Saturday, January 1

Terrain Tutorial: Desert Mesa prep stage.

I know it has been a while since I did anything Hobby related on this blog.  But recently I started building some terrain which will end up being an alien desert-scape.  I based it loosely off my pictures from garden of the gods (Picture above).  Anyhow here is part one in a multi part tutorial on how to make it.

First you need to decide what materials to work with. I know that Styrofoam was going to be the easiest to mould so I called up a couple of Buddies of mine and they gave me a list of materials that I would need to work with the foam.

1. Foam!
  - I know this sounds obvious, but picking your specific kind of foam makes a difference.  My friends and I prefer the Blue Insulation foam that can be found at Home Depot and Lowes.  I bought two pieces and they were about $8 each.

2.  Basing material:
  - I use a particle hard board.  It is really thin and cheap I bought this also at Lowes and an entire 8x4 cost me about $6 (IIRC).  The guys there were nice enough to cut it into 1x1 sheets for me, which saved a ton of time.  Don't get anything really nice like oak or something, it is way too expensive for what your doing.

3. Adhesive:
  - Do not use super glue! Super glue will melt the foam in weird ways, also it is realyl expensive in the amounts you will be using.  I am using wood glue right now and it works great. A good bottle costs $4.

4. Cutting tool:
  - You need a foam cutter! I went to Lowes and they tried to sell me a razor blade, though it is good to have around I would suggest going to Hobby Lobby (or any other craft supply store like Michaels) and getting a Foam cutting tool.  I am using my friends and it is a woodland scenics foam cutter.  This one costs about $30-$40 but you can get cheaper ones for about $20.  long story short, spend the extra amount and get a decent one... I also suggest a handheld one that will allow you some freedom of movement.

All said I think you could buy all the material you need to make about 2 tables worth of terrain for $46.00.  I will post another article soon about actually making the terrain.



  1. Personally I like the hot wires some hobby shops sell for foam cutting. I'm glad you're doing a tutorial on this.

  2. Glad you like it, I should be posting up my second one tomorrow morning sometime. If you have any special kind of terrain tutorial you want to see let me know. I need to make 3 tables of terrain for a tournament Im organizing and I need themes.