Adeptus Terrainicus Pt 3: Cheap Terrain!

Welcome back to Goonhammer’s series for aspiring Titan Principes. We here at Goonhammer’s own Collegia Titanica know that Adeptus Titanicus can seem intimidating to players unfamiliar with its particular quirks, but this series aims to equip you with everything you’ll need to play out epic clashes on the battlefields of the far future with your very own Titan Battlegroup. In today’s article, we’ll shine a spotlight on how one of our members has approached terrain.

Greetings, readers! We covered 3D printed buildings in Adeptus Terrainicus, Part I and Scatter Terrain in Adeptus Terrainicus, Part II.

In today’s article, we’ll cover sourcing, assembling, and painting cheap, easy terrain for your miniature titan battles! Today we’re going to be talking about MDF buildings. MDF is a great material for the large, flat hab blocks/skyscrapers that likely fill cities in the 41st millennium, and the lower level of surface detail these tend to have compared to plastic or printed terrain works much better in Titanicus’ scale than it does 40k’s.

MDF Buildings painted by Crab-stuffed MushroomsFor details on the craters, please see our previous article on scatter terrain.

Where can I buy cheap MDF Terrain for Adeptus Titanicus?

These MDF Buildings come in a package of 3, courtesy of Helix27’s store off Etsy. If you want a board’s worth of terrain for under $50, buying a few is a great deal.

There’s a catch, of course. MDF Terrain can be fragile. If you’re impatient and/or rough with MDF, you could break it like a popsicle stick.

I’ve written about working with MDF terrain in the past – be mindful and handle with care!

Assembling MDF Terrain

I’ve covered this in a previous article. Ideally, find a glue bottle with a small nozzle for more precise application. You can use wood glue or PVA glue.

How do I make it pretty?

WIP MDF Buildings by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

You’ve got some options, here:

  • Option 1: Skip these extra steps and go straight to painting! Use a cheap, thick automotive primer and spray outside (that stuff is messy).
  • Option 2: Base the terrain (see previous article for more on this).
  • Option 3: Add some lightweight spackle (also known as filler in the UK).
  • Option 4: Make some holes in the buildings with clippers. I tried to make it look like a large object had crashed through one side of the building and out of the other.
  • Option 5: Add some additional details. MDF is great for doing something cheap and easy but the terrain I’m using lacks a lot of the small, fine details that can really make terrain pop against the models. Cutting out small details, emblems, and pipes from plasticard/styrene sheets can make a big difference, and adding vents, antennae, and hvac units on the roofs can make the buildings stand out.
  • Option 6: Some combination of the above.

Painting MDF Buildings

  1. Seal the MDF buildings before you prime them!
    • MDF is a very thirsty material – it’s notorious for absorbing water / paints, but you can negate this with a good seal.
    • You can seal with watered-down PVA glue (applied with a brush or through a spray bottle) or a matt varnish lacquer.
  2. Prime the buildings with a black undercoat.
    • You can use GW’s Chaos Black spray paint or some cheap primer.
  3. Using a large brush, do a rough brush (heavy drybrush) of the buildings with a dark blue-grey paint, like GW’s Dark Reaper.
  4. Next, drybrush with a lighter blue-grey paint, like Thunderhawk Blue.
  5. Finally, do a light drybrush with a cool white color like Ulthuan Grey. Try to drybrush in smaller circles than the previous color on each side of the building.
  6. (Optional) Adding Scorch Marks: Drybrush some black paint on the ruined edges of the buildings to simulate damage. You can highlight this further with some grey paint, like Mechanicus Standard Grey.
  7. If you based the buildings, you can paint them using the same guidelines from a previous tutorial.

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