December 18, 2015

Matt Koltonow Reviews Battlefields in Miniature: Making Realistic and Effective Terrain For Wargames by Paul Davies.

When it comes to my wargaming hobby, terrain has always been a huge motivator. When I first got drawn into this, I was drawn in through Games Workshop’s Lord of The Rings game. One of the first projects I ever did was a 4 foot ruined city board to fight over. My scratch-building took a real hit in favor of painting figures, but every so often I get the urge to build something fancy. Enter in Battlefields in Miniature: Making Realistic and Effective Terrain For Wargames by Paul Davies.

Like most hobby books I began with a quick skim to get an idea of the layout etc. From the moment I opened this one however, I was immediately engrossed. The book is just shy of 300 pages and is chock-full of gorgeous pictures of both terrain and figures of all kinds of different scales. Just from taking a look at the Table of Contents we can see this book covers a ton of different subjects,
Chapter 1 - Welcome to the Workshop 
Chapter 2 - What’s Everyone Else Doing
Chapter 3 - Before You Get Started
Chapter 4 - Terrain Cloths
Chapter 5 - Terrain Tiles
Chapter 6 - Custom or Sculpted Terrain
Chapter 7 - Rivers and Ponds
Chapter 8 - Islands, Cliffs and Hills
Chapter 9 - Trees
Chapter 10 - Walls
Chapter 11 - Fences and Screens
Chapter 12 - Hedges
Chapter 13 - Gates
Chapter 14 - Cultivated Fields
Chapter 15 - Roads
Chapter 16 - Bridges
Chapter 17 - Defences
Chapter 18 - Buildings

Spread out across these 18 chapters are a whopping 25 different projects ranging from a rather simple stone wall to a complex wooden bridge. The author covers the usual materials list and basic tools and then jumps right in to discuss various approaches to the hobby of scratch building terrain. In the intro chapters 1-3 there are good explanations of tools as well as different materials and the reasons for using them. Chapter 2 in particular stood out to me for it’s eye candy and thoughtful dissection of various methods.

Continuing to dive into the book, the author breaks up the bulk of the book into categories. Most of these chapters begin with an explanation of some various options for whatever the chapter is on, then moves on to a project to build your own. These projects are all very easy to follow and appear to produce great results. With very few minor exceptions, all the tools and materials used seem to be easy to obtain.

Examining one of the chapters in more detail, the Roman Hill Fort in Chapter 17 caught my eye. When i get more free time, I’ll definitely be trying this tutorial out. Something i found very interesting about it is that everything is to scale with the size of a figure as opposed to using set measurement for each project. This means working in other scales shouldn't be too much of a problem assuming you have a figure on hand for reference.

The book approaches terrain and scenery building the way it should be approached, as a hobby of its own. The high quality photos and solid writing make following along very easy and even from just skimming around the book, I have an immediate desire to get back to building my own scenery. I completely recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in terrain 

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