Build Better Warhammer Terrain!

Building and painting Warhammer terrain is almost a different hobby by itself.  Make child’s play out of it with just a little planning!

This past weekend, we set out to revamp the club’s Warhammer terrain collection and lay the groundwork for some of the terrain to be used in future events.

I was fully expecting two or three volunteers, and ended up with around ten throughout the day.

Terrain is tricky, because it is almost a hobby in itself.  The building is different, the painting is different, and what you need is also very different.

Here’s how we broke down our Warhammer terrain building day.

1- Goal

This step is quite important,  because it will shape up the rest of the work.

Rather than aimlessly working at a building and finding yourself at the end of the day with not much accomplished, you want to work towards something.

Everyone’s endeavour will be different, from revamping your own table to building four table’s worth of WTC-style tables.  So be clear with what it is you are trying to accomplish.

For our weekend, the first goal was to tally up all the terrain that was available.  Then, break it off into as many complete tables as possible.  Lastly, focus on the tables closest to completion first.

Whatever your goal may be, don’t be afraid to shoot for something big, you will be surprised how quickly you can get through this with a  clear plan.

2- Sort

Now that we have a goal, we need to know what we have and what we need to get there.

Sorting out is important not only in terms of terrain, but also supplies.  The larger your terrain project, the more value you get out of this step.  This allows us to be ready and not waste time, as it can (and should) be done ahead of time.


Sort out what pieces you have, and compare with your goal in where they fit in.

You can be flexible with your goal based on your collection.  For example, you planned on having forests on your table, but you found containers in a box The exact nature of the table changes, but the goal remains.

The other part is what can you scavenge around the house to build terrain, if you are not buying and/or 3D printing all of it.  And even if you are, add those to your print queue or shopping list.


This is the most important one to figure out before hand.  Again, depending on your goal and current collection of hobby supplies will differ.

Here are the most common things:

Large Brushes (almost disposable ones)

Dollar Store Paint

Builder’s or PVA Glue

Basing Sand

Turf (in large quantities)

Hot Glue

In our case, I was taken back by how many folks turned up at the event, so I lost some valuable time having to go out and get more for everyone.

3- Plan

Once everything is sorted out and the endgame is clear, you can design a step by step plan of everything you need to accomplish.

If you only have one table, this will be quite straightforward.  Planning does help put the steps in a more practical order.

If you are working on multiple table’s worth, planning is that much more important, because it allows you to tackle more things at once without sacrificing efficiency.

Plan your work; work your plan!

Because our goal was to finish the tables closest to completion first, those tasks were given the highest priority on our list.

For our ‘city’ tables, we needed to fix most terrain.  We made sure to build and glue everything in the morning so the glue dries during lunchtime, allowing us to paint everything in the afternoon.  A good example of why planning ahead is important.

Your plan is really to layer steps that need to be done before others, like primer, or to allow for time to dry, like glue.

4- Git’er Done!

This step is pretty self explanatory – you have a plan, it’s time to work it.

Be sure to check with said plan every so often to keep everything on track and adjust if need be.  This is most important the more people are working with you on your Warhammer terrain building day!

5- Storage

This is probably the most crucial and underrated part.  You need some sort of storage solution.

Even if you only have one table that is going to be permanent, storage will be required at some point for some if not all pieces.  The game changes, you might build some more… life happens.

It’s also great for protection, it allows your tables to last longer without needing repairs.

I really like bankers boxes, because you they take less space unassembled when you don’t need them and are pretty sturdy overall.  Also, each one can carry a table’s worth usually.

Because our undertaking was too massive to complete in a day, we not only labeled the boxes with their content, but also their stage of completion.    We added little notes like ‘Incomplete’ or ‘Missing XYZ’ for whatever was needed.

This step is quite important because it sets the stage for the next time you want to tackle terrain, wether it’s tomorrow or in 6 months, most of the 3 steps are taken care of by your carefully labeled terrain box.

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