When tabletop gaming was first established, it was common practice to build your own scenery in order to create unique battlefields for your models to fight over. However nowadays, there are so many methods for producing scenery that you are spoilt for choice. Different methods produce different results, and as such vary in cost, both in production and for the customer. What matters most is that whatever you choose, you should enjoy using it to create fun and memorable games. This quick guide will highlight two of the main different manufacturing methods used for commercial scenery building to help you make an informed decision about what you'd like to use for your tabletop gaming.
Laser Cut MDF
Laser cut MDF is a very popular method of creating hardwearing modular scenery that can be easily modified. Using a precision laser, the various components of the scenery are created by burning through the wood. This means that the edges are well cut and smooth so they don't pose any safety risks. Laser cutting is popular with manufacturers as well, because despite the high cost of cutting software used to control the laser, the raw materials are very cheap, which results in additional saving for customers. MDF is made from wood and resin that is moulded into large boards, though this does mean that the board lacks texture. For some models this lack of texture works well, but for others, such as ruined cities, some additional texturing may be required using textured primer paint to add a little more character.
For additional modelling ideas, consider using textured modelling wallpaper or pink foam tiles to turn buildings into realistic structures. These can be applied with PVA and painted with a primer spray and base coat.
Mold Injected Resin
This process is where a liquid resin is pumped into a cast and left to cool before revealing the model. Mold injected resin is becoming a very popular method for creating high quality models because of the amount of detail that you can get in intricate features, such as faces and rubble; however, it tends to cost more than MDF. Due to the nature of the process, resin needs to be cleaned, filed and prepared prior to painting to rid it of any imperfections and to allow the paint to adhere properly, as lubricants are used to release the models from the molds, this can remain on the models and make them difficult to paint.
Resin models usually don't require any extra modelling, as they are likely to have plenty of detail. However, you can buy add-ons such as pub signs, gates and other building components, which should be attached using superglue. The scenery can then be painted in the same way as the laser cut scenery.