Saturday 15 March 2014

Italian Wars (1494-1559) – Terrain (IN THE WOODS)

As a credit to the work one puts into any painted army, one naturally need some terrain that will lift the visual experience to the next level. Good terrain can make the gaming table come alive and spark the imagination of the players, transcending them back to that particular fateful moment in time when a given battle was fought. 

For our club project on the Italian War (fellow accomplices are Jonas & Micke), I decided to make some woods that would fit the terrain style for this period.

Lombardy - a region of rich farmland
and wine country at the foot of the Alps

Since much of the Italian War campaigning took place in Northwestern Italy (Piemonte and Lombardy), I wanted to make terrain that would depict the nature of this area. 

The land is fertile, rich in colors and very close to the Alps.  This means that in terms of trees, the deeper woods would have consisted of a variety of different pine tress. Of course one would see the signal Italian cypress trees along the country roads, but maybe not as often as for instance in Tuscany.

The Battle of Pavia

The main battle, Paiva, was fought on the 24th February 1526.
No snow is reported on the battlefield, so I'll let woods carry burned/brown colors along with mossy greens, to simulate a winter feeling.

Wooden floor terrain mat form Model Scene

For the forest floor I decided to go with Czech company Model Scene’s great “Late Summer” forest base. It’s a lose nonwoven textile with flock, foliage, fallen branches and stones attached. It can easily be cut with scissors or knife into the shape needed.

Tree bases are squeezed through the button holes cut in the mat

The placement of the trees is measured out on the mat, and small “button holes” are cut into the nonwoven. Trees are buttoned in, as glue is applied onto the MDF plates.

The base is glued up using Hob-e-Tac from
 Woodland Scenics
Before sticking the two together,

The plates would be made from 2 mm compressed pulp MDF plates. That I’ll be cutting into round shapes to give them a more natural look on the table.

I added some additional superglue to the base foot of the tress for extra binding.
After that it was an easy fit. I pressed down on the edges and let the glue do the rest.

A close up of the forest floor - nice details of foliage and mossy rocks

To be honest I don't remember were I got the trees from. They've been lying around in my terrain box for a while but fitted this project nicely. They are quite tall, but I thought that might suit the terrain mat well, as so much is going on in colors and foliage on those.

Made a few plates in different sizes

I think the taller trees suit the 28mm scale, giving the impression of deep and old woods. After all you don't want the impression that battle is fought in an orchard - unless you're refighting Gettysburg that is.

A couple of 28 mm Landsknechts for size comparison

So I've got some woods ready for the Italian Wars gaming table.
Next up for this project will be buildings and roads.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Excellent work, the ground is so realistic!

    1. Thanks Phil - the Model Scene kit works magic, right. Easy to work with too.

  2. Very nice Sören! Our games will be a spectacle to behold for sure. :)

    Those landsknechts look excellent as well. Looking forward to seeing more of them.

    1. Thanks Jonas, they do take a little more time, but it's a welcome change from painting uniform units. Now it's on to cypress bordered country roads and renaissance buildings.

  3. Looks nice and since I don't have time to start my Italian Wars I'll just have to experience it here. Looking forward to see where you take it. Good battle choice as it gives a little of everything.


    1. Thanks Christopher! Stay tuned then, I'm sure we will have some enjoyable AARs directed by our groups battle scenery specialist, Micke "Dalauppror". He always sets up the most amazing tables for gaming.

  4. Excellent work Soren, really beautiful woodland scenery and a very nicely painted group of Landsknechts to drool over too!

    1. Thanks Chris, more Landsknechts soon! I'm aiming for a 9 based (40x40 mm bases) pike block, so I've got some way to go :0)

  5. Stunning paint work Sören !!!

    Like your terrIn addition very much, looking forward to see them IRL.

    Best regards Michael

    1. Thanks Micke, thought I'd add these wood plates to our arsenal of terrain bits for when you'll be setting out Italian War gaming tables. Roads will be added i.e your recommendations :0)

  6. Beautiful groups of trees. I just might have to buy some of those forest floor mats. They look excellent.

    1. Absolutely! I found the mat at MJ Hobby in Västberga. They had about 8 or 10 different colors ranging from deep forest to mossy grounds or autumn fields. (

  7. Thanks for sharing this, looks excellent

    1. Thanks Mike, and thanks for dropping by for a read!


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