June 26, 2015

Quindia Studios Guide to Modular Terrain Boards, Part Six

Before we get back to the roads, I'm going to take a few minutes to add some large stones to my landscape. Rather than use rocks, or carve boulders out of foam (either of which would work fine), I'm going to use pine bark. Take a few minutes to hop over to my Desert Terrain Boards posts (Part One and Part Two) to see what these things look like when they are painted. I'll wait for you...

The main areas I want these rocks is around the river, but I added a couple of small bits along the edge of the roads on each board to tie them together visually. In the future, I intend to add a modular board dominated by a large, rugged hill and part of the slope will be made into a cliff by using these bark chips, but for now, I only want to place them sparsely. I'm going to add more rubble soon, but for now this will do. I attached these using a hot glue gun, but other glues will work fine. I picked the hot glue gun because it dries instantly.

Ok, back to the roads. The purpose of this step is to blend the roads and riverbanks back into the landscape and get rid of the precision line where they meet the grass areas. Not only will this step give your roads a nice base for adding texture, it will also seal the edges of the grass mats and hide any gaps between the wood battens and foam at the exposed edges of the roads and rivers. I use a wallboard joint compound, but there are lots of ready mix filler compounds that work well. You want to find one that claims not to shrink when it dries.

The trick of applying this for our purposes is to place a... ummm... lump? Pile? Clunk? Anyway, put the stuff in the center of the road and use the putty knife to drag the filler across the roadway and up onto the grass mat. Work from the center out toward the grass, first one one side and then the other. If you feel like you pulled too much filler onto the grass, don't sweat it - you can cover this up in later stages with any of a variety of textures, including adding grass flocking back onto the board to narrow the road!

Then pull the knife gently along the direction of the road. If you like, you could drag a paint brush handle through the filler to simulate ruts in the roads. I want to be able to use my boards for different scales and the ruts would lend a definite sense of scale to the terrain so I opted not to do this.

Once the roads are done, you can break out a larger putty knife and work on the river banks. I use the same technique, basically putting down some filler along the bank and then blending it out toward the grass. There is no need to try and completely cover the foam since we're going to be adding yet more texture and paint. Just blend the filler as smooth as possible. You will always be able to hide any unsightly spots during the next step where we add rubble or you can sand out any rough spots if you prefer.. Avoid getting any of the filler on the river unless you want to model rapids!

Follow the directions on what ever filler you use as far as drying time is concerned, but remember that we've applied it thicker than it is designed to be used and it may take additional time to dry. The next step is adding additional texture. These things will really start to look cool after that!


  1. You can mix paint into the filler before applying it to the board in order to save time and an extra step in the finishing of the road. If you leave the road white, obviously it needs to be painted.

  2. great stuff! Did you ever finish part 7, etc>?