Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17/14: Terrain Tutorial: From Birdhouse to Burg!

This city, is my city, and I love it! Yeah I love it!

Patrick Stump aside, howdy folks!

Just a fun little project to show off! With my new studio, I've been wanting to add a table for gaming and pictures to give commissions that extra edge. Putting around online, I came across TerrainThralls, who have a lot of nicely done scratchbuilt terrain tutorials and pictures. The one that really stuck with me, though, is from Rob Hawkins. He did a lot of Games Workshop's and Privateer Press' huge terrain tables, so I really watch his stuff for tricks and tips.

The basis of this project is a wooden birdhouse, some plasticard, extra bits, and a little paint!


  • 1 Wooden Birdhouse (Mine is from Michaels and cost all of $5.
  • Various sheet styrene (thick stripping and wood texture are ideal)
  • Cardboard
  • Vallejo Oxid Paste (Though simple spackling could probably work too)
  • Various Warhammer Fantasy and 40k bits

A quick walkthrough on this one! I popped the windows off, the door off, and removed the hole at the top for the bird to enter. A WHFB fortress door was added to cover the door, a plastic brick wall was added at the bottom to add detail, and the attic hole was covered with a plastic Orc shield. The shingles are done with cardboard strips, and were angled as they went up to give a drooping, pointed look. Also, you can see the scale is perfect for 28mm tabletop gaming!

The windows are textured plasticard, while the hinges on the windows are little bits of plastic tubing added to the sides. The trim of the house is plastic stripping; while not necessary, they help add wall detail and texture. The walls were covered in a thin layer of Vallejo's Oxid Paste. Its decently thin and sandy, which gives everything a spackled texture. 

I also picked up a second one while I was out. All you really want these for are the shape; all the texture and detail is added by you. I also added a gutter to the smaller one, you can see it towards the middle of the picture.

Painting took less than an hour! I primed it grey, then sprayed the walls with Vallejo Model Air Ivory. The roof was sprayed with blues and greys, though it's up to you what color you spray them. The windows were brushed the same color as the roof, then were sponged with Ivory to give them a chippled, battered look. I also used weathering powders to created grime and dust on the walls and windows. 

The gutter was painted with Leadbelcher, then washed with Agrax Earthshade. A touch of Athonian Camoshade was added at the base to add detail. The posters were found on Google; I wanted to keep these fairly generic, so there's a mix of Mordheim and 40k posters. These were printed, cut out, tattered, then glued to the wall using white glue. When dry, I hit them with weathering powders and washes. 
Note: Mordheim posters from Cianty's Tabletop Wargaming; this site is amazing for terrain ideas, as well as general gaming info!

Even as a backdrop for 40k, they look excellent, and the big one isn't even finished yet!

I hope you guys find this helpful, this would work perfect for Mordheim, 40k, Fantasy (especially Blood on the Streets), Malifaux, or Wild West Exodus. Now, go to your local crafts store and start buying birdhouses!


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