be some use left in them. While I claimed they were from the 1990s, thinking back I’m fairly sure they’re mid-2000s as I remember us making them in my current apartment, so 10+ years old at least.

Click for a larger version

Now, when these were built, we prized durability a lot. The hills were carved from blue foam and then covered with a pva/sand mix. A phrase from an old White Dwarf sums it up: “In the morning you’ll need dynamite to shift it.” Of course the sand we used was a very cheap one, so it’s coarse as anything (and I’ve still got about 5-6 kg of it down in the basement). This in turn led to the hills (and the gaming boards built in the same manner) being terribly miniature-unfriendly. Basically, if you knocked a metal mini over, it was almost certain to chip. Good times!

Click for a larger version

I was already contemplating throwing the hills away, but as they already existed, I started thinking that they could be revived and actually put back to use. Out came the craft store acrylics, the static grass and the tufts, as well as some coffee stirrers, tea leaves and some sunken resin barrels and what do you know, they actually turned out pretty nice! The static grass helps with the aforementioned chipping issue too.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

They can be used either as table edge pieces or put together to make a larger island. Painting them as islands obviously limits them to more nautical games, but I’m fairly certain I’ll have some of those with my lovely new ocean mat.

Click for a larger version

Here’s what they look like with scenery items and miniatures placed on the pieces.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I think it looks mighty nice! Finally, a before and after shot:

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Sorry for the slightly overexposed quality of the photos, the pieces are so large that I had to rely on daylight rather than my usual lighting – and to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered to tweak camera settings.



  1. Nice rescue. I like to do the same where possible. It really burns to throw something away!

    • Indeed! An ecological thing too, it’s nice whenever something old can be re-used rather than getting chucked in the bin.

  2. They look superb mate – much better than they were of course, but so perfect with your new mat!

    • Thanks Alex! Agree on the fit, makes me want to get an actual game on.

  3. Nice work- it’s always good to see a rescue job done on terrain.



    • Thanks Pete! It was a fun, quick project!

  4. That’s a great transformation! They look really good, I’m impressed!

  5. Great improvement but good to recycle. Well done

    • Much thanks IRO!

  6. Some smart recycling there Mikko, good job.

    • Cheers Paul! Wonder if there’s more stuff I should recycle in those boxes. Answer is likely yes.

  7. Good work there, Mikko.

    • Thanks, appreciate it!

  8. That is a nice idea! Nice that you can have it as one big island or 2 smaller portions of islands:)

    • Cheers! It’s nice to have some options, although the construction obviously means that they need to be used on table edges if they’re separate.

      • True but you can make smaller ones that are full that could be good for Archipelago’s 😉

  9. Nice work Mikko

    • Thank you Mark!

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