How to Make War Games Terrain. (City Ruins,Tank Traps,Bunkers & More)




Introduction: How to Make War Games Terrain. (City Ruins,Tank Traps,Bunkers & More)

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In this instructional will be teaching how to make war games terrain pieces,For use with Warhammer scale Models,Or Trains Etc.
I have been making these for around 10years due to the highly expensive prices pre made buildings will cost you most likely in the £100s and 100s.

Making your own terrain is cheaper more fun and each model becomes your own Unique work,with its own little extras and embellishments added by yourself some ideas will be added rest will be left up to your imaginations...example ruined buildings nothing more,add a bunch of broken pipes and tubes,turn it into a factory! with nothing more then a few chimneys.

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Step 1: Parts Needed.

Tools Needed! this is quite a lengthy list of materials,but are all easy to obtain and or readily available.

1:Hot Glue! & Glue Gun.
2:Super Glue.
3:Alot of PVA Glue. (Buy the 5liter tank kind if possible)
4:Tons of Cardboard Toilet Roll Tubes,Foil wrap Tubes,Lots of variations of card in all its forms.(exempt the laminated stuff)
5:Emulsion Paint,Acrylic Paint,Metal Paint.
6:Rocks & Pebbles,dig up your garden can collect some if you cannot find some local strewn around car parks etc,or buy some from a garden center.
7:Course & Fine Grain Sand.
8:Box Cutter,Pin Vice,Hole Punch,File set,Exacto blade kit.
9:Various Kinds of Sand Paper.
11:Ceramic Tiles x2.(make great paint pallets & drying stands)
12:Various Collection of New Used,And Old Paintbrushes.
13:Drinking Straws,also the kind with bendable necks.
14:Filler,ready made & Self Mix Powder (kind used for wall and plasterboard repair)
15:Wool,Cotton balls,String,Household Sponge.
16:Plastic materials of interesting shapes,source of these being yoghurt pots plant pots,candy containers.
17:Masking Tape,Celotape(Transparent kind).

These are but a few of the materials that may and or will be needed.

Step 2: Different Projects and Builds.

Many Different Projects and Builds will be Listed and or Added here.
Everything you need to make a Whole battle field complete with everything from ruined bombed out buildings shot full of holes and covered in blast marks,to deadly minefields and crucial ammo dumps,all broke up by craters strewn crates ammo boxes fences,spike walls and tank traps.

(Not all Construction's will be added strait away as i need to dig out and then recreate each structure and design for recreation)
(Picture is of some desert rock spires created from card construction not shown) 

Step 3: Construction of a Ruined City!


For this, Much Cardboard will be needed try obtain corrugated card if possible that is nice and thick,hot glue,And lots of PVA Glue next,Sand And emulsion paint..Masking tape (or more glue) Wall Filler,Pen and Ruler.

First off get your templates created,and draw out how you want each side of the building to look,do not forget floors will be added at the bottom and middle levels of each building,account for this with 2cm extra on your template,see pictures.

Now Cut out the template from the outside outlines,Followed by the Windows,And or Door/Doors,and repeat to the other side of the building,you will be only making a 2 sided structure,if you wish to have more sides simply add make another building and put it in opposite see picture,for a complete structure,but your not doing that yet until you make more.

Next cut out the 2 floor sections,do this by first gluing your two building sides in place and measuring the distance inside the angle in the corner building,now make two piece one floor smaller then the other,lower floor being larger (For extra Effect Cut out Small Squares and glue them to the floor pieces as tiles,see my building in the pictures,that is optional,you might just want to add a small hatch or cut out a small space for a ladder! now glue your floor sections in place and leave to dry for a while,then add a little watered down PVA glue in all the corners and joints,joins of the building,and wait for that to dry,its worth placing your building on a piece of paper so it does not glue itself to the table! ,gravity will pull the glue down into all the joins and glue it to the surface below,so place on a sheet of A4 Paper,paper towel will do nothing.

Once you have Left the building to dry for a while and the glue is still a bit sticky and not full dry,but now more solid and fixed in place,Break out the masking tape or filler,and fill every gap in the corrugations of the card doors and windows,i find it better to use a slightly watery paste and use a couple of brushes into the holes in the card,see pictures,leave this to dry for 12hours in a warm place such as an airing cupboard,once dry and all the filler is white and no longer Gray,use a file and or sandpaper to remove excess filler from off the walls around the windows,top,and or door/s.

Now Adding Embellishments and battle scaring,depending on what kind of battle,Your will either want to cut small scratch like sword cuts into the walls,and add small sticks in clusters as spikes or spears,i added Bullet holes of various Sizes to resemble different calibres of weapons,and also cut out smaller sections around a window or two to add to battle damage,some caved in card,just push some in with your thumb,when textured looks like structural damage in the wall as it crumbles inside from shockwave Get your Sand! use the fine sand for this,and get a medium amount of watered down emulsion wall paint any colour will do,and add a few big pinches of sand to the mix now apply this gritty paint to the card walls of your building all over and let it dry some,then use the last of the texture paint on the building in parts where the sand it uneven on the walls spread it around and get it evenly distributed on the walls and into the bullet holes or sword cuts you cut previously...leave to dry for a last time,leave for 24hours+ this time,can take a while to dry and become hard.

