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Senior Member
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys. This post is the result of a previous thread called Resources-Help! Loads of people responded suggesting things they find useful when making terrain. I've spent a few hours reformatting it and posting it here. Some of these items were my ideas, but most were from other people, namely:

bugbait_nz, Canew, Shonuff, RexTalon, omgitsduane, Zeewulf, Colray, r_h_knight, thekinetic and pentagathus

I wish much Rep to them!

Hope this is useful, it took longer than i expected and the items at the end may be a bit rushed. My apologies for that.

Name: Balsa Wood

Description: Strong and lightweight wood (although ironically officially a hardwood). Used in many model-making scenes. Easy to cut with a saw, or even a knife. Sold in sheets on in bags of various sized blocks. The same is also true of woods like pine but these are much harder to work with.
Use: Useful for bulky part of a model or adding wood details. When cut into strips makes excellent ‘planks’.
Source: Craft Stores, Model Stores, hobby craft Amazon

Name: Broom Heads

Description: The ends of brooms and brushes. Often available without the handle.
Use: When cut off the head can be glued to bases to give the impression of long grasses. Can be glued to walls and roofs to simulate thatching or woven materals.
Source: DIY store, Home store, Wilkinson.

Name: Card Making Jewels

Description: Various coloured and shaped gems and jewels, normally with flat or even sticky backs. Intended to be used to add sparkle and bling to a card.
Use: Eldar spirit stones to Eldar themed scenery.
Source: Craft Stores, Hobby Craft.

Name: Cardboard
Description: Stiff, thick paper. Easy to work with and cut, bendable and works with a huge range of glues.
Use: Useful for adding detail to foamboard, Plasticard and corrugated card structure, or at a push forming them itself. Huge number of uses.
Source: Incredibly ubiquitous material available to buy from stationers and art/craft shops but salvageable from a whole host of packing boxes.

Name: CD/DVD

Description: Compact disks, i.e. the round things you get music, films and computer programs on ;)
Use: Make convenient strong round bases for smaller projects. You need to find something to fill the hole in the middle with (bit of Plasticard or the model itself?).
Source: Old scratched CD can usually be scrounged and often come in magazines and papers. I suppose you could buy them blank forma computer shop, but unwanted ones are so ubiquitous it does not seem necessary.

Name: Centre Punch/Leather punch off cuts

Description: Various tools designed for cutting holes in material tend to produce small disks from those materials. When used on card and plasticard make small card an plasticard disks.
Use: Rivets!
Source: DIY store, Haberdashers, Craft Stores.

Name: Chipboard/Particle Board

Description: A reconstituted sheet material made of wood chips and lots of resin glue. Incredibly heavy and very strong with no grain or directional weaknesses.
Use: Table construction and possibly basing at a push. Too unwieldy and difficult to work with to use for much else.
Source: DIY store such as B&Q in the UK

Name: Clocks and Watches

Description: Old watches are a source of cogs.
Use: cogs make great details for adeptus mechanicus and techmarine structures.
Source: Garage sales, second hand shops, ebay.

Name: Clump Foliage

Description: A fibrous material, sold in small clumps and available in a range of green and autumnal colours. Usable as a manmade alternative to lichen.
Use: Glued to the base of your model to create ground cover or to tree armatures to make trees. Smaller lumps can be used in a similar way to flock when denser cover is needed.
Source: Model Stores, HobbyCraft, Woodland Senics, Skullcrafts, Gale Force 9.

Name: Copper Wire

Description: Copper wire bough as such or stripped out of electrical cables. A bendable metal, easy to manipulate to desired shapes. Attachable with superglue.
Use: Pretty much wherever some sort of pole or pipe is needed. Makes good ‘concrete reinforcement cables’ when sticking out of the edges of Foamboard buildings. Guitar wire makes and alternative for some pipes and cables.
Source: Any electrical or DIY shop, or any spare cables you have lying around.

Name: Copper/Aluminium Tubes

Description: Intended for use in plumbing or model car making situations. Available from couple of cm water pipes to couple of mm modelling pipes. Can be cit with pipe cutter, or in the case of the thinner tubes, wire cutters. Plastic (styrene) pipes are probably more suited to us.
Use: Whenever a pipe is needed on a model, or for making poles etc.
Source: DIY store, Haberdashers, Craft Stores.

