My favorite parts about playing Warhammer® as a child were the DIY projects, and none more so than building model terrain pieces. Miniature elves and goblins would maneuver around trees, hills, and ruins for tactical advantage. Recently I decided to apply what I remembered to build a natural house ( earthship ) model. It’s been a really fun token to have around for inspiration!
This DIY home project utilizes techniques that are very simple, safe, and loads of fun. The financial costs aren’t too bad – especially if you already have some of the common items like paint, paintbrushes, etc. Most everything can be found at Walmart, though you may have to swing through a hobby store to grab terrain flock. Expect the project to last several days as there will be plenty of waiting for materials to dry.
• Elmer’s Glue
• Sand / Dirt
• Modeling Clay (optional)
• Sticks / Toothpicks / Popsicle Sticks
• Hot Glue, Super Glue, & Spray Glue (optional)
• Paints & Paintbrushes
Step 1: Make Your Shapes
The first thing to do is cut out all your shapes. Foam board makes great natural-looking hills and rocks if you tear it. For walls and structures, strong paper that holds together is ideal: cardboard, thick paper, and foam board work well. Toothpicks and all those other tiny shapes can be integrated for any number of purposes. I used mine as window trim around the earthship greenhouse, but you can build fences, doors, chimneys, pathways – the sky is the limit! Everything can be glued together using hot glue, super glue, Elemer’s glue, or whatever glue you prefer.
Step 2 : Sand Putty Mixture
Mix together a combination of water, sand, and elmer’s glue. The more sand and glue you add, the thicker the mixture will be. I just eye-balled it and added very small quantities at first. You can always add more, so it’s easier to start small until you’re familiar with it. Thicker mixtures mold easier into larger chunks, while soupy textures work better for filling cracks or creating surface textures. This combination will be your bread-and-butter for any earthy surfaces.
For larger pieces of terrain that need bulkier shaping, I prefer to combine modeling clay together with the sand putty mixture. It holds it’s form very well and creates a natural looking surface when it drys. Many of my DIY projects start out overly ambitions. The above images are from my first attempt, which I ended up abandoning in favor of something more manageable. Here’s the next earthship model immediately after completing Step 2:
Step 3: Paint
For outdoor scenes, I’ve found that painting a solid primer of black or brown works best. Water down your primer when you need it to seep into those hard-to-reach places. After the primer has dried, it’s time to paint on your colors! The ground looks great with a hodgepodge of greens, browns and yellows in preparation for the flock. Some people like to advance to Step 4 while the paint is still wet. Personally, I prefer to wait until it’s all dried first.
Step 4: Flock
Cover parts of the landscape using the spray glue. Alternatively you can paint on a watered down glue, or rely on undried paint coats. These gluey patches are where you’ll sprinkle on the flock. For my model I chose a combination of greens (which I sprinkled generously) with light patches of browns, yellows, and super fluffy grass-looking flock.
That’s really all there is to it! Please join our newsletter to receive updates whenever DIY projects like this are posted. If you end up creating your own model earthship, please be sure to leave a link below so we can check it out.