Miniature terrain: photo tutorial for three-hour forests, part II

This is the second in a series of posts on how to create copses of forest terrain for D&D or miniature wargames. The first post in this series can be found here.

Step 7. Drybrushing.

To give the appearance of greater contrast and depth to the ground surface, drybrush a coat of tan paint across the high points of the irregularities made by the sand. You can also highlight individual rocks with different colors of paint.

Step 8.  Static Grass.

This step is completely optional, but it can make your ground cover look more realistic (and less boring). With a 1:1 solution of white PVA glue and water paint out some areas that would make for good grass patches. Sprinkle some static grass on the glue and tap off the excess.

Step 9.  Grass Flock.

Another completely optional step, but it does add character. With all of the irregularities in the sand, there are sure to be low spots that would be ideal for moss; if you put green “grass” flocking next to static grass, the flock looks like moss. We’ll put the “moss” where it seems to make sense.

Step 10.  Attach the Trees.

The last step is to attach the trees back to their bases. To help smooth the transitions between tree and base, I glued some moss growing up the tree trunks.

Here is the finished product:


Miniature terrain: photo tutorial for three-hour forests, part I

For many Dungeons & Dragons players, making miniature terrain is as satisfying a hobby as painting miniatures. Unfortunately, time constraints and/or the belief that it takes some sort of master craftsman to produce terrain pieces often leads to many Dungeon Masters and players not even attempting such projects. Fortunately, making terrain doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming; these copses were made in about three hours, including drying time.

This posting details a method for producing copses of deciduous trees in 28 mm scale, ideal for outdoor D&D encounters or for other miniature games in that scale. I remember reading much of what follows in a tutorial on a wargaming or model railroading site, and I apologize for not bookmarking the site to give credit to those responsible for this post’s inspiration.

You’ll note that two terrain pieces are being made for this tutorial. I always produce two of every project I undertake, since doing so doubles my experience and also provides a bit of insurance in case I make an irreparable error – making two increases the odds of making at least one successful project.

Materials Needed:

  • An old compact disc
  • White (PVA) glue
  • “Super” (CA) glue
  • Sand or model railroad ballast
  • Matte black, white or gray spraypaint or primer
  • Brown and tan acrylic craft paint
  • Wire tree armatures (we’ll use Woodland Scenics brand for this tutorial)
  • Clump foliage (either store-bought or improvised from green scrubbing pads or sponges)

Optional Materials:

  • Static grass
  • Rocks or gravel
  • Ground flock

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