Building Darkfell

What got me into wargaming was undoubtedly terrain. When I was a kid I remember hording polystyrene and painting it up as a lizard man temple. As a teenager what brought me back into the wargaming fold was watching terrain building tutorials on YouTube. I just love building things. I love creating worlds.

I’ve also recently been playing my Darkfell Wager rules a lot, but what kept me from enjoying the game fully was the lack of that realised world. I had the figures, I had the rules, but what I didn’t have was the terrain.

So I turned to the good old faithful cardboard box. We’ve had a lot of packages arriving lately, there’s always some mysterious correlation between packages arriving at our house and the end of December. I think cardboard boxes are overlooked for terrain building. They’re often free, pretty sturdy, and if treated nicely will last a lifetime. All of my old Deathzap terrain that got binned when we moved house was cardboard boxes (excluding the church in the centre and the factory in the top right):

I simply started by taping cardboard boxes together in a roughly 2’x2’ formation. Then using my knife I cut them all down to roughly the same height. I then carved in doors and windows and using scrap paper and PVA glue properly fused everything together.

At the point you can see above I’d given up on scrap paper and pva glue and had started encasing the whole thing in modroc.

At the point below I gave up on covering everything with modroc (fearing I was going to run out) and simply focused on those obvious corrugated edges cardboard had. Nothing at this point had warped too badly, but I actually saw any warping as a plus, old buildings and ruins tend to have a warped appearance. If you want to avoid your cardboard warping you can seal of first with a spray varnish.

I then set about texturing and detailing. The outside street areas of the piece were covered in my home made texture paint which is just a mix of sand, pva, no more nails, filler and paint. For the internal areas I cut floorboards or tiles from cereal box card and glued them into place.

I knew I wanted to attempt something a bit fancier with the windows so I cut a basic shape out of cardboard, detailed it a little and covered up those corrugated edges with my cereal box stuff, and then added a roof and window ledge with cut up tongue depressors. They took a little while but I think look decently effective.

Below is a few days from the pictures above. I’ve added large rubble piles in most areas to break larger spaces up a bit. I’ve simply added lollipop stick lintels to the doors but didn’t bother with making something too elaborate like the windows. I think they look effective and we’re very quick to do. I’ve also been adding sand for more rubble and cut up bits of an old sock to represent bits of fabric, maybe old rugs or curtains. At this point I think the more varying textures I can add the better.

I’ve also added a bridge across the central area made of kebab skewers and lollipop sticks. It was quite simple to lay the sticks down dab glue on each one and then lay the skewers on top of the glue. I then left it overnight to dry. in the foreground is a little ladder made in a similar way but with a lollipop stick and match sticks instead. That will serve as the way up to the bridge.

I’m really happy with how everything is coming a long and hopefully will be posting fairly frequent updates on this build. I’m hoping to at least start painting it this evening.

5 thoughts on “Building Darkfell

  1. I’m totally the opposite – I just haven’t got the love for making terrain, though I wish I had.
    When I have turned my hand to it I always think about how many miniatures I could have painted whilst messing around making a few trees or hills.
    Then, on the other hand, I buy some terrain and think, I could have done a better job of this myself – I guess there’s no pleasing some people, lol!
    MDF buildings, though, are becoming quite cheap now and that’s what I’ve been taking advantage of – still struggling to rustle up the enthusiasm to paint them, though.
    What you’ve done here is great. Not only do they look good, they’re made from cardboard boxes… I have loads, all with a certain emblem on the side, if only I could motivate myself…

  2. I too have been hit by the cardboard bug this year. The double thickness stuff is excellent and so easy to work with. I just haven’t managed to get it painted yet!

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