Errhile’s DIY Terrain – Cardbuilding #2

Cardbuilding # 2 – just some walls

I decided to make some walls for starters.

Why walls?

Well, they’re simple to make, and provide effective Line-of-Sight break, as well as Total Cover for our models. Most tables can make use of some walls, don’t they? So, I guess, walls are ideal terrain we can begin with.

I cut off 8 slabs of cardboard, 190 by 60 millimeters. Why these dimensions?


First, I wanted something what will provide Total Cover for Human-sized models, even if they are mounted on scenic bases, and even should they be in some really weird poses.

Second, this dimension is a bit on the short end of 8”, so it may keep players from eye-gauging distances. At least a little bit. Well, man can hope, right…?


Third, and not least important, this is a little less than internal space of the objective room I showed you in Cardbuilding #1, and I want the walls to fit inside. Having limited space to store my terrain, it is better to keep that in mind, and plan your terrain to stack together.

I often use triangular supports (the proper English architectural term would be “abutments” or “buttresses”) to make stuff more solid. Or, in case of walls, keep stuff from toppling over! So, just attach two of these (they’re 50mm tall and 10mm wide – I’ve checked it on different walls, and the size is enough to make them stable)  on either side and let’s call it a day.


Note: the corners of our supports are very narrow and tend to go soft and wavy. Definitely this part will need sealing with some glue!

…well, okay, if I were making terrain in a hurry, for example to fill a table for a tournament, I’d set up for that: just a flat slab, supports to keep it from toppling over, spray some paint on it and that would have to do.

I’d feel somewhat cheap, giving you that as an example of terrain making, though. And not one I’d like to follow myself, oh no.

So – I cut another slab, 6mm more narrow but just as tall (patience, it will all get together in time), to glue it onto the basic one. Well, two of them – one of each side of the basic slab. Sure, slab on a slab is not much interesting, therefore I made up niches (50mm tall, 50mm wide) in the external slabs. Now, I could glue them together, and add supports. And I’ll get generous with these, I have loads of spare supports – each 50x50mm niche provides me with a material for 10 of these!


…well, maybe not.

I glued those slabs with niches on them onto the ones without niches. Yup, the effect I wanted – some three-dimensional features. We’re almost done. Now, we need some buttresses / abutments / triangular supports to keep the wall from falling over.

Here’s an important bit – I can’t cut the cardboard 100% straight. From what I got from Mark C (and he makes breathtaking cardboard terrain), he does have his share of problems with this, too. So, don’t expect yours to be perfect in that department either. Let’s work around it, then – as I wanted my wall supports to be as straight as I could, I cut some beams (from one of the 50×50 slabs) to fit on the wall and make nice 90-degree straight corners for my buttresses. As you can see, since the central part of the wall was 46mm wide, and the cardboard I use is 3mm thick, I needed 40mm wide beams.

Advice: keep the wall standing on its own when gluing in the triangular supports. Apply some glue to the support, place it in place and slide it down as far as you need to make sure the lower edge is parallel to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side of the wall – with 90 degrees between vertical and horizontal edge of the buttress, the wall will be standing up very straight – and it will be very stable.

Bang, the first wall is done.


Finished Wall

By the way – you were probably wondering why I made the outside pieces shorter than the central one. Could’ve done them the same size and save myself the trouble, right?

Well, since the space left is 3mm – the cardboard’s thickness – these make a good help for joining the walls together, especially when forming 90-degree junctions between them.


Shiny, so we have the first wall – let’s make some more!

Important notice: you’re probably not going to have all the stuff cut precisely. There will be small differences regarding dimensions, it is inevitable, especially if you are a beginner (though, as I hear, masters make errors too!).

On my walls things aren’t perfectly aligned either. What is important is to make all the slabs align as precisely as possible to the top edge. The bottom edge won’t be really visible, so if you have to allow any faults, that’s where you can hide them.

Only buttresses / supports have to be aligned to the ground.

More walls

Uh, done 5 plain ordinary walls. They are fine, but it gets a little boring… Maybe a gate through the wall? Let’s make one Narrow Gate (30mm wide, 50mm tall) and one Wide Gate (50x50mm), so we’ll be within the regulations from Campaign: Paradiso, and allow most models a pass – the 50mm Wide Gate can handle anything short of the Maghariba on its 80mm base (well, personally I’d say TAGs and the like are excluded too, as they are too tall). Either way, bikes and REMs are fine here.


I guess it is obvious – I just cut an appropriate opening in the central slab, in a place where it will fit the niches.

Okay, what next? Maybe a ladder – this will make negotiating our wall possible, but not as easy and obvious as thorough a door.

Take some side rails – mine are 70x14mm, just because they are made from leftover material (however, after I put it together, I realized that 70mm is way too tall, and the wall with ladder that high won’t fit inside of my objective room, so I had to cut them down… 60mm – the wall’s height – would’ve been perfect). Some 25 mm wide (figure base), 10mm deep steps. A buttress on one side is glued to a side rail, on the other I needed to custom fit small pieces that on the basic walls were 40mm beams helping the buttresses sit straight.

Still, enough room on the top that a figure on a 25mm base can stand there fully supported, as the rules require it.

Repeated on the other side of the wall.

Basically, that’s it – I just ran out of ideas as for what else could be a part of the wall itself (and keep the dimensions down). I guess I could’ve made it all fit into my Objective Room, if it was designed differently from the start – or if the rails of the ladder were more narrow. But all in all, it seems okay.


