An Attempt at Hills

I hate hills. Well, they’re pretty enough and make for good defensive positions, but none of the ones I actually have in my terrain collection are actually that useful. They can be difficult to transport, never the right size, and figures never balance on them.

Felt hill on the right, proper hill on the left.

I have been using bits of light green felt to mark out hills. These are eminently transportable, but don’t look great. I also have some nice looking hills, but they are big, unwieldy, not the right size for the game and figures don’t stand on them easily.

I also have ones in-between, which have no flat surfaces so figures always fall over when you put them on the hill.

So I decided to try making my own. After we had our kitchen re-done, there was some large bits of left over 20mm MDF sitting the skip. So I rescued it, bought a hand saw and a couple of wood files, and tried some woodwork.

I started by sketching out some rough shapes on the board which were about the right size. Small hills in Saga should fit into a 20x20cm square, and large hills into a 30x30xm square. I started with a small hill, sawing it roughly into shape.

This was somewhat harder than I’d expected (especially without any proper woodworking table, vices or other tools which are useful for this sort of thing), but I ended up with something about right. Then it was time for a rough wood file, to get the rounded corners, give it an incline and to get it down to the right size.

Finally, a bit of spray paint to give it some colour. I tried a brown spray for the edging, but that turned out to be the same colour as the wood, and it still looked like wood. So I’ll do the edge in a different shade of green, and use flock on the top.

The idea is that the hills be be relatively flat, so should stack nicely for transportion. Figures can stand on them, and with a relatively narrow edge it should make it easier to determine whether a figure is ‘up’ the hill or ‘down’ the hill.

I might do double height ones with rocky grey edging to denote impassable hills. But first I need to finish this one and see how it comes out. I was thinking of trying to cut a gully through the underside of it. Where we play, we use two ‘dining’ tables stuck together. They have a lip around their edges, which means you end up with a hard ridge across the middle of the battlefield. Inflexible terrain pieces (like hills) don’t sit easily on that. It would ‘just’ need a few millimetres to be able to straddle the table join, then some vegetation at the edge to hide it.

I have enough MDF to do a dozen or more of these, depending on size. First, I need to finish this first one and see how well it turns out.

In other news, I ordered some 6mm modern figures from Heroics & Ros. My current 6mm collection is a randomly collection of SciFi, and is difficult to build coherent armies out of it. Since I’m looking to build near-future rather than far-future SciFi armies, starting off with some modern vehicles might be a good basis for some Dirtside gaming. I can always then supplement with VTOLs or and other more futuristic things.

Samuel Penn