Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Operation Tuckborough Update: Trees!

Hey Reader!

First of all, I hope that your Thanksgiving was amazing!  Over the course of the extended weekend I was hard at work with a bread knife, but not because I was baking (we'll, I was baking for the holiday, but the bread knife had nothing to do with it - I'll explain in a bit), and after a few grueling weeks at work and finally having time to upload this, I wanted to give you all an update from the weekend on Operation Tuckborough, which is my Shire board for the TMAT GT IV this March.

Per interesting circumstances surrounding the tournament last year my army, the Waistcoat Brigade (Shire LOME List, which you can find here), dropped from the tournament, and for the GT this year I am bringing more or less the same army (more on that in a future post), and will also be bringing my Shire board to the tournament to accompany them.  To add a bit more flair to the board though I decided to include my first foray into the realm of trees and woodland terrain, and today's post covers the creation of two new pieces of woodland terrain for the board.

Before launching into the step-by-step process, it is worth noting that I followed the ideas laid out by Dan at Mini War Gaming, and I highly recommend their video series on terrain building.  Really good ideas on what tools to use, techniques to provide added stability and longevity to your terrain, and just all-around good ideas, :)  So, with no further ado, let's make some terrain!

STEP 1: Cut the Styrofoam

Mini War Gaming personally recommend against using the granulated styrofoam when making terrain, and I agree as a general rule - I happened to have granulated styrofoam lying around (which I'm trying to use up so that I can clean out closet space and workstation space), so I'm using granulated styrofoam in mine.  My hope is to build two modular pieces of terrain, so I'll need bases for them.

I'm just using a $6 bread knife for cutting throughout this post; you
don't need anything special to cut styrofoam.  So get a cheap one.
Because I didn't want the bases for our pieces today to be that wide, we'll only be working with the right piece, and we'll slice that in two for our first base plates:

Major thanks for the random Uruk shaman and wood chip (that
will soon become a rock) for showing scale of size today!
So with that we've got our two bases; I made the plates about the same size, though we'll be cutting these down, and they'll likely be different sizes when we're done.

STEP 2: Trace the Base

I use a simple Sharpie pen for this - don't need anything too fancy, just something that will leave a large enough mark for you to clearly cut along the line.

STEP 3: Trace the Top

Now that we've got the base we'll trace a smaller section near the top and cut along it to create more of a slope (which will be shaved into a bit come the actual cutting, but that's okay), like so:

Nothing too earthshaking here: cut out what you want, chuck the rest.  Alternatively, you can take remnant pieces and use them for additional rock pieces, rubble and the like, so worth thinking about, :)  This is a bit easier to do with the non-granulated "sheet" styrofoam, but you can do it with either.  End result will look like this:

Starting to look like a hill already.

STEP 4: Apply Plaster/Wall Putty

Paint and glue doesn't apply well to styrofoam, so I like adding wall plaster or putty to the foam to give a more solid, rigid feel.  It also means that if you don't get all of the ridges out you'll have an uneven looking terrain which will be mostly hidden by the flock and fake grass later, giving it a bit more character.  Quickly apply, and let dry:

Once dry, glue down trees.  Some people prefer to sand it down first and then apply the trees; I tend to avoid sanding until I have the trees down purely because the sanding grains can latch onto the glue, making the bond between the actual terrain piece and the tree base weaker (and greater chance it pops off), but that's a matter of personal preference.  When you're done it will look like this:

I also took the opportunity to glue down the wood chip as well (which we will be turning into a large rock shortly).  And with that, we're ready for the final step!

STEP 5: Sand, Flock, and Paint

While painting is not usually necessary on terrain projects, it became necessary for this one because we're trying to convert the wood chip.  I used a Mechanicus Standard Gray (base coat from Citadel Paints) for my rock, 1) because it's a good looking gray for terrain, 2) because I have a lot of it lying around, and 3) because it's a base coat as opposed to a layer coat or a dry coat, so it applies thicker and will hold its color better.  Final product looks like this:

And with that, we're good for Phase 1!  I'll be adding some rocks and do some touch-up to the flocking, but otherwise these pieces are basically good to go!  Should provide some "in the way" options for soldiers, some modular woodland terrain, and we've still got half of the original base plate remaining (which I hope to get underway if not completed this weekend).  Full update on Operation Tuckborough hopefully coming out after that, probably at the turn of the year.

So anyway, that's what we've been up to, :)  Doing some touch up work to a number of miniatures (and painting up some new guys - hopefully there will be a post soon on those guys), and we'll keep you all posted!  I'm also hoping to get in some games against Tiberius, especially testing out his dragon armies, so keep watching this space as we head into the Christmas Season!  Until then, you'll know where to find me,

May your days be merry and bright,


"The world was never right unless a Son of Adam was on the throne." ~ Trufflehunter, Prince Caspian


  1. nice work Glenstorm. Makes me want to get out some of my terrain stuff again. where did you get the trees?

  2. I actually bought them at Hobby Lobby (really random adventure, tons of fun, ended in a cookies-n-creme milkshake at Chick-Fil-A, so can't argue with it), where I got 4 trees/$10, so not too shabby. I ended up liking them so much (detachable from the bases, bases were easy to glue down) that I went out and bought some more for the next piece I'll be working on. They come in different colors, and work really well - I highly recommend them.