I’m happy to be joined on the blog this week for the second time by my Legion (and X-Wing TMG Slack) compatriot and friend PCGamerPirate, who has consistently impressed me with his versatile and cost-effective terrain work.
He wrote this article at my request, and I’m extremely pleased to present it as part of my ongoing Terrain Tutorials series, where we focus on cheap and easy solutions to terrain for the budding hobbyist. If you have questions or just want to say hello, be sure to ping him in the Legion Discord!
Craters are a great piece of scatter area terrain that can add some variety to any battlefield. They don’t block line of sight but they typically provide light cover for units inside them while being difficult terrain to traverse, leading to more interesting strategic choices.
Craters are also incredibly inexpensive to make.
What you’ll need:
- Foam board
- Chip board
- Glue stick
- Mod Podge
- 4 shades of brown
- White glue
1) Cut Your Shapes
First, decide how big you want your crater to be; a good way to do this is to use actual minis. Trace the rough outline on your foam board, like below.
Take your crater and roughly cut the shape out. This will be your inner crater. Then measure and cut a slightly larger circle than the original crater.
Cut a rough star pattern in your inner crater and trace the outer portion onto some chipboard.
Peel all the paper off of the foam board.
2) Glue it All Together
Using a glue stick, glue all your pieces together. Using a glue stick will help prevent warping.
3) Texture the Crater
Cut the center of the crater out using a craft knife, go all the way to the chip board. Widen the hole using your fingers, picking out pieces of foam to make a rough texture. Do this same picking technique on the star pattern of the outside of the crater.
Using your craft knife, bevel the edge of the outer foam.
Next, make a foil ball and roll it around the foam to texture it.
Finally, take scrap pieces you picked out of the foam and scatter it on the foam (using the glue stick to secure it).
Allow this to dry.
Alternatively, you can make the crater shape with ballast and sand.
Using white glue, draw the star burst pattern on your foam and cover in ballast. (Note: I only used one layer of foam this time)
In the center, run your glue back and forth in a circle and cover with sand.
4) Seal in Mod Podge
After letting everything dry, seal the entire crater in mod podge. I mix black paint with my mod podge to add a nice base coat and help mark coverage.
Both pieces will be painted in the same general manner.
You’ll want to use at least 4 shades of brown: khaki, terrestrial beige, brown, chocolate bar. First, base the entire thing in brown using a sponge.
While still wet, do a light sponge of terrestrial beige, then a lighter sponge of khaki. Finally, starting from the center of the crater, do a heavy sponge of the chocolate onto the crater starburst. This simulates darker earth being ejected onto lighter dirt.
Conclude with sponging black and greys in the very center of the crater to make the crater scorched.
If you used sand to texture your crater, you can dry brush the lighter browns instead of sponging.
By painting them in generic browns, these craters work on nearly every kind of terrain. For example, they look like they belong on a grassy field next to Yavin ruins. However, you can further integrate your craters with flocking on the edges.