Sunday, April 1, 2012

Terrain Tiles: Roads

Continuing my "how I did it" posts for my terrain tiles - today I'll go through making the road sections.

All the finish stages (paint, flock, clear) are the same.  The only difference is the road surface and finish.

I mark the area (roughly) where the road will be.   I then spray paint that area with a brown paint - a shade you want to show as the shadow or base when you scratch in the ruts in the surface.   I use Rustoleum flat brown spray paint (from Home Depot!).  

After that area is dry, use a pencil to mark out the boundaries of the road.  My roads are 1.5" wide.  Make 'em however wide you want.   In my opinion, most wargame roads are way way too wide.  1.5" fits my stand width and is acceptably wide to my eye.

Next, apply a bead of caulking to the marked out area.   I use Dap Dynaflex 230, Cedar Tan.  This is a great color because it doesn't need any repainting, and its a nice neutral road color.  Check out the photos.   Smooth this out to the marked roadway edges across the width of the tile.  Doesn't have to be real smooth, but you don't want shark fin waves either! 

Now, while still wet, scratch in the ruts.  I use the edge of a craft stick (popcicle stick).  Push down until you pull the caulk away from the brown painted surface below; it leaves a nice dark brown rut that looks great.

Let that dry overnight.   Spray with dullcote to seal the slightly tacky surface.

Next day, I run a bead of yellow carpenters glue along both edges.  While wet, drop on a mix of sand and ballast.   Let that sit until dry.

Mix up a diluted batch of brown paint (I use Anita's Earth Brown acrylic craft paint) and flow that onto the sand/ballast edges.   Let dry.

Now you'll want to highlight the road and ballast.   I drybrush across the road using a cheapo 1"wide brush (from Home Depot!), picking up and emphasizing the surface variations and rut edges.   I use American Driftwood craft paint.   Finish off the road edges as you wish.  I do them with the same colors as with my unit stands so there is a consistency and theme in my collection (drybrush with American Mississippi Mud, Driftwood, paint larger rock areas black, drybrush with 2 to 3 shades of gray).  

As the last step, I add a few blobs of carpenters glue along the ballast/sand edges and stick in some static grass.  Let dry, brush off and highlight with a yellow drybrush.

Finish the grass areas adjacent to the roadways as in my earlier post - roll on paint, sift flock, dry, shakeoff, roll on clear - just on the flocked grass areas.

You're done!

Photos below of the set in progress.  You can also check older posts that show the terrain tiles with roads in a game setting.


  1. These don't look too bad at all Brent. Excellent stuff.

  2. I suppose a similar technique is used for rivers, with a blue base and clear caulk for the water, and the ruts not so deep so that you have ripples but not grooves.

    Groovy water - nobody likes that, man! Ya dig?

  3. Water is similar, but not the same. Still use caulk, but no ruts. I'll post how I do them.

  4. Are you doing these road sections for Car Wars 1/64th scale?
    Looks like you put a lot of work into them!