Most of the terrain work I do is MDF kitsets, so these scratchbuilt scifi buildings were a bit of a change. By tarting up old pieces of discarded packaging with some 3D printed details and a paint job I’m now a lot closer to the point where I’ve got enough terrain to fill a table.

Habitation modules

Well, you might know them as “houses”, but that doesn’t sound quite right in sci-fi. I’ve done these in two different styles:

Big ones

These are made from some leftover plastic packaging that’s been embellished with some 3D printed building parts.

To make them a bit sturdier I hot glued the clear plastic parts to an MDF base. I didn’t do a very neat job of this but it’s good enough. The orange stuff you can see inside them in the photo is a load of leftover packing peanuts stuffed into plastic bags. It’s there to make these houses a little more crushproof (hopefully!).

I primed the whole thing to make the surface slightly rough and slathered it all in a mix of plaster and chinchilla dust, while adding the 3D printed parts. I did some ladders so figures can get up on top and make the table a bit more vertical and interesting, and also printed a load of doors, windows and ventilation bits.

They have got kind of a run-down rustic feel to them, so maybe they’ll suit my dusty mat better than the urban board I’m showing them on here, but I have got some ideas for more urban buildings in the pipeline too.

Little Ones

After finishing the larger buildings I felt like they were a bit uniform and needed something else. Suddenly I spotted a couple of containers from a Chinese takeaway in the recycling and inspiration struck! These little round tubs would make a nice smaller building to go with the larger ones.

The work either as small standalone buildings, or an upper level to the big ones. Construction was dead simple: after being hot glued to a wooden base for rigidity I started messing around with some of my scifi building greeblies, blutacking them on to try out combinations. Once I was happy they all got stuck on and I slathered the walls in a mix of ready-mix plaster and chinchilla dust to get rid of that polystyrene texture and make them match the bigger buildings. Painting was the same recipe: a very light spray prime (mostly for the resin detail parts) then the whole thing got a dark brown base coat and then two layers of drybrushing to bring it up to a dusty dirt colour before a quick paint and wash of the details.

Subway entrance

Falling somewhere between scatter and an actual building, this little piece is a 3D print from Thingiverse.

The back of it actually printed slightly wonky, but I managed to salvage it by covering the gap with some plasticard and ali mesh. To further conceal it I added some bin bags piled up out the back. These are just round stones wrapped in actual bin bag and tied off with string, credit to The Terrain Tutor for that tip.

A mate from my club gave me a sheet of Judge Dredd graffiti decals recently and they’re brilliant for grunging-up sci-fi terrain. I printed out a sign and some posters found online to add a bit of interest. Leaving the colour at the grey primer made this a really quick little build and paint, it was really just a wash, quick drybrush and some dirtying up. Easy peasy.