Tudor War Game Terrain Ruin

If you are anything like me, before you even start making scenery you will have quite a full 'bits box' of pieces culled from the sprues etc. of figures and vehicles that you have already made. When you get in to scenery making, its time to take this to a new level. Get yourself a big box or other suitable storage container – you'll need it. Start collecting what to other people may seem like rubbish, but to you, with your terrain makers eyes and a bit of imagination, its part of the alien factory, or an outpost or a medieval village. Anything and everything may have a use – before it goes in the bin (or recycling these days) cast you eye over it – does anything get sparked in your imagination? Give free reign to your inner child, rediscover that imagination you had then. Great wargames scenery comes first and foremost from ideas – no matter how good you are at building it, it is the truly imaginative pieces that stand out. Get used to thinking of things in a new light – does that thing you are about to throw out remind you of anything? Is it reminiscent of  Eldar or Tau architecture (for you 40K players)? I recently hoarded (or stored for later use) the plastic tray some quarter pounder burgers had come in – it looked like a pair of missile launch pads or mini landing pads for jet bikes to me.
Cardboard from cereal packets is also great, card board tubes, a plastic cookie tray – all these things can have their uses (the cookie tray looked like a mini- hanger to me). Look at other ordinary things in a new light too – a trip round a DIY / hardware store can also prove fruitful.
Copper piping and associated fittings can be, well, piping on a wargames terrain piece – perfect for a pipeline across your board. What about a pumping station to go with it? Still in the plumbing section, what about plastic waste pipes? They make good tubular storage tanks, tunnels or (cut in half) culverts. The little copper joint sections used for joining two sections of copper pipe (via soldering, not compression joints) make quite convincing oil drums with a piece of car or plastic card cut for the end(s). While in the store, check out the electrical section too. Plastic earth sleeving is usually sold in various gauges – it is effectively a PVC pipe designed to be slipped over bare copper wiring and it makes great flexible pipes, hoses or cables, depending on its size. Quite cheap too for the amount you get. In the gardening section, what about thin wire to represent, well, wire. Loop it round a suitable pen to make coils. Whilst not exactly barbed wire, it is pretty effective. Whilst in the garden section, what about wooden plant stakes – cut and sharpened to make palisades or cut and piled up for logs. It may be cheaper than balsa wood dowels. Gravel is also useful – coming in various sizes from pea gravel upwards it can be used to represent rocks in your scenery pieces. Whilst there check out the sand – play sand or kiln dried block paving sand makes great texturing material or sand for bases. Talking of bases, get your hardboard or thin MDF to make the bases for your wargames scenery pieces here too.
When you've finished in the DIY store, what about the local pet store? Cat litter makes good small rocks for terrain bases, as does aquarium gravel (I'd pick a more neutral colour if you  are intending to paint it) and plastic aquarium plants make very good jungle plants or alien plants. They can be a lot cheaper through a specialist supplier than you have to pay GW for their plastic plants (which are aquarium plants anyway).
If you've got a 'Poundland' or similar cheap (they are stores in the UK where everything is £1) store, its worth looking through what they have for inspiration  too. They often have cheap toys – tanks etc. could make good wrecks for your battlefield terrain.
Stuff to make interesting and great looking terrain is everywhere, if you just train your mind look at things in a different light. Much of it is cheap, even more is free – it just requires a bit of a hoarders mentality and some imagination. Just don't over do the hoarding – I won't be held responsible for any divorces occasioned by too much 'rubbish stored in the spare room' or some such – or indeed for any hapless gamers trapped in their houses by falling rubbish...
Enjoy your terrain making, and if you have any suggestions for other everyday  things that can be used in making scenery for your wargames why not let everyone know through the comments?


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