Making really simple terrain buildings

Terrain is pretty much essential for an immersive tabletop gaming experience. Imagine the latest blockbuster video game without the jaw-dropping backgrounds and environments, and just dull, lifeless grey boxes to run around. Just wouldn’t be as fun, would it?

As much as I’d like everyone to purchase 3D printed models - from here preferably ;), not every gamer is in a position to do so, or just doesn’t have the time to get 3D printed models looking great, or really just wants something cool on their table today.

So while I was thinking about things to add to this second set of 3D printable sci-fi grebbles, I had in the back of my mind simple ways of making table-ready pieces for a relatively small amount of money.

I wanted a way to showcase some of the grebbles, and was going to use a simple foam core structure. But while assembling some of my latest Legion miniatures, I thought of a really simple and inexpensive idea - Use the boxes the expansions come in!

Yes, don’t throw away your expansion boxes. Most of them are a perfect height, when laid on their sides, for simple building shapes. The great thing is you don’t need to buy foam core or even glue walls together. If you’ve bought a Legion expansion, then you already have the makings of a great building. You’ll only need to get a couple of things to turn it into a simple Legion ready dwelling.

I’ll be using just 10 pieces from the second set of greebles, 2 expansion boxes, some spackle/filler, and acrylic paint. Let’s get started.

3D printed sci-fi greebles for adding to scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion

Grab a couple of expansion boxes (take out the contents first obviously!), leave in the cardboard insert for stability, and close up the opening flap. You can use some masking tape or hot glue to keep these shut.

I used a cheap household wall filler/spackle with a small amount of water added to give a better consistency. Just spread this all over the box, and then use a sponge to stipple the filler give a textured finish.

 Corvus Games Terrain 3D printable greebles for scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion

Corvus Games Terrain 3D printable greebles for scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion

Then its just a matter of waiting for the filler to dry (12-24 hours), and then using superglue to stick on some of the 3D printed greebles. I wanted one building to be a domestic dwelling, and the other to be some kind of garage or storage depot. 

Corvus Games Terrain 3D printable greebles for scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion

Corvus Games Terrain 3D printable greebles for scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion

I had a few different colour rattle cans lying around, so I brought the buildings outside and hit them with a dark red primer, followed by a desert yellow and a highlight from above with a bone colour.

Corvus Games Terrain 3D printable greebles for scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion 

The next stage was to pick out any details like the doors, vents, keypads, and exhaust pieces. A handful of Vallejo paints did the trick nicely. A quick drybrush of bone mixed with a little white covered the textured filler outside shell.

Corvus Games Terrain 3D printable greebles for scratch built buildings in Star Wars Legion

All in all, very little work. You can see in the photos that I didn't even bother to cover up the bottom flap or glue the edges shut properly. A total of about an hour's work in making these two buildings. The longest part was waiting for the filler to dry. So, pretty simple dwellings that will work perfectly well on a gaming table and fairly inexpensive to make. What's not to like?

Greebles can be purchased as digital files here or as an upcoming printed set.

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