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40k Terrain – Tools of the trade

Before you start making 40k terrain, you’re going to need to acquire some basic tools and materials. Terrain making tools are used to sculpt and construct your works of art for your 40k battlefields; the materials are what you work on to make it all. This post will focus on tools.

You need just a few basic tools to start. Large brushes, a ruler or straight edge, some hobby knives, and a saw or moderate sized serrated knife should do it. As you progress to more advanced techniques, you may find it useful to have a foam cutter or hot knife, heat gun, glue gun, paint rollers, and maybe some light power tools.

Here’s a list of basic tools:

n Brushes – a wide range of sizes and conditions

n Pots and buckets – These are terrain projects and many will be big—so think big for water and mixing pots. For some things, you’ll definitely need buckets

n Masking tape – Blue tape or green frog tape

n Paint palette – Again, think bigger than you would for painting army models — an old dinner plate is ideal

n Metal straight edge – preferably a ruler or even a square

n Sand paper – several sheets of medium- and coarse-grain sand paper; you might want to get a sanding block and maybe even some foam sandpaper pads

n Craft knifes – I like having Exacto style knives and also retractable carpentry or carpet knife

n Scissors – preferably some pretty heavy duty ones

n Tweezers – Invaluable when using super glue to fasten small parts to other parts…. You probably have figured that out already.

n Clippers – good grade wire cutters that can cut metal

n Needle nose pliers – Sometimes tweezers just don’t do the job. Also useful for bending metal.

n Permanent markers – be creative and use your color of choice

n Fret or key-hole saw – lots of choices here, but something that can easily cut out free form shapes in wood and possibly metal

n Pen drill – some craft knives can double as a pen drill

n Glue – PVA glue, spray adhesive, super glue, plastic glue, wood glue, and maybe something like Liquid nails

b5c287d4354df79 40k Terrain – Tools of the trade

The more advanced or specialist tools could be endless, but here’s a few (oh – and it includes POWER TOOLS! How cool is that?):

n Foam cutters – There are a wide variety of these, but I like the hot wire kind of foam cutter. An extension cord is a nice accessory here.

n Hand sander – Not much to say about hand sanders…

n Cordless Jigsaw – Make sure to have a mix of blades for cutting a variety of materials. And if you’re cutting MDF, make sure to have a dusk mask and blades with as high a teeth count as you can find. MDF can contain formaldehyde.

n Rotary drill – For drilling and grinding and cutting. A wide range of bits and blades is good. This is one area you might not want to skimp on – I use my Dremel an aweful lot.

n Cordless drill – Sometimes you need big holes so you need a real drill; drill bits, of course, are helpful to use the drill.

n Hole punch or awl – Something to poke holes with – it’s also useful to create a mark to start your drill bit.

n Utensils – Yes, utensils. A fork is useful for roughing up foam and a serrated knife makes rough cuts that can be more realistic than what a hobby knife or hot foam cutter can make.

n Files – small and large for wood and metal

n Clamps, weights, and rubber bands – for holding things together while letting glue dry

n Heat gun – For some uses, a hair dryer may be sufficient, but for others you really need something that can blow really hot air for extended periods

n Razor saw with miter block

n Sculpting tools – large and small, and make sure they are suitable for the kinds of medium you will be using

n Natural and artificial sponges and scrubbing pads – for various painting techniques

n Paint rollers and pan – For large projects – painting multiple 40k game boards, for example – rollers are much more versatile than brushes. For 40k terrain projects, I actually like to have used rollers

n Air brush – with variable spray and if you’re going to be doing lots of large projects, a small compressor will turn out really nice

n Glue gun – I don’t use one often, but you might

n Hammer – a small one should be sufficient; and it will be rarely used, but you never know.

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There are always more things you can use. If you’re putting your game boards on wood, you may need a circular saw. Drilling lots of holes in metal might require a drill press. But, for this more esoteric stuff, maybe you can bring your project to a friend’s house and use their stuff. And, there are some things you may find you just don’t like using. For example, I’ve never used a glue gun on a 40k terrain project. Another thing is that batter powered tools are nice; mine aren’t, but I really wish they were.

And there are advanced projects like making plaster or resin molds and then casting models. This requires some additional tools; maybe we’ll cover those someday, too.

You only need to acquire stuff as you can actually use it. To make a basic battlefield and some hills and woods take only a few very inexpensive items. You really can make fantastic 40k scenery very inexpensively – so you have more money to buy miniatures and go to tournaments!

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Sunday, August 29th, 2010 at 7:37 pm • 40k building, 40k scenery, 40k terrain, warhammer 40kRSS 2.0 feed • leave a response or trackback

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