How to Make Warhammer 40K Scenery

Written by nicole byerly
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How to Make Warhammer 40K Scenery
Create rock models to block others from attacking your models. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Warhammer 40K is a board game that relies heavily on scenery in order to create obstacles and other distractions during the game. 40K players often use scenery as tools to hide and block their models from their opponent in order to become victorious in the end. Creating Warhammer 40K scenery is a time-consuming process; however, with patience and small craft tools you can create reliable and long-lasting scenery in less than a day.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2-inch-thick polystyrene
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue
  • Craft knife
  • Craft knife blades
  • Utility knife
  • Games Workshop paint set
  • Paint brush set, various sizes
  • Tree foliage clusters
  • Thin wire
  • Plaster
  • Plastic baggies
  • White craft glue
  • Pebbles
  • Sand
  • Polyurethane
  • Ruler
  • Wire brush
  • Wire cutters

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  1. 1

    Cut two sections of 2-inch-thick polystyrene into 4-inch by 4-inch by 2-inch shapes. Place a 2-by-4-by-4 inch structure on a flat surface, resting along one 4-inch by 4-inch side.

    How to Make Warhammer 40K Scenery
    Create rock models to block others from attacking your models. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  2. 2

    Apply hot glue along the top 4-by-4 inch surface of one section of polystyrene and press the remaining 2-by-4-by-4 inch section on top. Squeeze tightly for one to two minutes to form a 4-inch polystyrene cube.

  3. 3

    Place the cube on a flat surface and carefully carve and shape the cube into a rocklike structure. Use a craft knife to achieve quicker and more precise cuts in the polystyrene. This rock will stand approximately 4 inches in height, which is comparable to the height of Warhammer 40K models. Leave the bottom edge flat to rest on the game board.

  4. 4

    Paint the rock dark grey and allow the paint to dry for one hour. Dry brush a light grey and white finish onto the rock to highlight curves and details within the stone.


  1. 1

    Cut a 2-inch-thick section of polystyrene that is 3 inches long by 3 inches wide. This will act as the base for the tree.

    How to Make Warhammer 40K Scenery
    Create multiple trees for heavily wooded areas on the board. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Cut a 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch section of polystyrene out of the centre of the 3-inch by 3-inch by 2-inch section. This creates a hole to insert the tree into later.

  3. 3

    Wrap wire tightly around your hand. Pull wires from your hand and squeeze together to form a tightly wound section of wire. Continue to wrap wire in a circular motion from top to bottom around the existing wire until the bundle is approximately 1/2 inch wide. Cut the wire end with wire cutters.

  4. 4

    Group two to three wires together and gently pull away from the larger area of wire, from the top. Repeat this step, two to three wires at a time, to create branches on the tree. Leave a 2-inch area at the base of the wire to act as a tree trunk.

  5. 5

    Put rubber gloves on and cover the entire wire tree with plaster. Apply a thick coating over the wires. Rough up the plaster surface with a wire brush to create the appearance of bark. Allow plaster to dry completely before continuing.

  6. 6

    Fill in the 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch hole in the polystyrene with hot glue and insert the plaster-covered wire tree base into the hole. Press firmly, as the tree will be slightly larger than 1/2 inch due to the plaster layer. Allow hot glue to dry for one to two minutes.

  7. 7

    Carve away the foam base with a craft knife. Leave the majority of the 3-inch by 3-inch base on the foam, while carefully angling and curving upward to create a realistic tree base.

  8. 8

    Paint the tree and foam base with dark brown paint. Highlight the bark and texture using light brown and black paints. Allow paint to dry completely before continuing.

  9. 9

    Cover the tree branches in a generous amount of white craft glue. Dip the tree branches into the tree foliage clusters. The tree foliage clusters will attach to the branches, creating the lifelike appearance of leaves on the trees.


  1. 1

    Cut a section of 2-inch-thick polyurethane to 6 inches wide and 8 inches long. Measure in 1 inch from each corner along the 6-inch edges. This will determine the river coasts.

    How to Make Warhammer 40K Scenery
    Create a river to keep others away. ( Images)
  2. 2

    Carve away at the 1-inch mark on the left toward the 1-inch mark on the right hand side. Create a jagged finish that drops slightly from the left to dip down in the centre at 1/4 inch thick, and gently rise toward the right side 1-inch mark. Repeat this process at the opposite end and carefully carve away at the centre to create a flow from end to end.

  3. 3

    Carve away the outer 1-inch marks to create a sloped surface that drops down to level with the ground. Paint this 1-inch area on each side with brown and green paints to create a grass and dirt appearance.

  4. 4

    Paint the interior carved area of the 6-inch by 8-inch polyurethane rectangle with blue paints. Paint the entire interior with light blue, and highlight the centre with dark blue for depth. Highlight the water by dry brushing white paint onto the surface.

  5. 5

    Glue small pebbles on the blue painted area, as well as the dirt and grass area, for a more lifelike appearance. Dot on white craft glue and press the pebble in place.

  6. 6

    Pour polyurethane over the blue painted area. Allow polyurethane to dry for 30 to 45 minutes and pour on another layer. Allow this layer to dry for 30 to 45 minutes and pour on another layer. Continue the pour, dry, pour, dry process until the water level is slightly lower than the shore line.

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