Solving the Age Old Terrain Issue
Hello chaps, welcome back to another exciting article from yours truly, the Big Mek. Yes, I said exciting. Why are you laughing? Alright then. Shall we? The other day I was listening to a very honest wargaming podcast… though the name eludes me… (link) ah yes… there we are. Well anyway, these very English lads were discussing the differences between the ETC and the ITC tournament structures. One thing that was mentioned was the fact that in the ITC, all ruins count as blocking line of sight on their first floors. It was also mentioned that all of the official ITC terrain was made so that the first floor had all line of sight obscured. Not to rain on Reece and Frankie’s collective parades, but I feel that this “solution” creates all new problems, mainly that you have to work with the bland, smooth, lifeless mass that is MDF terrain.
Why the MDF Terrain Hate?
Don’t get me wrong. MDF terrain can look great. The real issue for me is that it has no real depth or texture, it’s just a bunch of flat surfaces. Since we are all wargaming in the distant, dark future where there is only war, I have to ask, who the hell is cleaning the rust and battle damage on the walls? Is it the same folks who keep mowing the lawns in the middle of the zombie apocalypse that is The Walking Dead? If you have the time, the patience, the oxide paste, and a few hours with a stipling brush, you can get some nice texture on your MDF terrain. But if you’re going to do all that, why not just use the real GW kits and save yourself hours of additional labor?
High Quality Plastic Terrain Vs. MDF Terrain
Looking at the images I’ve provided here from my own terrain, you can clearly see the difference between the very heavily textured and detailed “High Gothic Sci-Fi Maki-Tainer” (currently not in production) and the simple textures of the MDF terrain. With the difference in cost being fairly insignificant, I can see no reason to not own the higher quality plastic terrain pieces.
The new Games Workshop terrain that comes with the new Kill Team box set is also exceptional, and a great value. The detail on these kits is plentiful and very sharp. As one who is not paid by Games Workshop to say so, these are excellent kits indeed.
Solving the Riddle of The ITC
It would seem then, that the question remains. How does one use the great plastic terrain from Games Workshop and others, and still block line of sight on the ground level of ruins, and not just “pretend” that the line of sight is blocked? My friends, I have two simple words for you. Corrugated Cardboard. This is actually an ancient (well, it’s old) technique I gleaned from inside an old Games Workshop tome (currently out of print) called Building Wargames Terrain.
When you dampen the outer layer of corrugated cardboard, you can, with a little bit of care, peel off the outer cardboard layer, leaving the opposite layer and the corrugated layer intact. This looks exactly like corrugated metal.
You can imagine living in a giant scrap heap and using a bit of this to block off the windows of the ruin you’ve decided to hunker down in for the night, especially if you have crazy post-apocalyptic dreams fueled by anti-psychotic medications, Mountain Dew, and a few thousand too many hours playing Fallout: New Vegas.
In closing, I think you will find that using the high quality terrain, coupled with this inexpensive (or free, if you order from Amazon as much as I do) solution will give you the best results, and in turn the best gaming experience possible.