For me, I got started with building terrain in a trial by fire. 8000 HirstArt bricks for a class of Grade 5 kids. I`d only planned on doing 2000 (still an awful lot) but they proved so popular that every kid in the class wanted one.
Since everyone now had a nice castle, they needed some nice scenery to with it...
So here I am 3 years later with a lot of terrain under my belt.
A few things I`ve found.
1) bricks are slow to build and make.
I lent out my Hirst molds to a friend for his kids and now we dont talk. I dont think he had any idea of the time it takes to make the bricks, let alone glue them together. They are super versatile and fun to build with, just dont expect to build the Great Wall of China in a weekend.
2) terrain building is the ultimate recycling.
Well, maybe not the ultimate, but styrofoam tends to last an awful long time in a landfill if it gets there. But it can last just as long on your tabletop if you carve it into a nifty piece of terrain. The same goes for old pieces of electronics and plumbing. But dont just take my word for it. That advice comes straight from the guys at games Workshop.
3) reality isnt flat
Surprisingly enough, that one took me a while to figure out, as I kept making terrain that just didnt look quite right. I had my grass flock and my foam bushes, but the scenery was flat and boring.  Thats where textures come in.
To get the best look for your terrain, use a variety of different textures and colours on the ground floor. Be random, but with a plan, like nature is. The only drawback to this is that it costs a lot to get set up with all the materials you need. Because these, unlike foamboard, dont get recycled.

9/20/2009 21:09:18

Nice blog! Good information.
I hope you are able to keep it up!
Thumbs up from a fellow teacher!


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