Name: Corrugated Card

Description: A sheet material formed from 3 or more layers of thick paper, with the middle layer(s) corrugated/ridged. While it lacks the strength of MDF, Hardboard or Foamboard it is thicker and more resilient than cardboard and incredibly cheap. Corrugated card has a tendency to bend along the ridges, but is remarkably strong in the other direction. Most non plastic glues work.
Use: Useful for forming the basic carcass of a building. At a push it can be used as a basing material but it lacks the strength of the more expensive alternatives. A way also needs to be found to fill the holes that are left along the edges.
Source: Bought form stationers or more commonly obtained form dismantling packing boxes

Name: Dolls House Parts & Templates

Description: Pre made parts or templates for doors, windows etc intended for dolls houses. Normally of a larger scale to warhammer.
Use: Useful for more monumental sized buildings.
Source: Craft Stores.

Name: Elctrical outlet boxes

Description: White plastic moulded boxes inteded for mounting electrical outles in. Hard and brittle and a pain to get paint to stick to, but cheap, solid and interesting shapes.
Use: Any boxy structure, which you can then embellish with details. Often have interest mounded shapes you can incorporate.
Source: DIY store, Electricians, Screwfix.

Name: Electric Components

Description: The numerous gubbins found when you pull an electrical appliance apart (obviously an old unused one that’s not plugged in!). Transistors, heat sinks, transformers etc
Use: Scaled up these make interesting shaped for buildings, generators, transformer stations and surprisingly giant electrical details.
Source: Old electrical equipment, easily found at the local dump or when you throw out an old computer etc.

Name: Flock

Description: Coloured particles, generally green designed to simulate grass. Can be made up of stained sawdust, foam particles or fibres called static grass. Static grass is particularly useful since the charge makes each fire repel each other making them all stand on end and simulate grass in a convincing way. Companies aiming for the model railway market sell flock in larger quantities and at cheaper prices than GW (ie Woodland Senics)
Use: Sprinkled over PVA glue applied to the base of models and tables to simulate grass. Often worth painting the base green or brown first as he base will show through. Apparently a coating of hairspray helps secure the flock.
Source: Craft shops, Model shops, Woodland Senics, Skullcrafts, Gale Force 9 and GW.

Name: Foamboard

Description: AKA Foamcore. A layer of foam sandwiched between two layers of cardboard or paper and available in various sizes and thicknesses. Much lighter than wood or MDF, much thicker than card and more resilient and smooth than corrugated card. Can be cut with a knife, although it must be sharp or the foam rips. Also beware that the foam core will melt when it contacts with plastic glue, spray cans etc.
Use: Very useful for making the carcass of a building. Unless cut very neatly the edges may need filling with some form of filler. Can be glued together with PVA glue and superglue can be used on the paper parts. Could at a push be used a basing material but lacks the resilience of MDF or Hardboard.
Source: Art or Craft shops such as HobbyCraft in the UK

Name: Fur Fabrics

Description: Materials covered in fake fur.
Use: Can be used to simulate fields of crops or long grass, or can be used as an effective stand-in for a thatched roof. Especially effective when pva glue is combed in
Source: Haberdashers, Craft Stores.

Name: Gravel/Fine rubble

Description: Varying sized chunks of rock and plaster. Can come in smaller bags from pet shops stocked in builders yards or garden centres or can be bought in small amounts from GW
Use: Used much like sand (and mixable with sand) to provide texture to models. Can be painted to represent rocky land or piles of debris and rubble
Source: DIY store, Pet shops, Aquatic stores, GW.

Name: Guitar Wire

Description: The wire strings from a guitar or bass. Not available in the range of sizes of copper wire, but bend more evenly and has a great texture to it.
Use: Like copper wire useful for piping and tubing details.
Source: Music stores.

Name: Hardboard

Description: AKA high density fibreboard. A manufactured board like MDF. Dense and very strong for its size. Available in a variety of sizes although does not seem to be available in the larger thicknesses MDF can be found in.
Use: Primarily a basing material, although like MDF it ban be used as a construction material for the actual model, although products such as Foamboard make a much easier and lighter (if less durable) alternative.
Source: DIY stores such as B&Q in the UK, pulled off the back of old cabinets and shelf units.

