Saturday 5 January 2008

The Hills are Alive ...

The gnomes in the Wittenberg toy shops, after having their rest after Xmas, have been busy constructing hills for the wargames table.

I decided to make my own hills. I used layers of Foam Board, sculpting the edges at an angle. First a ridge feature to defend..

Some medium size hills,

One of the medium hills is a bit smaller so it can be stacked up if needed...

I also made some smaller hills from cheap mouse mats (not a good idea, I won't be making any more)
I'll have to paint the foam board hills later.


  1. If I might offer a suggestion . . . your long ridge appears to be in two sections. If this is so, you might want to have another, one level piece no more than two elements' width to place between them so that you will have the option of a mountain pass.

  2. Thanks Jeff - that's a good idea

    -- Allan

  3. Hello Allan,

    Those are nice looking hills you've made there. From everything I hear (and now see), foam board is highly versatile material for all kinds of modelling projects. Oh, and I'm eager to see you Old Glory Marlburians once you've painted them!

    Best Regards,


  4. ok so you have my curiosity up.

    why is using cheap mouse mats not a good idea for hills?

  5. The problem with using cheap mouse mats for hills are:
    1. they are limited in size.
    2. the fabric top has to be removed (plastic top ones may be better).
    3. The foam absorbs the paint more than other surfaces/materials.
    4. They are not very thick.
    5. You need a water based glue to stick them together.

    Also a Warning: I have noticed foam board also has a tendency to warp slightly.

    -- Allan

  6. I'm interested in making hill like yours, so I have a couple of questions.

    Did the foam board warp when glued together?

    Did it warp when painted?

    If yes, how did you remove any warping.



  7. yes I have tried foam core before, anything but latex gets "absorbed" by the card covering and forms the warping. The only other time I used it was below a 'town' with Ink as the colourant which took about 4 years to finally warp, though that could have been from storage in a cool 'wet' place (try and find somewhere not 'wet' in a rainforest!).

    For hills now I only use insulation foam, either 2" or 3/4" inch thick. I cut it with and old hacksaw blade and form it with that and an old wood 'rasp' file. Its a bit messy (with all the little foam bits flying everywhere) but the final effects are more than acceptable.

    A bucket of house exterior latex (so far the one I bought 5 years ago has not run out), tinted dark grey has done the trick. At first I 'flocked' the hills, but now that I have made my own 'table cover' cloth, I have not bothered with flocking (or painting) the foam anymore.

  8. Jim -

    before guing the foam board I check it isn't warped already and stick two sheets together using a solvent free all purpose glue (from B&Q).

    Does the foam board warp when glued together? No, but it does tend to over time - keep in a dry place is best.

    Did it warp when painted? No, although the card covering can get damp and blister up

    Removing warping - The warping can be removed if its not to bad by bending it slightly (with a little bit of care) - I've used the material for a while on model railway projects, and developed the technique over time, it can go wrong though and you end up with a crease on the bend line.

    -- Allan