Urban Hills

Hills are some of the most important pieces of scenery on a gaming table. But unfortunately, most hills available for purchase are hills of the ‘green meadow’ type. Rolling green hills you would find in a nostalgic English countryside or in a Middle Earth themed New Zealand landscape. For urban warfare on the other hand, there are almost no fitting solutions to provide your battle ground with some proper high ground. To be able to fight urban battles, I set of on a terrain project and make some ‘hills’ that would fit an urban environment.

Two tier Urban Hill with Stairs
Two tier Urban Hill with Stairs

As most modern and sci-fi themed cities lack any organic structure, my first idea was to create ‘hills’ that were square. This is easily done by cutting some XPS foam into geometric shapes and with that you already have a great start for further decorating. The problem I thought of when creating these hills was, that because of the steep ascendance, it would be thematically impossible for your troops to move between different levels. Therefore I decided to create some stairs where infantry could move between the different levels. For this I created two forms of stairs, one simple version that leads straight up to the next level, and one more ‘majestic’ variant that mimics many ‘official’ government buildings or castles. Finally I ‘destroyed’ one of the hills and use this piece as an additional ‘staircase’ for troops to move between levels, although with a penalty of moving through difficult or dangerous terrain.

Besides stairs, battle damaged highground makes it possible for troops to move between different levels of terrain

After I had completed the basis of my hills, I cut out loads of gothic arches from a piece of thin cardboard and used these to decorate the sides of the different hills. And with the idea not to waste to much material, I used the tops of these cut-outs to provide some extra texture on the sides of my hills. In addition I used some textured wallpaper to create a cobblestone texture to the ground surface of the hills and added I a piece of plumbing fittings to create the illusion of urban sewer or gas pipes running through these hills. A couple of layers of cheap acrylic paint and these ‘Urban Hills’ were ready to be fought over.

Urban Hills on an urban based (grey painted) gaming table
Urban Hills on an urban themed (grey painted) gaming table

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