Mel Bose – The Terrain Tutor – has been building terrain for almost as long as he can remember. When he was five, Mel built playsets for his little green army men in the corner of the craft store his mother ran. He was often assisted by model railroaders who were regulars at the store and, by the time he saw his first White Dwarf magazine at age 15, Mel was primed for a life of building terrain.
Mel has traveled the world, as a medic in the army, a physiotherapist, and even a salesman. He has worked with people from all walks of life, and looked at things from many different perspectives. It is this approach that he brings to his successful YouTube channel (The Terrain Tutor, click the image below to check it out). For the last fiveyears, Mel has been able to make a living from sharinghis passion – teaching people everything he knows about building terrain for tabletopwargaming, for hobbyists, clubs, displays, and for dioramas – and it’s that passion and knowledge that he is bringing to this book, TERRAIN ESSENTIALS.
This Kickstarter campaign is to fund a printed version of the book – TERRAIN ESSENTIALS – a 96+ page book perfect to add to the collection of anyone with an interest in creating excellent tabletop terrain, regardless of purpose or the builder's ability.
The Content of TERRAIN ESSENTIALS
Mel has spent many years researching all manner of tools, materials and techniques, as well as experimenting and documenting his process. He’ll be putting it down on paper for the first time, and TERRAIN ESSENTIALS will include:
• Theory – From inspiration and research to planning and set design, from colour theory and build types to workflow and longterm project management, this section will help you plan the best terrain for you before you even start building.
• Materials & Tools – Covering all the most commonly used materials, from basic craft and DIY to specialist modeling materials – including how and where to use them in terrain making – along with an in-depth guide to the essential simple, professional, and custom tools specific to making terrain, this section is all about making sure you have the right tool and right material for the job!
• Core Techniques – From cutting bases to sealing your finished terrain and a whole host of techniques in-between, this section will ensure you have a solid understanding of the core skills and techniques used across the spectrum of terrain building. Covering the essentials, from basics like cutting and gluing, to advanced washes, sealing techniques and combating warping, this section will not only give you the information and confidence to use these techniques but also troubleshoot them.
• Base, Texture, and Paint – Good terrain starts with a good foundation and this section provides in-depth coverage of basing, laying down the ground, realistic texturing techniques, and a range of earth tone painting guides. From cheap and easy basing materials to perfect pigments, you will have the information you need to make sure all of your projects start with a solid, realistic foundation.
• Grasses and Trees – This section is all about the greenery, from laying down beautiful and durable grasslands and pastures, to tufts, flowers, shrubs, bushes and hedgerows. As well as tackling the small stuff, this section will go into creating a range of trees; everything from armatures, to bark textures, painting and finally creating awesome looking foliage for your trees.
• Hills and Rocks – As the most common feature on gaming tables, this section covers those rocks, slopes, hills, and cliffs. We look at everything from a number of different construction techniques to maximising playability without sacrificing realism, realistic painting guides, and more advanced techniques for modular and large feature hills and cliffs.
• Buildings and Ruins – Buildings and ruins can be mini-projects in their own right, so this section breaks it all down and takes you step-by-step through building, painting and fine detailing for buildings from our history, or a dystopian, gothic, far-flung future. Covering multiple techniques for everything from the foundations to the roofs, this section will have you making the best buildings for your urban combat.
• Water and Snow – Often seen as the more challenging aspects of terrain making, this section will demystify water and snow pieces, giving you a range of techniques, core colour theory, and guides to the most common pieces like ponds, modular rivers, and snowy terrain.
• Terrain Kits – As kits, prints, and casts become more prevalent in tabletop gaming, this section not only equips you with the key knowledge to make putting your kit together problem free. But it’s not only about building kits; we will also take you through customising and tying your kits to your existing terrain collection, giving you what you need to turn each kit into a unique terrain piece.
• Mel’s Top Tips – Throughout the previous sections, Mel will be giving his top tips, tricks and fixes, making sure you learn from his mistakes so your builds go as smoothly as possible.
We are planning to cover each of these chapters in as much detail as possible, to give you as much information as we can. We have a number of stretch goals planned that will help us provide more in-depth knowledge on each of the techniques used and sample builds shown in the book.
Why create a book?
It has been quite a while since there was a great “Introduction to Terrain Building” type of book on the market, so after five years of helping the community build their terrain on Youtube, it seemed right for Mel to be the one to do it. On The Terrain Tutor YouTube channel, Mel presents a lot of great ideas, techniques, materials, and tools in a handy, episodic fashion, but we know that not everyone learns in the same way. The written word (particularly when accompanied by great photographs) can help many terrain builders connect with the material covered in Mel’s videos. Helping others enjoy their hobby is one of the key drivers behind The Terrain Tutor, and Mel finds there’s certainly a lot of job satisfaction when helping others be happy is your living.
Mel is partnering with Dave Taylor, of Dave Taylor Miniatures, to bring this book to life. Dave has been involved in tabletop miniatures wargaming for almost 30 years, has worked in "the business" for 25 years, and has known Mel for a decade. Dave recently delivered his own book aimed at helping wargamers complete more of their wargaming projects more often – Armies & Legions & Hordes – which he successfully funded here on Kickstarter last year. Dave is running this campaign, and will be coordinating the layout, editing, publishing, and distribution of TERRAIN ESSENTIALS.
Of course, this campaign is also a bit of an experiment. If things go well, we may look into a series of more detailed books for a future campaigns.