Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Messing about with the rivers

I've been thinking about making some commercial terrain for a while. I'm a modelmaker and making little terrain is something I love, but I don't have the space to keep everything I want to make. In January I went to Crusade, the Penarth and district wargames show. There was so much hand-made terrain on offer, and so much of it was very basic and very pricey. I decided there and then that I couldn't necessarily make cheaper terrain but I could definitely make nicer terrain for the same price. The challenge was set!

The first thing I decided to do were some rivers. I've been playing around with water effects on my snow terrain and have worked out a good technique for producing good-looking water in a relatively short space of time, important considerations for commercial scenery-making. At first my plan was to resin or plaster cast detailed sculpts and resin work on top of them, but after sculpting the first it became clear that the cost of mouldmaking and casting (not to mention the time) would not make this a viable option. I do still hope to have some of these detailed sections but they will be available as add-ons, not the core river set.

Instead I have opted for a vacuum-formed plastic base for the basic river sections. I can't give away too much of the technique of finishing them at this point, but once the product is out I can show you how it's done and I am looking at the possibility of selling blank sets at a lower price for people to finish themselves.

With the range of surfaces and themes people pick for their boards I could offer endless variation, but I thought it would be fun to stick to four 'seasonal' variations of each terrain piece. I am especially looking forward to doing trees to fit each season. I'm also focusing on fantasy/dark age/natural forms as these fit best with The Woods, but when Factious Waste comes out there may well be buildings and wasteland bits as well. Of course, if you have a particular table which isn't matched by any of the seasonal variations I can do bespoke pieces as well.
The river sets should be available from early May once I've finished 'road-testing' the surfaces and worked out the packaging arrangements. The sets consist of two straight sections (as seen in summer and autumn above) measuring approx. 100mm wide by 200mm long, one ford section (as in the winter photo above) 100mm wide by 200mm long and two 45 degree bends. That's just over 2' of river running straight, with the ability to 'curve' it around a corner of your gaming board more naturally than a 90 degree elbow. Sets will retail for £25 each and will be available from the Oakbound shop. Any suggestions or questions I'd be glad to hear them.



  1. Sounds good to me mate - these should be cracking knowing how much attention to detail you have! I'd certainly be up for a couple of sets :-) Would you consider doing some wider sections perhaps?

    1. I could consider it. Only problem is that to keep costs manageable a set has to fit on one sheet of vacuum form plastic. That means a wider set would be (by necessity) shorter or twice the price.