My Warhammer 40k terrain

With two 40k armies underway, first my Blood Angels and then, as they approached 2,000 points, my Deathskulls Orks, I decided it was time to invest in a play surface and start building up a collection of terrain (the “third army”).

This is a long page, so here are quick links to my color guides and terrain list.

If you enjoy this page, you might also like my other 40k pages: my Blood Angels army and my Deathskulls Ork army, Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas.

Enter the Manufactorum

After doing some research into different options, I started with the Battlezone: Manufactorum – Vertigus set. It includes two double-sided boards (grey moonscape/red wasteland) which look so good that GW uses them in studio shots, as well as enough awesome terrain to fill both boards. This is also plenty for taking fun pictures of my minis, which is a plus.

My first finished larger Manufactorum ruin (December 2020)

A single board is a Kill Team play area. A pair is a 40k Combat Patrol or Incursion board (500 or 1,000 points, respectively). Both ways, this is plenty of terrain — and more than enough to keep me busy for some time, painting-wise. Expanding to a Strike Force-sized play area (2,000 points) would mean adding the Manufactorum: Battlefield pack (two more boards) and additional terrain, and would exceed the width of our dining table by about 4″ on each side. (Length is fine.)

A Manufactorum ruin during its initial drybrush (November 2020)

After liking the first batch, I decided to add some Sector Mechanicus and Imperialis factory stuff to the mix — sort of a forge world combo, which sounds like fun. The modular nature of the Mechanicus terrain is awesome, too.

My first terrain pieces, freshly coated with Wraithbone spray (November 21, 2020)

Battlezone: Manufactorum terrain color guide

I’ve never painted terrain before. Which is fine! New horizons are fun.

Blending techniques and steps from multiple Warhammer TV videos, I put together a guide that covers my painting steps and recipes for this terrain. It’s a long one!

There’s also a breakdown of my hazard striping (though it’s quite straightforward) in a separate WIP post.

Walls and floors finished, small details still underway (November 2020)

Spray and pray

I learned how to use brush-on primer and sealant specifically to avoid the hassles of temperature- and humidity-sensitive spray cans (which I fought with for far too long). But with areas this large, brush-painting would be a nightmare.

So I took the plunge, committed to Wraithbone spray as the combination primer and base coat — and it worked out great! I have to choose my moments, weather-wise, but with a dodgy spray booth made out of a taped-up cardboard box and a decent day, it’s lovely stuff and a big time-saver.

Laying down a Wraithbone primer/base coat on some Manufactorum terrain (November 2020)

Terrain pieces and notes

While trying to figure out how best to fill a 9th Edition Strike Force (44″x60″) board, it finally occurred to me to just, you know, check the rulebook. It turns out that a lot of the commentary about rules of thumb for terrain (fill 25″ of your board and then spread it out, one giant piece a foot tall in the center, one terrain piece in every square foot, etc.) isn’t really reflected in 9th Edition.

Terrain in 9th Edition 40k

There are three examples of matched-play Strike Force boards in the core book. One features three large pieces of terrain, another five, and the third has six. That’s way fewer than I thought I’d need! Depending on how you allocate the ruin sections, the Vertigus box alone has either three or four large ruins. Add the Sanctum Administratus kit, mix in the two tall non-ruins and all the scatter terrain also included in Vertigus…and that’s enough pieces to match the example boards in the core book, from just two (substantial, costly) kits.

Based on that, I decided to build my terrain collection around six anchors: 1x jumbo, 2x extra large, and 3x large pieces. Those anchor pieces are supplemented with a variety of medium, small, and scatter terrain bits and bobs, including modular elements that can be split and combined for variety (pipes, shipping containers, tanks and chimneys, walkways, etc.).