Name: Junk Packaging]

Description: Everything from juise bottles to vacume moulded packaging. Come in a bwilering array of sizes and shapes.
Use: Can be used to make a bewildering array of models. Look at the item and think, if that was massive what would it look like, then use plastcard and the other detailing item to make it so.
Source: Your own rubbish bin/trash can (or preferably just before it gets that far).

Name: MDF sheet

Description: Medium Density Fibre Board is a man made wood with no grain and a very smooth surface. Very stable, does not warp or twist much and is very strong. Can be bought in sheets of various sizes and thinness.
Use: Mainly useful for basing models but also thin bits can be used for constructing a model itself, although this will produce a very heavy piece.
Source: DIY superstores such as B&Q or HomeBase in the UK

Name: Metal Mesh

Description: Sheets of metal meshes/grids. I think intended for making radiator enclosure and vent covers. Similar products can be found in car shops for reairing car bodies. Can be cut with wire cutters, slowly link by link which leaves a very sharp edge. Can be bent if necessary. Some Door/Wondow screening can be used to similar effects.
Use: Makes excellent chain link fences, texturing for floors or vent covers.
Source: DIY shop such as B&Q in the UK, in the section with the radiator cover material (i.e. varyingly ornate metal and wood meshes and grids). Car shops.

Name: Modroc

Description: Quick drying plaster of Paris on a fabric strip. Looks a little bit like roll of bandages.
Use: Can be used for building up shapes (such as cliffs) like a tougher form of paper-mâché or an easier to work with form of plaster. Can also be sued to texture existing structures.
Source: Craft shops such as HobbyCraft in the UK

Name: Paper-Mâché

Description: Pieces of paper, often news paper ripped up into small bits, layered together with a paste or watered down PVA glue. Reasonably tough. Can be built up on a sacrificial shape like a balloon or over an existing structure.
Use: Can be sued to build up most shapes from hills to wizards towers. Cheap, adaptable but somehow always hard to hide its origins with its wrinkled look.
Source: Newspaper form a newsagents or free paper. PVA glue from an art shop or wallpaper paste form a DIY shop.

Name: Plaster

Description: Wall plaster, Plaster of Paris, or alternatively powder mix filler. Comes as a powder to which you add water and forms a thick liquid mix. Can be chipped and cracked when dry and is very heavy.
Use: Great for building up bases, covering polystyrene walls and then carving in details/battle damage. Can also be used to fill rubber moulds for repeatedly producing items such as Ornate pillars.
Source: Craft store, art store, DIY store, Hirst Arts

Name: Plastic (styrene) Tubes and Rod

Description: Similar to plasticard, but formed into tubes and rods. Like plasticard it is easy to cut and glues well with plastic glue.
Use: Whenever a pipe is needed on a model, or for making poles etc. Can be chopped up into little bits to make rivets.
Source: Model shops and the internet (Evergreen).

Name: Plastic Fish Tank Plants

Description: Plastic replicas of aquatic plants intended to liven up a fish’s home. Sold in sets and available representing a variety of plants and weeds.
Use: Strongly resemble jungle undergrowth and plants (and sold by GW as such). Can be based on mass to make jungle forests/difficult terrain, or cut up and used to embellish other model’s bases. Only real problem is they are deigned to be used on mass or half buried in gravel so the bottoms are not as realistic as the top halves. Home plastic house plants can also be used to represent giant leaved plants.
Source: Pet shop, Aquatic Centre or more expensively GW hobby stores.

Name: Plastic Hangers

Description: Plastic cloths hangers that have a T or I shaped crossection.
Use: When the middle strut of these hangers is cut away it resembles a reinforced steel jay and can be stuck under the floors of models form some added realism.
Source: Home stores, clothes shops.

Name: Plastic turf

Description: Plastic grass used in butchers displays etc or wherever a grass effect is needed without the mud.
Use: Wherever grass the half the height of a man is needed, i.e. long grass, shrubs/bush land.
Source: DIY store.

Name: Plasticard

Description: AKA Styrene Sheets. Usually sold in A4 sheets of varying thickness and looks a lot like cardboard. Very strong, at its thin sizes flexible and rigid at its thicker. A better alternative to cardboard in most cases, but a lot more expensive and hard to find. Works with most glues including plastic glues and combines well with GW products. Can be cut with a sharp knife. Also available in pre textured forms such as brick or roof tiles.
Use: Basing, forming structures, adding details etc. Can be used to extend GW’s plastic terrain. With the proper skills or template can make hugely complex items and is remarkably durable.
Source: Specialist model shops, ebay. Actually quite hard to find compared to some of the other sheet materials.

