Building a battlefield

Following my Chatterton’s Hill game at Partizan I’ve been asked to show how I build the rolling terrain of the AWI under my terrain cloths. Here is a step-by-step of a table I have just put together in my garage. 

Here is my bare table. 8x4 feet composed of three IKEA tables bought many years ago. 

 Here is the scenario map for Spencer’ Ordinary from British Grenadier scenario book #2. 

To make the “lumps and bumps” I use pieces of wood and coir doormats (whole mats and chopped-up pieces). Try to build up several layers for each hill. 

These are then covered with hanging-basket liner bought online from gardening suppliers. 

I then place a few commercial wargame hills to round off some of the crests. These could go under the liner, it makes little difference but the hills pick up less fluff this way. 

The whole thing is then covered with a couple of cloths. These are felt, but use any sort of blanket. Heavier tends to be better. 

The final cloth layer is my sprayed fleece fabric. Spend a bit of time pushing the cloth layers down between the hills rather than being pulled taught between them. 

Another angle:

Next I add roads, streams, fields and buildings. Then comes fences. I’m only approximating the map here. To be closer would need me to extend the table to 8x6. I use duct tape to join the road sections together. 

Now I add trees, patches of long grass and rocks to break up the plain areas. Here are a few shots of the completed battlefield. I’ll now leave this overnight for the cloth to settle down. The photos still don’t fully show the effect of the hills but you should get an idea. 


  1. very effective, must get down to the garden centre end of seaso sales!

  2. Great Effect Steve, more nuanced than the battlefields I tend to set up these days.

    Have you ever used 'teddy bear fur'?

    1. There’s a few patches of teddy bear fur on the table pictured! 👍

  3. Very effective Steve and just the right amount of "roll" to prevent figures falling over.

  4. Looks very nice and is similar to what I do as I find it's the best solution to build tables to various scenario's and still retain a certain level "realism" without all the extra work and space required from modular terrain.



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