The Great 40k Terrain Challenge 10: Platforms

TheGaffer has been off-line for quite a while working, drum majoring, working, bagpiping, and working. It’s been quite a long time since  we’ve had an opportunity to play regularly, build terrain, or post to our blog. Freshly returned from Historicon, we’re jumping back in. Also, stepping down as drum major and having my work colleague back from extended leave helps immensely!

Because of the limited time available, we’ve pretty much stuck with Armageddon: Shadow War. For you Kill Team fans, this is probably more generic and not quite as bloody in comparison. We understand it’s based on the original Necromunda Rules from way-back and is perfect for us to use as Skirmish rules.

So. On to the next terrain project!

While TheGM’s focus is flocked-foam-board-insulation in various iterations, we’re holding steady in using the foam, shop-floor mat available at Lowe’s.

Here’s a picture of the basic mat we’ve used in my game room the past few years. It’s just out of the package with some gray spray-painted in random blobs to give it some depth. Being a flooring material it has held up very well, and has required no maintenance.


Here’s a close up of the pattern with some of our industrial pieces and an orky Aegis Line.


We enjoy building industrial terrain most, so the Shadow War underhive battleboard concept really appeals. We’ve not had time to build some specialized terrain to suggest a subway, underground, so it’s time to build some basic pieces.

I like the Frostgrave concept of terrain and this is the idea for what we’ve got in mind for our table. We just want it to look high-tech or industrial.


Experiments with granny grating on foam board, foam board with tiles carved into it, Hirst Blocks, and various MDA shapes resulted in disappointment and some frustration.



The other night at about 2am, I had an “ah-ha!” moment which resulted in some tossing and turning, a pissed off wife, and a cat sitting on my chest growling at me. So, to return a sense of serenity to the bed room, we decided the most reasonable course of action was to just get up and do some terrain building…at 2am…on a Tuesday…with a meeting at 8am.

Yep, that was completely rational decision making on my part. Just had to satisfy this addiction…I mean HOBBY. Yes that’s what it is, a HOBBY! There’s no mental illness involved here. Building miniature terrain at 2am is perfectly normal. Just ask any HO scale railroad hobbyist widow.

The technique in arranging any sort of display is the composition and color. If you have too many colors, it gets too busy and you really don’t see anything except blurred shapes. Too many different shapes, and the eye becomes confused. Likewise with textures. To have a good looking board there needs to be underlying consistency in those above mentioned areas.

So after much time spent trying to come up with shapes and floor patterns, the obvious solution hit me. Use the standard size/shapes of our Hirst Blocks SciFi corridors.


Standard size corridor bases

We decided we want to stay with this convention. That way the corridors will also tie the table together if we decide to use them.


And here are a couple of the 6″ x 9″ basic shapes we will use to make platforms.Hirst_Corridor3

We’re thinking that 6″ x 9″, 6″ x 4″, 9″ x 9″ and 12″ x 12″ will stack nicely and give us a lot of options. You can see our first attempt at cutting the flooring. It cut well with a disposable box cutter. Use slow shallow cuts, over and over, to stay within the cut and to avoid a rough edge.

We were thinking of painting the sides black with black crochet grating, but after experimenting with it, we decided to go with gray. We base coated with black latex paint and then medium gray over it to match the floor mat.


I had a 90 degree angle piece left over from cutting the 6″ x 9″s. I was just going to trash it but then realized it would make a good walkway. We then started thinking about steps and stairs. Sometimes serendipitous solutions to challenges present themselves. As we cut off the puzzle-piece joins, we realized with a little imagination, the nubs would make good steps.



Shadow_War_Terrain_Steps2 We’ve Wetrimmed down the nubs and cut a 5/8″ piece of foam-core board to use as a base for the steps. Craft tacky-glue should hold it together. So here’s the test piece. We’ll need to clean up the cuts, and think about a stair rail. Maybe we’ll add landings every two inches of vertical.  Shadow_war_terrain_steps4




It’s been a bit more challenging than I thought. Cutting level vertical foam board with a hobby knife is tougher than you think. I’ll have to revisit these someday, when I do them again. Still, we won’t win any awards, but this was a useful test exercise and the results are fine for table top play. Here is the finished result on a small area. We’ll post some more photos in the next game.


So yay! We’ll call this project a wrap, and add a few more pieces as time permits.

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