Saturday, 22 September 2018

Terrain for Gaslands

We've been planning to try out Osprey's Gaslands for some time, so a few of us combined our imaginations, scoured our bit boxes, and found a handful of old hot wheels cars and made some vehicles. With a week to go after Colours before we were due to play we realised we were going to need some terrain - so here's what I put together in seven days, along with a few pictures of the game we played at the end.

I bought a 4 x 4 wasteland mat from Deep Cut Studios at Colours. To be honest it wasn't the mat I was originally looking for but they didn't have that one in the right size so I settled on this. In the end I have no regrets as this was definitely the better choice - the base cloth looks fantastic with the terrain on it. The only issue for me was to colour match the terrain pieces. As you will see I didn't get it perfectly right, but the end result I think looks OK.

The scenario we planned was Death Race. That meant all we really needed was a few race gates and some obstacles of various types. I added some sections of road, some concrete barriers and a couple of areas of hazardous terrain into the mix as well.

Race Gates

I ended up building six gates, though we're probably only going to ever need four. Each was a strip of 3mm MDF with two cylinders made from rolled corrugated card on each side. The start and finish gates had poles (cut from a set of black and white striped pencils bought from Poundland) and the other gates flags made from kebab sticks and masking tape. The card rolls in which these were set were filled with Milliput for strength and topped with sand. The base was textured around the cylinders with filler and sand mix, with the central section just textured with Chinchilla dust.

The general colour for the terrain was a bespoke mix of chocolate brown and a little dark red cheap emulsion paint (tester pots), dry brushed first with a light sand colour and then with a lighter cream colour (again, cheap emulsion testers). The cylinders were painted black and dry-brushed with gunmetal to give the effect of concrete-filled bollards made from corrugated metal. Flags were painted in bright colours with numbers.

I tried various approaches to make the start and finish banners with numerous failures because of the lack of strength of materials or the inability of the glue to stick to them. Finally, I settled on the simpler but less effective solution of printed paper banners with string glued to the top and bottom edges, connected and held firmly between the (pencil) poles by glue and a few blobs of green stuff. They're very solid, and they look OK from a distance. If I get the time I might replace them with something better, but they will do for the moment.

I realised (as some of you will have already, probably) that my design wasn't directional, so I needed some way of indicating the way to enter each gate. The easy solution was to add some signs so I printed out some yellow and black chevrons of the type used to indicate sharp corners an stuck these to sections of wide lolly stick (readily available at very low cost in The Works and other such shops) and glued them to the sides of the gates.

Start and finish gates
Gates #1 - #4
Solid Obstacles

Basically, these are piles of rocks. I cut bases from 3mm MDF, put some PVA-soaked newspaper on top and pushed some stones into it. This sets extremely solidly. When dry these were textured with the base mix and finally painted in the general terrain colours above. Very simple.

Rock piles
Destructible Obstacles

These are road signs and billboards. 3mm MDF bases with signs and boards made from lolly sticks, coffee stirrers and kebab sticks, with some spare tyres added at the edges of some of the bases for effect. Bases painted as above, wood given a thin coat of the sand colour used as the first highlight.

I appreciate that there are signs and billboard posters that are available from the Gaslands web site or Facebook group but I wanted something different so the signs and posters I used were either taken and modified from images available on the Internet or made up by myself. The exception is the advert for the forthcoming 7TV2 Post-Apocalypse Kickstarter from Crooked Dice, which is a reduced sized copy of their flyer. Next month, chaps. I am not the only one to be very excited about this. 

If you want to make your own billboards using these designs, they are available to download as a jpg file here.

Various signs and billboards
Volatile Obstacles

Two of the signs indicate flammable and explosive items, so I made a couple of small bases with 20mm oil drums (from Debris of War) as well.

Danger - explosives

The roads are two straight sections of 3mm MDF, each 24" long so that they will fit perfectly across the base cloth. I made a couple of smaller sections with angled edges so that the road could also run diagonally across the board as well.

I glued a narrower strip of roofing felt to these to be the road surface. This works very well but needs to be weighted down while it dries so that the edges don't curl up. I used a normal household glue to stick this. I made the mistake a year ago of trying to stick roofing felt to MDF using epoxy glue. Do not try this - it melts the felt and makes a horrible mess.

When dry, I carefully added base texture to the edges of the road. These edges were carefully painted so as not to paint the road surface. I was a little less careful with the dry brushing as a little of this on the road surface is fine and just gives the impression of a dusty landscape.

Highway across the wasteland
Concrete Barriers

I'm not quite sure about these, to be honest. I think they would be improved by some graffiti, posters or signs so will probably add to them in due course. However, here they are for the time being. Based as usual on 3mm MDF, these are made from cardboard coated with paper mache and textured. I was going for a sort of concrete wall look and I think they work fine. They could be used as solid obstacles as well as the rock piles, though in the event we didn't use these in our first game.

Concrete barriers
Hazardous Terrain

The easiest of the lot. This is just made from 3mm MFD textured (with an extra sprinkle of small stones) and painted.

Areas of hazardous terrain
More Signs

I made a lot more of the directional indicators than I needed for the gates, so I kept these to use as items of scatter terrain around the circuit. They don't necessarily mean drivers have to follow those directions, of course, but are just there for effect.

Yet more signs
And now that I have all the basic terrain I will add to this slowly as I am inspired!

Our First Game of Gaslands

This was a lot of fun and I was very pleased that my effort in putting the terrain together was not wasted. We were slow, true, and the game was not finished, but that's because there were five of us with two cars each and we were all unfamiliar with the rules. We also probably put the gates too far apart. But we got faster as we played and will doubtlessly continue to do so as we play more.

Some images of our game follow for your entertainment!