Name: Polystyrene (Low Density)

Description: A very light but crumbly sheet material. Generally made form expanded polystyrene beads, has a tendency to break back down into the beads when cut. Can be cut with a sharp knife or even a bread knife if you don’t mind a mess, but is best worked don with a hot wire cutter (in e ventilated area of course). Note both forms of expanded polystyrene melt if you try to use plastic glues or certain spray paints on them, so a brush applied primer is necessary. Best glue to use is PVA.
Use: Can be used as a cheap and easily obtained alternative to high density polystyrene. Useful wherever bulk is important and lightness is useful, such as forming the playing surface of a gaming table, constructing hills or piles of rubble.
Source: Packed around delivered items or bought from DIY shops, especially in ceiling tile form.

Name: PVC Piping

Description: Long lengths of plastic pipes normally used for drainage etc. Available in a variety of sizes form electrical trunking, to water pipes to drainage pipes.
Use: Can be used to represent large pipes and any cylindrical structure. Makes a nice alternative to the oft-maligned loo roll tube.
Source: DIY store, plumbers, electricians.

Name: Sand

Description: Tiny bits of stone ;) Comes in various sized granules from sharp builders sand to soft children’s play sand.
Use: Texture, whether for bases or the walls of models. Can be sprinkled over PVA, mixed with glue or mixed with paint to make a textured paint. Can also be mixed with the various other texture materials such as gravel.
Source: DIY stores, garden centres, craft stores, children’s toy shops (Notably ELC in the UK). Naughty to steal from the seaside.

Name: Toys

Description: Old children’s toys, action figures and building etc. IN some cases LEGO as well.
Use: Many toys, although the wrong scale, when cut up, embellished and repainted can be made to look like a variety of warhammer and 40K buildings and vehicles. Toy animals like lions make useful statues while LEGO can be used to bulk out and support a model if it is then covered up with plasticard etc.
Source: Toy shops, garage sales, car boot sales, charity shops.

Name: Wooden Dowel

Description: Long thin poles of wood. Can only really be cut with a saw. Very tough and reasonably flexible. Comes in sizes thicker than its plastic alternatives and can be cheaper but is much harder to work with.
Use: Poles, lampposts or any thin cylindrical detail. In smaller sizes plastic rod or tube is probably better.
Source: DIY Store

Name: Wooden Mouldings

Description: Shaped strips of hard or soft wood, designed of adding details to wooden items or as gazing beading. Cheap, cuttable with a saw and available in a variety or interesting cross-sections.
Use: Adding detail in strips, curbs, rooflines etc. Also since they dent to have two flat sides at 90 degrees that can be used to reinforce corners.
Source: DIY store.

Name: Lichen

Description: A plant product sold to the model railway makers. Never goes hard so can’t be painted or secured particularly well.
Use: Glued to the base of your model to create ground cover or to tree armatures to make trees.
Source: Model Stores, Craft Stores (ie HobbyCraft) Internet (ie Woodland Scenics).

Mad Modeling Master
669 Posts
My suggestion would be to put some website links at the bottom. Alot of scenery products come from WoodLand Scenics and a link to there website would provide a good place to purchase from. And to maybe include pictures of what some of the materials look like.

Otherwise very nice. Ill send Shonuff a PM about sticking this.

Senior Member
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
My suggestion would be to put some website links at the bottom. Alot of scenery products come from WoodLand Scenics and a link to there website would provide a good place to purchase from. And to maybe include pictures of what some of the materials look like.

Otherwise very nice. Ill send Shonuff a PM about sticking this.
good plans, I will attempt to do so this week :)

oh and thanks guys :D

Senior Member
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
OK, I've put in alphabetical order and added pictures. Next I will put internet links, bump up the text and perhaps put into a more sensible order. Any suggestions would be VERY much appreciated! I'll add any other contributers to the name list at the top.

In particular I would like suggestions of shops, especially online and in the US where I've never been but lots of LOers live ;)

Examples of threads where these materials have been used that I could link to would be nice too.

Also anyone who could explain why my colour tags don't seem to work and any way of making the names bigger would be very much appreciated.
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