Terrain Corner – River Sections

You’ll always get those moments with bits of terrain when you look at them and think that’s not that special, but I guess it’ll do.  I used to be very much like that and it’s been more about getting stuff on the table and playing games than the elements behind the scene like terrain.  But as some of you may have seen in my other articles I’ve been slowly trying to up my game.

This tutorial will be using a few of the ideas I’ve already covered in past tutorials so the application is simple.  But I will go over things again just to make it easier to follow along.

The river sections I have I picked up at a bring and buy years ago and its okay.  It has 3mm thick base board and good design to it, it’s just nothing special and the colours don’t really fit my current look which is a bit darker.

The first thing I did was coat the river banks in sand and then paint them brown.  I use tester pots from Wilkinsons for a lot of the terrain as it’s nice and cheap, for those interested the colour is called Java.  My first thought was to not paint the actual river sections as they looked okay and I wasn’t at the start planning on putting down a realistic water.  The little stone elements on each section got a coat of black and then I started the dry brushing.  I then decided I was going to put water effects on the river sections and painted the river with the same colours I’d used for the banks.

Even though a fair bit of the actual river banks would be covered in either flock or foliage I still dry brush it all as you never know where you might want to put the flock until you start.  The banks were given two simple dry brushes one of German Khaki and the second a mix of German Khaki and Desert Sand.  I dry brushed the stones with various greys and also tried to get a bit of a blend between the banks and rocks so that they the line doesn’t look too severe.  I also dry brushed what was now the river bed so that when I poured the water on it would have some gradient to it.  The original river had some nice wave effects so it looked good when it was dry brushed.

Once all the elements were dry it was down to the flocking stage.  Using a good PVA glue I coated areas of the river banks and then poured on the flock I have.  It’s a woodland scenic rough flock so it has some good depth to it.  As it takes a while to dry I just left the flock on it, knowing I could brush off the excess later on.

After the flock had dried I then sprayed the rivers with water and coated all the flocked area with PVA to ensure the flock wasn’t going to shed later on.  After this stage I often check to make sure that the PVA hasn’t left anywhere shiny and if it has I give a thin coat of Matt varnish to take the shine off.  I did add a few spots of clump foliage at this stage into the river sections and the lower banks to make it look like water plants etc.  I also put some of the same clump foliage in bigger clumps on the river banks to act as bushes and to give it some depth.


It was at this point that I decided the river needed a better bottom.  It meant that I had to PVA and then coat in sand the entire bit.  I really should have just done this to start with but this project was a let’s see what we can do and I kept changing my mind.  Thankfully because I’ve made all the mistakes now it does mean when I do the other sections I can avoid making them again, possibly :/

Once dry it got dry brushed the same as the banks and it gave me the time to blend into the rocky areas as well which made it all look good.

Now for the fun bit water.  You can do water effects in so many ways, from multiple layers of varnish to buying proper water effects materials.  For me I was going to try a method I’d seen someone else use which was a two part epoxy resin.  I bought the stuff nice and cheap £1 per tube and for the depth I was after one was enough to do each section.  When you’re doing water you can as well look at making sections of it look deeper without the need for it actually being very deep.  This is simple and can be achieved in one of two ways.  The first is to tint the water to give a feeling of depth and if you need to do multiple layers because of the depth your trying to achieve doing the first layer is the best plan.  The second is to ensure the base coat in those areas that you are trying to make look deeper are darker.  This comes through when the resin/water effects is put over it.

Because of the epoxy resin I was using it was easy to just squirt it onto the river sections then mix it and push it into the edges.  Its self-levelling so it’s easy to just leave it be.  You will need to damn the ends of the river section to ensure it just doesn’t drip out and make a huge mess.  After asking on a Terrain page I decided to cover a couple of metal rulers with sellotape and use blue tac to plug any gaps.  The Epoxy doesn’t take long to dry so whilst it was doing its thing I added rushes and such like to the banks.  Because Epoxy is like cooling toffee it’s good to put a dab of super glue on the end so that it glues to the river bed straight away.  I also added a few leaves to the river just to give it some feeling that it was going somewhere.

Once it was all dried its done and ready to use.  The three sections I’ve done so far will cover 2ft it length and I have a lot more pieces that need to be done including a few curves and fords.

Here’s a few images of the river sections with some mini’s from Arcworlde and 15mm mini’s for Advanced or normal Songs of Blades and Heroes, along with the Trees I’ve done as well.  Hopefully the lighting lets you see some of the nice ripples that formed when drying.

Hoped you enjoyed the tutorial and if anyone wants me to cover anything in particular in a future article please let me know.


    • Its a good plan and it will probably make you use them more as well. Send me a link when they are done as its always nice to see what people have achieved.

  1. Oh damn… I just did my own river pieces and they didn’t turn out as nicely as these. If you’d just had put this up two days earlier 😉 Excellemt looking pieces of terrain nonetheless.

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