When it is Dry Add Final touch's,pipes tiles etc,inside the building itself,i used small cut straws and glued on the underside of each floor and pushed into the holes in the card before using filler,i also used large drinking straws glued in place as supports on the lower floor of the building see pictures...

Repeat this multiple times in a batch build 3/5 buildings of various shapes and sizes will be enough for a small city edge in model terms,and looks very good indeed when placed in close proximity to other buildings creating usually one large structure.

Uses of these buildings in war games are various and interesting from take and hold the tallest building objectives,or HQ structures such as hold the edge of town for a fixed number of turns etc. 

Step 4: Construction of a Ammo Dump

(Detailed pictures step by step in the future,only completed models at the moment,and how i made them,plus one under construction)

Simple ammo pad created from plastic slices and pop sickle sticks,a straw and drinks cap,and lick of metal coloured paint are needed to construct this smaller ammo dump position,see pictures,construction of this was with some super glue,just glue the sticks as shown,then the straw and drinks cap add more glue,then paint it all up then just place your ammo boxes crates shells etc on the ammo dump/pad for a quick little ammo dump.

Large Walled Ammo Dump. (Under construction)

Step 5: Construction of a Minefield!

(Mini model) small scale and for warhammer games use...comprised of a few to many smaller dioramas! that make up minefields and there boundary's....making a larger more complex minefield on a large base is as simple as a few craters,see step 8 with body's wreckage blasts and exposed and unearthed land mines...

Easy to make collect a few model plastic bases,or alternatively thick bevelled cardboard circles,see pictures for complete model,now add land mine like things,i have water bottles from a old imperial guard troop,along with a piece of electronic wire partially buried to clearly show as some kind of trap,others include flame thrower tanks punctured with a knife most likely with a sniper or lasertrap set to ignite the mine,use your imagination,hell even flying hover mines for taking out low flying aircraft models in game,use transparent plastic stands and make up a sinister drift rule that makes the mines move 6"inchs a turn in a random direction that would change the game quite a bit,trying to dodge flying minefields of doom,More Archaic Races Like Man! more likely to use little clunky robots as opposed to advanced shiny plasma spiting drone mines with emp ability ion engines and the ability to teleport inside tanks at close range...human warhammer races more likely tracked land robots with overcharged lasers that might or might not blow up your own robot then things overly futuristic weapons.

Mines are usually far more simple in design however,especially with more elite forces that make there own equipment in the field as would troops in war games.

Take your spare model parts and arrange them in mine like formations and shapes,example a wheel of a vehicle cut in half lengthways with a small dome of card glued in place in the middle glued and painted right with some little wires glued from the card to the wheel sides creates a funky little AT Anti tank mine,so it is doable even with parts you never thought were landminey at all,check my pictures and you will have many ideas of your own,dynamite to a bit of wood from your garden painted and put in a jungle setting wargame etc.

Step 6: Construction of Walls & Barricades!

Wall and Barricades will be detailed here and and simple to make require little time to create a batch build,enough to encompass your town city etc.

Concrete walls with battle damage,and Spiked Fences will be shown here and how i made them plus paints used.

Concrete wall:Things your will need for this small city wall are corrugated cardboard,and flat thin card,hot glue,sand,small screwdriver or pin vice for making bullet holes,and emulsion paint,final colours would be Mat/Chaos/Abbadon Black & a Drybrush and of Codex Gray or similar,and a over brush of the same on the exposed stone inner wall. 

Spiked Fence:These are created from strips of plastic or slices of thick card,and bevelled to a point x4 then braced and left to dry using superglue,then a rudimentary stand forming a rectangle connecting to the back of the upright spikes see pictures,once dry this will hold your spiked fences upright now make them in any size you like,i stick to 4 spikes long each fence section so it can go around corners of ruins bunkers etc. (The rusted look was achieved by painting a darker red and or rust like colour then heavy dry brushing of metal. 

(There are a few Under Constructions here,of some concrete barricades,and a sewer entrance/inlet)

Step 7: Construction of a Bunker Complex!

(Step by step pictures will be added when i recreated the bunkers) however detailed build description will be added)
Here I will be detailing and describing how to create bunkers of various sizes from pill box size,to full on war,advancement stoppers.

