Saturday, July 18, 2009

Some Colonial Terrain --

Steve Turner of At the Old Dessauer's Table and LITTLEJOHN of Lead Gardens have been contemplating "Colonial" projects.

Both have been discussing some of the terrain ideas from Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page . . . which is actually not a "page", but an extensive website which is generally simply referred to as the "Major General's".

So I decided to post a few photos from games that show some of the terrain features that they are contemplating. (Remember to "click" on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

The top photo shows one of the "mountains" that the Major General builds out of cardboard. (See Lead Gardens for a look at his "scrap" versions that he put together just to get an idea of how they'd look.)

These not only provide great places for ambushers or snipers, but in line with the Major General's philosophy, they take up very little table space.

They are also very flexible as the second photo demonstrates. Here I've placed two back-to-back in the center of the table, with my other two on the sides to create two "mountain passes.

And finally, they make good backgrounds for photos.

The last photo shows some simple "Arab" houses (note that they are usable for many other cultures . . . mine certainly get used on both the Northwest Frontier and in the Old West.

Using the techniques shown on the Major General's "Building Construction Page", I took my figure bases (in my case, pennies) and planned the interior roof size to fit a few troops comfortably.

I then made a few houses to hold a few more troops, then a few large enough to "nest" the smallest houses in order to make some two-storey structures with room enough for more figures in some cases.

For texturing, I used "spackle" (not sure what the Brits call it, but it is the stuff you use to patch holes in drywall. Then I used slightly different colors of "off-white" to create different looks. I was careful however to make sure that I used the same colors on those buildings that I wanted to be able to "nest".

-- Jeff


Fitz-Badger said...

Thanks for the reminder of the General's mountains! I saw those on the site some time ago, but hadn't thought about them for a while. I should make some of those for my own games.

Bluebear Jeff said...

If you don't have access to largish pieces of cardboard, go to any grocery store, furniture store, appliance store, etc. (anyplace that gets largish shipments of things.

Ask if you can have some empty cardboard boxes.

They will usually happily direct you to their trash area where you can collect lots of big pieces of firm cardboard.

-- Jeff

littlejohn said...

Very nice table, the mountains are cool and I really like those buildings, they look very versatile.

Capt Bill said...

Where did I put that pith helmet?

Mad Carew said...

Great pics
The MGs page is a goldmine!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the pics Jeff. I need all the help I can get at the moment (new project AND new wargaming period). Hope you don't mind if I download these photos, so that I can study them more closely?


Anonymous said...

Oops sorry...P.S. I love this type of terrain. Nothing too over elaborate. It looks good, can be constructed cheaply and is practical. Those mountains & houses look like pieces I could definitely see working on my own table. Thanks again Jeff.


Bluebear Jeff said...


Another hint is to make the buildings rectangular rather than square.

The reason for this is to give you more options in terms of their look. It goes along with varying the sizes and slight differences in colouring.

Another thing, the table surface is simply standard brown wrapping paper that has been crinkled up and then smoothed out (which still leaves a crinkled surface), then taped down. It is cheap and looks pretty good.

If I can locate them, I will try to email you some more photos.

-- Jeff

abdul666 said...

once you have a few 'colonial' terrain pieces & houses built and some Berbers / Zulus / Sudaneses / Afghans ready, you don't have to wait for painted 'Victoria's boys en red' -and pith helmet- to play: just have Ludwig the Vile seized by colonizing frenzy...

marinergrim said...

I like that a lot. Easily adapted too for thoe steep sided fjords in scandanavia I suspect.

"Spackle" = polyfilla in the UK I think.

Anonymous said...

If you remember my own "homemade" 6mm scale 18th C. buildings Jeff, well, the houses in these snaps look an awful lot like those I made (in a different scale of course). Which gives me the confidence that I should be able to produce a few of my own "Colonial" style houses. Flat roofs, and a little filler mixed with (bird-cage) sand to cover over all. With a rough paint job to finish and "Robert will probably be your mother's brother".


DestoFante said...

This must be one of those "great minds think alike" moment... I have been thinking about getting started on those mountains for a while -- I first saw them in Bob Cordery's website, so I am not sure you came up first with the idea. It's a very functional way to create the right "feel" for Eastern Sudan and the NW Frontier. I am aiming to build four or five. On mine, I am planning on having three steps. One only side for three mountains (they will sit on the edge of the table, to provide the background), and levels on both sides for two (they will create narrow passes and valleys.)
I have to say: I was procrastinating as my usual, but your pics are giving me the necessary motivation to spring into action sooner rather than later!

Bluebear Jeff said...


I do not claim to have "come up with the idea first". It is one that I got from the Major General's website (as seen here):

I wouldn't be surprised if that is where Bob got the idea as well.

-- Jeff