All the walls inside the objective room

…oh yeah, and I’m left with over 20 50x50mm pieces, despite cutting them down for buttresses, I-beams, ladder steps and the like… I have some ideas as to what to do with them, but that will come next.

Call it bonus content.

The bonus content

Ticket booth

It is too small to be called a bunker, plus why should I be adding defensive hardpoints here?

It can be a ticket booth or guard’s box. Basically, one person construction providing cover against elements.

I went for a simple boxlike shape with none of the dimensions exceeding 50mm – so, if needed, it could be pressed into one of the niches I cut in the walls (just like other pieces with a 50x50mm back will do, so either use them to make your walls more interesting, or as scatter terrain). Even one with the doors – obviously, it doesn’t align perfectly with the narrow door one, but still well enough to make a believable entrance.

So, what do we need?

A 50x50mm slab as a base, and another as a roof. Two more to serve as side walls – just cut them down (and I messed up that one, so don’t mind the dimensions on the picture – it should have been 44mm tall, not 46mm), one 30mm wide, 44mm tall to form rear wall (and leave some room for the entrance). Front is a 44mm wide, 20mm tall bottom and 44mm wide, 3mm upper beam.

Add 3 small pieces inside of the roof (3mm away from each edge, as to not conflict with walls) so it won’t slide off.

Add some sign on the top of the booth, if you want 😀


A portable toilet is a must in every place where there is something going on. Military base, construction site, city park, maintenance yard – you name it.

Construction is the same as with ticket booth, apart from all the walls being full height (you don’t want a window in a toilet…) and I made the doors centrally on the wall (so – not a single 20mm wide wall, but two at 6mm (leftover from cutting a 50×50 into 44x50mm). Should’ve made it 2x 7mm, as to keep to the 30mm opening, but well, let’s not be picky.

It could, alternatively, be a small storage or equipment shed just as well (garden tool shed, generator shed, whatever you want). Not very graceful, but definitely utilitarian.

Wall-mounted guard post

I wanted it to be removable, so didn’t constructed it as an integral part of the wall. Now, it will fit any of my walls in any place, save perhaps the one with ladder.

Base is, again, a 50x50mm slab. Next, some triangular supports – they were initially about 24-25mm long, but I cut them – I needed 9-10mm space on the central line to fit the top edge of the wall in. An I-beam to keep them at 90 degrees against the base slab. Another I-beam to join them and make them stiffer. That was it. Plus 20mm tall wall around the platform, leaving one side open (for access from the ground level).

The ladder… I grabbed a leftover 30x30mm slab, put another 30mm wide, 50mm tall one as a back support, two 60mm tall side railings, steps 7mm apart (same technique as before – draw horizontal lines every 10mm, glue in a step just below each of them).

Comms booth

Either public comms, or an internal comm station.

This is half the size of a ‘loo, being built on a 25x50mm slab (same for the roof), with 44x50mm back plate. I used triangular supports (20x25mm), leftover from the watchtower. They finally proven to be too long, so I trimmed them down with a knife once the booth was complete.

The tables are 10x20mm, the comms themselves were just some random pieces fo leftover cardboard I cut into uniform size.

Power hookup


Power hookup

Whether it is a combustible liquid, or high-output electricity hook up, your stuff will need fuel.

Made on the same “half size” as the comms booth, I used two leftover 6x50mm (trimmed that down to 44mm) pieces as poles. The machine itself… don’t ask, it was kitbashed from whatever was out there, apart from a 20x50mm piece I cut into two 20x20mm and one 10x20mm.

Advertisement display

Now, this was a little tricky. The advert itself was printed on an acetate sheet (y’know, what they use for overhead projectors) with a 3mm margin around it. I then cut a 5mm thick frame to fit around it – and forgot the project for weeks. The problem is – I was using 2mm cardboard then, having scavenged some here and there and intending to use it for some experimentation with this material.

So, I glued the acetate into the frame first – in this case, I applied PVA with a brush on the inner part of the frame, assembled it and applied some clips to keep it together when the glue was curing. Superglue would’ve caused frosting over the acetate, which is why cyanoacrylates are a big no-no when acetate is nearby.

It didn’t fit well with the 3mm I was using here. So, after a few concept tries, I built a bench that was to fit over the wall’s edge, and glued the advertisement display on the top. On a second thought, I added four more pieces to stabilise the display.


Well, that would be about it. All that is left for me is to take a photo of the complete set, right?

oh, and then sit down with a brush and a bottle of glue and seal all the edges, then paint it.


All pieces combined



Plays Qapu Khalqi, Corregidor and recently Hassassin Bahram. Claims to be "just a humble traveller on the Silk Road".

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3 Responses

  1. Simon Goodfellow says:

    Wowza, that looks pretty damn precise. Well, I’m inspired!

    • Errhile says:

      I wouldn’t call it precise, you should’ve seen the bottoms of some of the wall pieces! 😛
      As for precision – let’s say I tend to be able to keep it within one milimeter – with a ruler, pencil and knife. Which usually is enough, apparently.

  2. Sarge says:

    Great post! I was just expecting the walls, so the extra bits felt like a real bonus! I appreciate that you outlined the measurements you used and why you picked them Great job! Makes me want to build some terrain!

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