My 40k terrain list

In 9th Edition terms, I have the following pieces of terrain (links lead to blog posts with photos of finished pieces; 9th Edition traits are in parentheses):

  • Jumbo:
    1. Sanctum Administratus (Area, ruins; Breachable, Defensible, Light Cover, Obscuring, Scaleable)
  • Extra large:
    1. Derelict Factorum (Area, ruins; Breachable, Defensible, Light Cover, Obscuring, Scaleable)
    2. Engine Shed (Area, ruins; Breachable, Defensible, Light Cover, Obscuring, Scaleable; this can also be split into two separate large ruins, each with its own footprint-establishing small wall)
  • Large:
    1. 2x Ferratonic Furnace (Area, industrial structure; Breachable, Defensible, Dense Cover, Scaleable; traits might change if it doesn’t have walkways; these can also be stacked)
    2. Storage Fane (Area, ruins; Breachable, Defensible, Light Cover, Obscuring, Scaleable)
    3. Sub-cloister (Area, ruins; Breachable, Defensible, Light Cover, Obscuring, Scaleable)
    4. If separated from the Derelict Factorum, I can add another Ferratonic Furnace (Area, industrial structure; Breachable, Defensible, Dense Cover, Scaleable; traits might change if it doesn’t have walkways)
  • Medium:
    1. Auto-choral Transmitter (Obstacle; Light Cover, Unstable Position)
    2. Thermo-exchanger Shrine (Obstacle; Light Cover, Unstable Position)
    3. Alchomite Stack “stuff” can fall into this category, depending on how it’s assembled: 2x dome, 5x tank, 6x chimney segments, 1x busted tank (Obstacle; Light Cover, Unstable Position)
    4. Sector Mechanicus walkways, if freestanding, can fall into this category, as they’re over 3″ tall; I have 4x long, 2x busted long, 4x small, and possibly 2x octagonal, plus 8x supports (Area; Breachable, Dense Cover, Scaleable; it’s debatable whether they’d also be Defensible)
  • Small:
    1. 6x Munitorum Armoured Containers (Obstacle, armoured container; Exposed Position, Light Cover, Scaleable)
    2. 14x Thermo Pipes (Obstacle, barricades and fuel pipes; Defence Line, Defensible, Difficult Ground, Heavy Cover, Light Cover, Unstable Position)
    3. Alchomite Stack “stuff” can fall into this category, depending on how it’s assembled: 2x dome, 5x tank, 6x chimney segments, 1x busted tank (Obstacle; Light Cover, Unstable Position)
    4. All of the small “establish a footprint” Manufactorum ruin walls can fit into this category, assuming they’re separated from the larger buildings, or that the buildings aren’t used (Obstacle, ruined walls; Breachable, Defence Line, Defensible, Dense Cover, Unstable Position)
  • Scatter:
    1. 24x Supply Crates (in piles, they’d count as battlefield debris: Obstacle; Exposed Position)
    2. 18x Promethium Barrels (in piles, they’d count as battlefield debris: Obstacle; Exposed Position)
    3. Alchomite Stack “stuff” can fall into this category, depending on how it’s assembled: 2x dome, 5x tank, 6x chimney segments, 1x busted tank (Obstacle; Light Cover, Unstable Position)
  • Boards:
    1. 4x 30″x22.4″ Pariah Nexus double-sided boards (grey moonscape/red wasteland, from the Manufactorum line)

There’s some fuzz factor to that list, as I own a fair amount of modular stuff. For example, the Ferratonic Furnace, when topped by a dome and chimney from the Alchomite Stack kit, probably switches from Area Terrain to Obstacle (and an Unstable Position, too). Or take the Manufactorum structures, which are designed to consist of a large and small section forming the footprint of a building: Peel off the small section, and you’ve got a ruin and a ruined wall (which work differently).

Terrain kits I own

In kit terms, my collection looks like this:

  • Battlezone: Manufactorum – Munitorum Armoured Containers (2x)
  • Battlezone: Manufactorum – Sanctum Administratus
  • Battlezone: Manufactorum – Vertigus
  • Kill Team (2019) terrain (2x), which is effectively:
    • 2x Sector Mechanicus: Ferratonic Incinerator
    • 2x Sector Mechanicus: Alchomite Stack
    • 2x Sector Mechanicus tank sprues
  • Sector Mechanicus: Derelict Factorum
Brother Test-Mech, who tried out a rejected color scheme for this terrain (November 2020)