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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Homemade Terrain - Paved Roads

Even though roads don't give any cover, they are still a significant part of any battlefield.  Roads connect farm land to villages, villages to towns, and towns to cities.    Some parts of the world are riddled with modern paved roads while others may only have the most basic of dirt roads.  When playing Flames of War, roads give troops added mobility by cutting through difficult terrain or giving teams a boost to their mobility.

There are lots of pre-made roads available for gamers to buy.  Battlefront offers gamers both rural and cobblestone roads which looks great, but will set you back $40 USD.  This price is comparable to roads made by other miniatures companies. For those of us who are gaming on a budget, or who need large quantities of terrain this can add up quick.

We could resort to cutting strips of colored felt or fleece, but felt and fleece roads don't look real.  If you don't have the cash to buy roads, but don't want to make roads out of fabric you can always make your own.  The only problem with making your own is that it is time consuming and can be difficult to figure out where to start.  Worse case scenario is that you end up spending more money on making your own.  I have found a easy way to make roads that is not only easy, but also inexpensive.

Model Railroad Track Strips  - $1.60 for 36"
Grey Sand Paper - $.69 for a 12" x 12" square
White Glue
Super Glue
Hobby Knife
Static Grass


Straight Sections

First cut the cork into 6" strips


The rail road cork splits in half and when glued together has slopped edges, ideal for banks.  Pull the cork apart and glue it together with the slopes out.


Next cut the sand paper to size and super glue it to the top of the cork.


After the super glue dries put white glue on the edges and flock edges with static grass blend of your choosing.


When the white glue dries it may cause the cork to curl/bend the section of road.  If it does this don't worry, gently bend it flat.  If you here a little cracking its fine that the glue cracking.  Once bent back to place it will lay flat.  Alternatively you can lightly put glue on the bottom and it will bend the piece in the opposite direction.

Paved road with a Priest

Curve in the road

When the cork is split you can bend the two pieces when you glue it so it makes a bend in the road.  Once glued together trim up the excess cork.


Like before, cut the sand paper to super glue it the top of the cork and flock the edges.


Once your pieces are done, you will have a modular set of roads.  


It took me about 15 minutes to make these two sections of roads.  You can build as many or as few section as you want and can make them in any size section you want.  I make 6" section because they are the easiest to work with, but have also made 3" or 8" sections.  You can also cut the cork to make intersections and forks.  Once cut all you need to do is glue down the sand paper and flock.


You can experiment with lines using white or yellow paint and weathering by rubbing a small piece of wood across the sand paper as well.

Here I have rubbed the road with some wood to make tracks.


Here is an entire set that I made.  It took me four hours to complete.  I used five cork strips ($8) and four sheets of sand paper ($2.5).  I went through half a bottle of white glue ($1.5), used a quarter of a tube of static grass ($2.5) and half a bottle of super glue ($2.5).  For about $18 - $20 I got 1 cross road, 3 T sections, 10 6" straight, 4 curves, 4 10" straight sections and 4 forks.   If I had more sandpaper I would make 3" straight sections and more curves, but I ran out.  Not too bad eh?


Using this method you can make not just paved roads, but also dirt roads using brown or beige sand paper.  You can trim the pieces with sand or ballast for desert roads or brown or yellow grass for fall and spring roads.  You can make you road wider by gluing a third or forth piece of cork stripping to the first two.

Here I have made a dirt and paved desert/italian road and a paved and dirt European road using different flocking and types of sand paper.


Like always, get creative and make roads that work for you and your gaming.  If you have other ideas for customizing your roads, share them on the WWPD forum.

“Craig Baxter is a miniature wargamer from Anchorage, AK.  When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice.  You can find more of his work and articles at”

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