Making Area Terrain Tiles

Seventh edition effectively eliminated area terrain as a cover save factor, but  these multipurpose terrain pieces still have utility to designate forests, light wood and  rough going. We picked up a box of Gale Force 9 Large Summer Wood, and were pleasantly surprised with the quality. These also remind us of the old Citadel woods GW sold, back in the day. The price was about right for the quality of the trees, but you might do much better at an art supplier if the timing is right.

Large Summer Wood from GF9  GF9_large_summer_trees-front

I liked the amoeba shaped bases, so to keep my terrain board consistent, We made several more shaped and sized to match. The round shapes will be easier on the eyes, with the soft edges blending in together. Below are some of the useful tools to use in addition to a power saw.


One of the things about working with medium density fiberboard (MDF) is that it will curl or warp over time if not properly prepared. Whatever methods you use to prepare the top, it’s best to use the same steps on the bottom. I like to use white glue for flocking so first we’ll coat the bottom of all the tiles with watered down white glue and let it dry for an hour.  Next we’ll glue and flock the top with sand.

area-terrain_glue_back2  area-terrain_flocked

Then let it dry thoroughly overnight.

area-terrain_paint_back   area-terrain_painted

In the morning, paint the front and back with black latex paint, or spray with your preferred black primer. It should be well dried by the time you’re home from work (or school). We were making these over the winter so we brushed the paint, rather than stinking up the house with a spray primer. Finally paint with shades of gray, broken up with browns and static grass. It makes a nice looking bits of tundra and can double for other seasons easily depending on the types of trees you use. Pine trees will make it look more like northern mountains. Check out the Interlocking Tiles we use for the board and our hedges.

Update on Progress July, 2015

Work has finally tapered to a reasonable pace so we’re back to adding more pieces to fill out the board. We plan on using 4′ x 6′ of gaming area so we want about 6 pieces that are about 12″ square. We picked up some more hardboard as they call it in the UK. It’s the Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) at about 3/16″ thickness with a rough side and smooth side. We cut out three additional pieces per “amoeba” we already made. These will be about the standard sizes and shapes to make up other pieces such as buildings, rock formations etc.


We were travelling in Europe (The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo) and of course had to check out the hobby shops in the area. We found some great bottlebrush type trees by a German model railroad supplier. The package contains 25 trees for 17 euro (about $18 us). The quality is very good and the pack has both pines and deciduous.

Area_Terrain_Trees_by_Noch(2) Area_Terrain_Trees_by_Noch

Meadow or Spring Forest

12″ x 12″ rough going

12″ x 12″ meadow

And here is the gaming table so far. Each ‘2 x 2’ section now has a set of terrain tiles. We’ll be adding more complex pieces throughout the summer. Next up will be a fueling station and some barbed wire entanglements to begin “Port Grimrekkah.” We’ll also base the new trees as we go.


Here are links to our other terrain threads:

Categories: Terrain

2 replies »

    • Hi Jim,
      Thanks very much for your note and your kind comment. We called it masonite too, but the term seems to be used less frequently now. The local building suppliers (Lowes and Home Depot) list the stuff as MDF. Masonite is now a brand name for doors and windows. Cheers.


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