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Author Topic: Seeking commission terrain builder for large project in Eastern Canada/US  (Read 675 times)

Offline Helge

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 191
    • Wargaming Workshop

My teenage daughter flippantly pointed out that I might have painted thousands of minis during her time on earth, but the terrain they play on pre-dates her birth. Stung by such criticism ;), I have decided to overhaul my terrain collection. Unlike painting - fiercly considered my own domain - I would prefer to outsource the terrain renewal. It's a different skill set and, while I made it work 15+ years ago, it feels like something best left to experts.

I am thus looking for terrain experts open to larger commissions. The task covers 100sqft of standard grassland modular tiles (roughly 3-4 full tables), 3'x3' skirmish boards for Mordheim and Necromunda, and a 4'x4' Epic scale city board. At this size, I suspect that shipping is impractical so I am looking for a builder within (long) driving distance to Montreal who can deliver the final results via car/van.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Wargaming Workshop - My hobby journey and collection
Allied Army of the Netherlands - my current Waterloo 28mm project

Offline FifteensAway

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4647
Re: Seeking commission terrain builder for large project in Eastern Canada/US
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2024, 12:38:40 AM »
Terrain boards are cool - but likely bulky and either heavy or fragile.

Before you dive in with both feet, recommend you take a solid look at gaming mats, start with Cigar Box Battle Mats: https://www.cigarboxbattle.com. - no relation except as a customer

I suspect the cost of several mats will be a lot less than custom made boards.  The 4' x 6' are actually closer to 4 1/2' x 6 1/2' in my experience.  If you got four of them all the same you are looking at about $300 + shipping (US based company).  If I was building that much square footage as terrain boards - before shipping - I'd charge a significant multiple of $300, perhaps north of $2K.  And - no - I am not building terrain boards, custom or otherwise unless for my own use and with a special need.

Of course, if you are set on terrain boards, then best of luck - and post photos when you get them to the point of play ready.

Offline Helge

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  • Posts: 191
    • Wargaming Workshop
Re: Seeking commission terrain builder for large project in Eastern Canada/US
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2024, 10:50:01 AM »
Thanks for the suggestion but I am pretty set on full boards. I already have a full set of modular boards for which this project is meant to be an upgrade. See below for an old photo of the boards I made 15 years ago when "rank and file units on golf courses" was the standard gaming experience. Storage isn't a problem as the central table in the photo was custom-built to have storage slots for 12 4'x2' boards, 12 2'x2' boards with limited height, and up to 6 4'x2' boards with high features up to 16" tall (for city boards). Example of one of the storage segments below. And there are no financing considerations really.

Offline FifteensAway

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4647
Looks like quite the set up you have there for your hobby!  Very nice.

Hopefully someone pops up - if not already - to create your terrain.  And if not, try investigating in the model railroad world though you might have to educate whomever you find on your needs - but there are definitely commission modelers in that world but comparatively more expensive which doesn't seem to be an issue for you.

If you end up having to "do it yourself" I STRONGLY recommend you use extruded foam with some sort of batting around the outer edges and rigid basing underneath which will give the pieces strength and durability - and maybe embed some magnets and steel plates (thin and small) to help hold the boards together when in use.  This also allows for sunken areas in the terrain.  And in your commission, perhaps ask for some features that match that can be placed on top of the boards to provide elevation, hills, mesas, etc.  And keep playability firmly in mind which I'm guessing your years of gaming has already taught you.  Terrain can look spectacular and very realistic but playability requires significant compromises. 

Impossible to know if I was first, but I was the first person I am aware of to create realistic looking undulating terrain (not counting sand tables) back in the 1980s, everything else was flat as a pancake with blankets and books and lichen predominating.  It was my model railroading background I suspect.  It looked grand for its time but it proved impractical in the long term because figures wouldn't stand well.  Why I now use "wedding cake" hills.

Again, good luck on your project.

Offline Cat

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1250
  • All Purpose Neko-Sensei
    • Goblinhall
Iron Hammer Studio in Maine does fantastic terrain work!

I'm not a customer, but have enjoyed their amazing Bolt Action tables at Huzzah.  The convention is coming up 17–19 May if you want to see some of their work and chat in person, and enjoy a great con.

Offline Helge

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 191
    • Wargaming Workshop
Thanks! I will give Ironhammer a ping and see if they can take this on.


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