Building the Battlefield
How You Can Build Terrain for Star Wars: Legion with Everyday Items
The battles of Star Wars™: Legion rage on innumerable worlds, from iconic planets such as Hoth and Scarif to other far flung locations across the galaxy. Wherever your fight takes you, adding terrain can strengthen your games' narratives, drawing you deeper into the Star Wars galaxy. For The Legion Academy and TheTerrainStudio's Shawn Morris, inspiration for terrain can be found in everyday household objects. You have that power, too, and today he'll help you discover how you can create terrain out of things you likely have lying around your home right now!
My friends, terrain is everywhere. It's the pickle jar in your refrigerator; it's the packing materials your new vacuum came in; it's even your leftover spray bottle. Keep a close eye on the random things around your house and because they're often a gold mine of terrian-creating supplies! When you know where to look, you can use less than epic objects to create some truly exceptional landscapes. Here are five things to consider as you take stock of what's already available to you.
1. Durability: Will your chosen object withstand the pressures of gameplay or other hobby related tasks? There's a big difference between a showcase diorama and a piece of wargaming terrain. Can you stack it? Glue it? Bend it? Does it warp when glue/heat is applied or will it break under force? What is it made from? Plastic, glass, composite, rubber, PVC? Does it have the ability to be broken down into smaller components? Think about your needs are decide, will this thing endure the journey ahead?
2. Weight: If you're looking to make construction as easy as possible, then you're looking for lightweight materials. Ask yourself, can you use plastic instead of glass? Can you use wooden veneer rather than actual wood? Can I remove anything from my object to reduce weight? Be sure to also consider your adhesive, as some will add more weight than others. While your needs and circumstance will dictate how much of priority weight is, making everything easier to build, move, and store will always add value to your creations.
3. Compatibility: The selection of materials needs to be complimentary to your process and desired result.This should include the compatibility of materials adhering to one another as well as textual compatibility. Put plainly, you're safe to assume that most plastics will adhere to one another. The same goes for anything with a wood composition. Metals and glass don't adhere as well and should mostly be avoided. Your materials will mostly be selected based on their texture, so finding compatible textures should be easy.
4. Shape: It's likely that you'll begin and and end with this one alone. The initial shape or structure is important, but it does lend to some valuable follow up questions. Can you manipulate or add to the foundational shape of the object? Can you change, adapt, or the reshape it easily? It’s rare to find that perfect it, so don’t be deterred by an object that takes a little work to become the right shape. The time you invest in modifying an object should be weighed against the time you are willing to continue searching for a better fit.
5. Availability: The availability of “found objects” can be fleeting, and you'll have to make some tough decisions to find the materials that work the best for you. It's not practical to keep everything and found objects can easily turn into trash if you hold on to everything. You need to have a purpose or plan on how to use the objects you keep. You also need to know how to source in the future. The reliability of finding that “identical” item weeks, months, or years down the road is a challenging endeavor. Take my advice, if you find something you like and can envision using it on future builds, collect as much as you can. Did I need 1000 stir sticks, no, but they are so valuable I cannot risk not having them in the future.
This brings me to the end of my terrain tale, but hopefully only the beginning of yours. The criteria I use, while not exhaustive, is a great starting place for anyone looking to venture into found object terrain making. Please remember that, regardless of budget, the ability to acquire and use found objects is always aided by vision and imagination.
Thanks Shawn! For more information on Star Wars: Legion, including painting guides, rules information, and other support materials, be sure to check out our Star Wars: Legion page!