Pill Box Size Bunker:Pill box Bunker for a Single or 2 man Team using man portable heavy weapons,such as missile launchers,lascannons,Snipers,etc....Again grab your cardboard and cut it to the size you and shape you want your bunker,and cut a window/firing port into one section,now cut the bottom sides and top,there will be no back this is a run in grab some cover run out kind of field bunker to break up larger bunkers,or fill the hole in the line of bunkers will a small one,let it dry use hotglue to create the overall bunker shape,then cut out your base,a nice oval shape i choose to use,and glue the box bunker to the base you have cut,then fill in with either hot glue or filler all the holes in the corrugated card so there are no holes sand off any extra or over spills and do not forget to fill in the holes in the card in the window section without filling up the window of the bunker,leave to dry for however long is expected hot glue around 10mins,filler more hours in a dry and hot place in the sun,poke in some bullet holes with a pin vice or small screwdriver,then paint in a watered down textured sand and emulsion wall paint mix,leave it to dry for a fair amount of time in a dry place,and apply a black undercoat to the whole bunker leave that to dry,then drybrush and overbrush gray paint onto the bunker,catching particles of sand in the textured wall as you go along until it is all picked out nicely,use a far amount of drybrushing leaving blackend marks under the gray as if scorch marks or heat damage,once dry,apply flock green (green sawdust) or drybrush the base in a gray also if you just want a moonscape around the outside of the bunker,i used green flock,and a little bit of model scrub,to make this cut up an old sponge and soak in green paint,then leave to dry,mash up a bit and break it up,there a little model sized bush dab some PVA glue on it in small parts and sprinkle on some flock sand etc for more effect,leave to dry,and your small bunker is done,add any touch ups with black an gray paint from chips and or flaking during the drying process...and use it in your wargames.

Multi Window Bombardment shelter & Bunker: (siege fortifications)   
Medium size Bunker for withstanding tank rushes and stopping advances,can commonly hold a hole squad and special weapon such as heavy machinegun/bolter or flamer/flamethrower,build 1 of these and a smaller pill box,along with some barricades and tank traps you have a small bunker line section,for stopping a large enemy force.

How to make is similar to the pill box,create your rectangle box bottom sides and top,cutting x3 windows on one side, 1door and x2 windows on the other side which will be the bunker rear,now two side sections with x1 window..this will make a total of 1 door and 7 fire-ports/windows..glue it all together and let dry,cutting a section for the top,do not glue this it must be removable to place models inside the bunker,then paint in the usual manner with a textured paint all over the bunker,create a base a bit bigger then the bunker itself in an oval shape once again,Next paint it up in an undercoat of black,and drybrush heavy drybrush it in gray,the due gray colour tones one looks darker then the other,is created by the sand in the textured paint emulsion layer you apply after the main structure has been created,same as the pill box above,the lighter grays are areas of the card that have less and or no sand on them or only a little this creates a very concrete look that is solid,and looks tough,a few warnings and maybe a little model satellite dish on the top would look cool. 

Step 8: Construction of Blast Craters and Tank Traps.

Easy and simple to make,requiring not much time or effort to create a whole blasted moonscape complete with anti armour tank traps. 

Craters:These are simple and created from a card base and lots of plaster and  PVA glue and Sand,make your medium or small size oval base,and make a small card circle in the circle or what you perceive as the middle of the oval,add smaller strips to the outside of the circle to build it up a little,now use filler all over the outside and inside building it up use a thicker mix of filler/plaster for this,and work it into and around until you create a crater like slope,now drag a bit of card from the slopes outwards only a little or even cut out a slice of crater wall and add more filler this is messy,and leave to dry,looks really messy at the moment yes,now make a PVA and Sand mix Don't water it down too much,now cover the whole crater model/s in PVA Sand Mix,and leave to dry for a few mins,then sprinkle DRY fine & or course sand all over the still drying and most sticky sand glue mix,leave it to dry for a good while in a nice and warm place,on a flat surface so it will not warp,once dry paint in blacks and Gray dry brush,or dark brown lighter brown dry brush for woodland etc. Add any extras if desired,odd small model gun glued in the crater for example.

Tank Traps:Made from nothing but sprue plastic bits and pieces even very small mini tank traps can be created,if no plastic strip scraps are available,use slices of thick card,tank traps are created as follows glue an X with your card or plastic,now take one more bit and glue it in the upper gap of the X so it is balanced in the v of the X,see Picture its really very simple,now make a hole bunch of them,i a long time ago got carried away with this and made over 100 tank traps as pictured,enough to cover a whole gameboard

Step 9: Ideas for Setup.

Set-up idea's.

Moonscapes of crater and tank trap strewn battlefields! with ruined buildings at one board edge.(Anti Armour Hell All on Foot slow and lots of cover,slow and nasty battle over craters and the odd ruin)

City Ruins and walls that previously supplied the nearby and full Ammo Dumps! (Fight over the ammo from the city ruins not much cover after leaving the buildings and safety of concrete wall leads to enemy unrestricted fire every turn)

Bunker Emplacement Line & Minefields! Designed to slow and stop enemy advancements 2/3 or more bunkers and some tank traps in a line splitting a game board in two,with minefields in close range to the front of the bunkers. (enemy must bust every bunker and break the line to win before a certain turn expires and reinforcements arrive to the bunkers)

(I Will Do each of these and post the pictures in the future)

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    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I love these ideas!


    4 years ago

    So wheres this detailed step by step guide for everything that you said you'd upload later? I just built a few buildings and need to get that nice texture like you've got on yours


    Reply 4 years ago

    Been more than a few years since i built any terrain or models,Most likely won't be remaking them unless i get back into warhammer 40k at some point in the distant future, just work it out for yourself i did,without instructions.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes Various Warhammer 40k models.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice pieces. There a blog I follow that had some fantasy stuff he builds with tutorials.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Not bad created something similar just a swamp patch not toxic waste patch,still cool though.