Terrain Bible

On: 6.17.2009

First draft "Terrain Bible"

Who: Just me for now, for terrain getting built to be used at our current game location.
Why: This document exists to try and allow multiple players in multiple locations to build terrain that will look good together when it is brought to the game area and used.

  • Foundation: 1/4" thickness MDF, Hardy Board, foamcore, or similar material
    Any size Foundation that can be plugged into a 1 foot grid is also fine (2'x2', 1'x3', etc.). However please try and keep it at either 1' or 2' increments so that special shelves are not required. "Preferred" would be either:
    a) - 12" x 12" squares for terrain with features (buildings, craters, area wood, etc.)
    b) - 18" x 24" rectangles for simple "ground" (grass, plains, ashfields, alien soil, etc.). The larger rectangle fits on the shelves best, but please build two at a time plus a 12" x 24" "strip" to allow it to fill the "grid."
    c) - 12" x 24" rectangles for simple "ground" strips to fill out the grid, or for long, odd shaped terrain like trenchline, riverbed, a fortification, etc.
  • Ground level: 1/2" foam glued to Foundation (Lowes or Home Depot DOW R-3.3 Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foam Insulated Sheathing or similar).
    The ground level requirement allows depressed elevation features (craters, river beds, trenches, etc.) to look good along with vertical terrain. When building the ground level, please use the "score and snap" method for cutting to foam to try and keep the edges as crisp as possible.
    3/4" Foam: Dow R4 foam is 3/4" thick. Terrain that is lightweight does not need the foundation layer; R4 can be used, "as is."
  • Maximum Height: 12" (11 1/4" above the Foundation and Ground level).
    To allow the terrain to fit on storage shelves and transport boxes, if you're building taller terrain (Forgeworld factories, Prometheum refinery, etc.) make sure it can be disassembled into 12" high increments.
  • Basic Colors:
    "Grass" - Reaper Pro Paint Olive Green (Part Number 19024: $2.99/bottle)
    The edges of the terrain piece must have a few milimeters of this color so that all the pieces match when set side-by-side. If your terrain would look bad with Olive Green (a rusted Ork fortress surrounded with mud, a city block, etc.), make a larger than 12"x12" Foundation "block" and "fade" your terrain idea out to Olive Green at the edges.
    Foam Sides - Black (any company, basic black paint)
    The edges of the foam at the ground level where one block will meet up with another one, or the sides of hills exposed to the game table edge should be painted black.
  • Flock: None
    To minimize "flock dandruff" in the play area we are using Olive Green paint over foam to represent "grass" and are not flocking the terrain at the edges. If your individual terrain idea would need "flock" feel free to use it, but fade out to Olive Green paint over foam at the edges. Please use a good sealer/adhesive to minimize the flock coming off.
  • Dead Space/Road Width: 3"/6"
    Unless your Terrain piece is intended to block vehicle movement (a large building); please try to leave at least a 3" dead space around your terrain piece. This allows 40k sized vehicles to rumble around on the table in between terrain blocks. If your terrain piece does not make sense to have a 3" dead space, please try and leave a 6" corridor for vehicles to be able to traverse the terrain in some way (preferably from one corner to another corner).
    Scale Roads: For reference, a 40K scale road is 3.5-4" wide for a single lane (3" for the actual lane, the rest for the shoulder and paint, etc.); thus a 2-lane road would be 7-8." A typical 40k table will never have more than one major (two-lane road or more) road because a scale city block would place a road every 11 feet (alleyways between buildings are not roads). A Land Raider with sponsons is roughly 6" wide; the average "civilian passenger vehicle" (i.e. car) would be 2" wide (1 3/4" for a sporty coup to 2 1/4" for a wide "SUV" type).
  • Special Case Terrain
    These are not intended to be hard and fast rules but rather guidelines. By going with a generic "grass surface" we create terrain that is likely to be able to crossover for multiple games (like fantasy battles). However, four specific types of terrain (mainly for 40K) come immediately to mind that might need some comments:
    Road, River, Trenches: Since these enter on one side of a "block" and exit on another, it would be best if these types of terrain are built on 1'x2' rectangles and build at least 2 (so it can at least cross the 4' axis of the game table) plus a compatible 1'x1' "90 degree bend" piece. Modular Compatibility: If River/Road/Trench comes in and goes out of a 12"x12" square in the central 4" area, it is sure to match up with other pieces (divide a 12" span into three equal 4" sections. River/Road/Trench should enter and exit in the center 4" area).
    City Fight: City Fight terrain does not make sense to have Olive Green "grass" around the edges. We will build "transition" terrain that starts with grass and ends with blasted concrete and rubble. Different guidelines will be posted for City Fight blocks when we get to that situation. For inspiration check out this page.

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