Terrain Pieces

Posted on April 7, 2015


I recently read over DBA 3.0 and am quietly satisfied to find that there are more types of terrain, and they make more sense.

Whenever I build a terrain piece I’m trying to straddle at least two mounts. And since I now own the start of a 15mm army (albeit still in packs and without bases) at least three mounts. I want to be able to use the same items for 28mm HoTT, 1:72nd DBA, and any other near size and rules. Sometimes it’s as simple as that a small hill for 28mm is a medium hill for 1:72nd. For buildings, the rule of thumb is to step down at least one scale from the mini scale.

So last weekend, while more able members of the wargames community were building a vast 1:35th scale Gallipoli terrain out in Miramar, I decided to turn the various resin buildings I have into BUA villages and hamlets.

The buildings are purchased from $2 shops and the like. They are roughly N gauge but with enough inattention to strict scale that makes them appear slightly fantastical. In other words they will work for 1:72nd, and to some extent with 28mm, but will look too big (being exactly to scale) for 15mm.

In DBA 3.0 terms, all of them are simple rough ground terrain pieces. This is a departure from 2.x and a good one. Now you can place an appropriate village on your board, without needing to worry about its defensive qualities or garrisons.

The method I struck upon is to take 5mm foamcore, stencil the building shapes on it, cut each shape out completely, stick the foamcore to 5mm cork tile, then stick the building into the stenciled shape. A slightly thinner foamcore might have been better, but it is about right for most buildings. The church alone sticks up well above the level surrounds, as it has an extra base.

village + farmhouse

Once stuck down (I used liquid nails, which is powerful and messy) the foamcore can be re-surfaced with trusty latex grouting in some appropriate colour. I’m a big fan of grouting agent, since it locks 1:72nd soft plastic minis onto solid bases, and I have three colours. Then that can be textured a bit (stippling with a brush works well) and the result painted when damp or dry.


The final piece I worked on is a farmhouse, which I sized to match the main hamlet, as it’s modeled in the same style. Put together the two still conform to DBA requirements in 1:72nd scale, and will look like a full village with squire’s house at one end and church at the other. On a fair-size base, there’s room for a ‘garden’ where I may put an orchard or just leave fallow.

farm house

I also used two of the cut-outs to make little copses of trees. These are commercial flocked-Yarrow creations. It was just a process of spiking trees into the foamcore, then trowelling latex around them to make root-like support, and stick the dried result onto cork tile, and painting the base.

small woods stands