Desert Terraforming - Terrain Tutorial

Desert Terraforming - Terrain Tutorial

The Desert War has always intrigued me.  Images of the Deutsche Afrika Korps (DAK) and their Panzers were what fuelled my interest for World War II. So last year I built a desert table for my club to run MW games.


If you have read my recent battle report (DAK Vs Desert Rats), you would have seen the table. It features two 4' x 2' boards and two 2' x 2' boards.  One 4' x 2' is flat for towns and village while the second 4' x 2' features a recessed wadi. The first of the 2' x 2's has a small depression and the last 2' x 2' is also flat.

Terrain pieces include a large escarpment and large dune, both recycled from the cutoffs of the wadi. We also have a few sets terrain from GF9, mainly a Desert Oasis (BB219), the Desert Palms (BB218), a Desert Administration Building (BB224), Ruined Desert Houses (BB230) and a Mosque (BB178)

After looking at some of the pictures on Battlefront's website and in the the Mid-war books, I decided to build tiered terrace. I wanted it to be 'terraform-able' so we could change it around for different games.

Utilising scrap blue foam left from other projects, I roughly shaped out the terrain with a blade cutter and then glued the two levels with PVA glue.

This terrace is made up of 3 sections.  The middle section can be removed to create a shorter terrace.

Then I used the cutter blade to score lines into the edges of the terrace. These line are the fault lines of the rock face. 

With a wire brush, I rubbed the fault lines to remove some material and to smooth out some rough edges to create a more natural look.

Cutting up smaller pieces of foam, I shaped rock structures to provide a little 'cover' for any troop or tank.

With the wire brush, I scored the surface of the blue foam in preparation for the next step. A 50/50 mixture of fine sand and PVA glue was concocted. I thinned it down with a little water to get a 'wet cookie dough' consistency. Using a spatula dipped in water, I spread a thin layer of the mixture over the foam. While the sand mixture was drying, I sprinkled some ballast randomly around to create more varied texture. 

I sprayed the whole piece with black acrylic primer as the next step could possibly eat away the foam.

Using a can of Krylon Stone Fine texture spray, I coated the edges of the terrace where I was unable to coat with the sand and PVA mixture. This provided a hard coating and a rough texture to the foam edges. 

The next two steps involve dry-brushing Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow and Buff Titanium.

And the final result is this unique piece of terrain that should add a lot of tactical options to any commander who can take advantage of it.


Terrace in short configuration

Terrace in Long configuration.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give it a go at sprucing up your desert table.

Share this post...
Previous post Next post


  • Soren Petersen - April 15, 2020

    Great tutorial. I think i’ll give it a go my self. Thanks.

Leave a comment