Warhammer 40K Terrain: Cracked Aquila





Introduction: Warhammer 40K Terrain: Cracked Aquila

About: I am a student in Seattle, WA My Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/blog/weeklyclaypokemon

What do you guys think, is there much interest in this kind of stuff on instructables? i.e. would documenting more terrain pieces of mine be useful to others?

The Aquila is the symbol of the imperial guard army in the game Warhammer 40K.   I saw a piece of terrain on the Games Workshop website. I really liked the cracked aquila on the ground and thought it looked pretty simple and id try to make one myself. In game this piece would just act as difficult terrain. 

The model is supposed to look like an imperial guard sculpture that fell over or off of a building and broke on the ground. It took about 6 hours to make over three days. It is a very cheap piece of terrain to build. Its just mat board, clay, sand , and paint.

Step 1: Materials

- mat board
- printer paper
- air dry clay (you could try polymer clay or green stuff)
- wood glue
- pva glue
- sand
- paint

- scissors
- hobby knife
- printer
- pencil
- paint brushes

Step 2: Template

Print out a picture of the aquila, or a different shape of your choice, and cut it out with scissors. I used this image . My bird was about 6'' X 2.5''. Then trace it onto the mat board. Cut out the shape on the mat board with the hobby knife.  Accidentally cutting into the shape is not a big deal, it will just look like weathering later on. 
Next add details that don't go all of the way through the board. I did this by cutting a V notch into it. Just cut diagonally into the mat board and then diagonally in the other way.

Step 3: Making the Uneven Ground

I used air dry clay, but i wouldn't try it again. The kind i used shrinks and cracks while drying. I would recommend using oven bake clay like Sculpey or using the epoxy putty green stuff.

After the clay hardens put the aquila on top of the clay on top of another piece of mat board. If you have plastic card use that instead to avoid warping. Trace out a base that can fit the whole model and cut it out. 

Glue the clay to the base and let it dry. 

Step 4: Breaking the Aquila

lay out the aquila over the uneven ground and see where you think it would crack and break if it fell onto the ground. Mark all of the places where you want to cut it with a pencil. also mark where you want crack and chips on the sculpture.  

Cut it where you marked it but make sure to number each broken edge so you know where all of the pieces go. 

Step 5: Gluing

Glue the broken pieces to the base with wood glue.

The next step is to put sand on the base. Make a mixture of 2/3 pva glue and 1/3 water. Apply the glue to the base of the model. I recommend doing small areas at a time so the glue doesn't dry before you finish.  Put the sand on a plate or the lid of a container. hold the base over the plate and sprinkle sand over the wet pva. Tip the base over to dump off extra sand back onto the plate. wipe off any glue or sand that fell onto the pieces of the aquila. Also wipe the sand and glue off of the sides of the mat board. I adding little scraps of mat board to the sand just to change it up a little.

During this step the base warped a little because of the glue and doesn't lie quite flat. its not very noticeable, but does anyone know how to avoid this?

Step 6: Painting

I first primed the model with black spray primer. I then painted the sand and cracks with black acrylic paint. Next paint the sculpture and highlight the edges. Paint the sand whatever color you want, dry brush it to make it look better.

I first painted the eagle a mix of green and light blue. Next paint the edges with a brighter mix of the two (add white or more green).
I dry brushed the ground with charcoal black, then with a mix of black and light blue, then lightly with brown.



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I've been playing, collecting, and building scenery for tabletop miniature games for two decades now. I'd like to see more material for this topic on Instructables. I think the piece you've instructed on how to make is creative and full of ingenuity. Plus, it's relatively easy for somebody to make one. I don't think the cracks in the clay made any difference for this piece of terrain. It shows the exposure to the elements and natural weathering that would take place.
My interest with the hobby of tabletop miniatures games has blended with my hobby of photography. I think pictures of miniatures on the tabletop would be enhanced by having cinematic terrain like this in the background.

I've been working on an Instructable for making Ork, Necron, Tau, and Imperial Guard buildings out of the packing materials from laser printer cartridges. Reading your Instructable has helped inspire me to finish that.

1 reply

Thanks, looking foreword to seeing your instructables

I'd love to see more!

I'd love to see more!

Please do more. The one thing I would say is that it would look cool if there was a trapped, flailing tyranid under one section.

7 replies

that would be awesome haha. ill do more after college apps hopefully

Also, that's I don't paint Tau, but it looks good. Could you possibly do an instructable on how you painted it?

Well, I tried Marines, but I made the line highlights too thick and found the armour hard to paint. I am currently working on an ork army, as they are easy to paint to a good standard. I may try Guard next, as they are versatile background-wise, so I can come up with a new Regiment.

Do you just paint Tau, or have you dabbled with other armies?

I have some kroot. Ive also painted some non Warhammer40k models.

Fair enough. I findif you use a drybrush with a very hard, coarse brush and progressively brush lighter colours on, with less pressure, you get very effective hair.

OMG, i'ts a great job.
quiete simmilar to the original.

i liked a lot..


thanks! Im making a crashed meteor next:)

Great!!! I made 2 last year. Is the one ur making next the one from mini war gaming?? check them out for more ideas!

i was just going to put a moon rock from How to Make War Games Terrain in a crater, but that is a really cool, ive never seen that technique before.

By all means, post more! this looks great! My friend is a pro level miniature painter and sculptor, and i am pretty darn good at making terrain myself. I would love to se more.

1 reply

you should post pics of some of yours. i was surprised at how few instructables there are on miniatures. thanks for the encouragement