Friday Quick Tip: Spackle + Terrain = Love

In recent years I've really taken to terrain building. It's one of my true loves when it comes to wargaming and has opened the horizon to all types of different projects. Through all of my ventures into terraforming, one material stands out amongst crowd: Spackle. Those of you over the pond might know it as filler.

It started when I was looking to create a more gentile slope with no seams for my Autumn Foothills table. From there I used it to make rocky outcroppings on that same table by clumping the stuff on the board, letting it dry, and carving it to shape. When the table was finished, I used it further still to sculpt out tree roots for my magnetic tree templates! I must have gone through 2 tubs of the stuff on that one project!

When it came time to add a building, I used spackle to add texture to my Mordheim inspired Hanging Man Tavern. A little bit of spackle smashed into the wall between the supports, some quick sanding and a carved crack here and there later, and it's exactly what I had hoped it would be. This method to be copied for another Mordheim building later down the road!

I've even gone so far as to texture an entire building with the stuff by smearing it all over a foamcore structure to get a middle eastern style building and ruins set. When it came to painting the spackle for my building projects, it was simply a heavy wash of watered down Gryphonne Sepia and a drybrush of Bleached Bone. It was that easy.

My latest dive into the terrain world was a demo board for Flames of War's new Open Fire boxed set. The piece used pretty much all the same techniques as my Autumn Foothills, just a bit simplified for the scale, and more extensive use of the spackle sloping giving a more gentile topography.

So if you're looking to do something terrain related, you really should look into getting your hands on some spackle/filler. You will not regret it. And if you've got an absolutely fantastic material people HAVE to use, let us know!


  1. I've used spackle to make a rocky outcropping and a block wall. I've heard you can spread it flat, let it dry, then break it apart for stone projects as well. You've certainly put it to good use here. Is there no end to the wonders one can make with spackle?

  2. I heard if you mix a few drops of color into the spackle before letting it harden and breaking it into chunks... if you ever chip a piece off, you won't need to repaint it because it's colored throughout.

  3. Kevin, I've used the flat dried spackle that same way myself! I used it to represent fallen walls for ruins in my city terrain. I don't think we've even scratched the surface on the types of terrain spackle is useful for.

    Ron, that's definitely an interesting idea. I've always used the stuff that goes on pink and dries white though, so getting the color right would definitely take some doing.