Hills and cliffs: Making things for Memoir but totally hopeless at DIY, part II

Background: In family tradition, I am absolutely hopeless at making things and doing DIY. I would love to be able to make stuff for Memoir 44, but I have to work at the very lowest of practical levels. This necessitates a modest budget- in the past I have spent too much money on pieces of wood etc. that ended up getting scrapped, so I now aim to do things as cheaply as possible. I also have rubbish tools. Finally, I live in Japan, so a lot of resources are difficult or impossible to find or come at a large cost. That rules out importing 3D-printed things.
In this installment, I aim to make some hills. I’ve seen people using spare hex tiles to augment their hills, and I have seen people have used bits of beautifully cut MDF. I want to find an easy and reasonable alternative that I can essentially make myself.

Methods: To begin with, I am going to see what I can find at the 100-yen stores. These are thrift stores with a surprisingly large range of items that might be used. After some small-scale experimentation, I want to make the following:

2x 4-hex straight mountain ranges.
1x 5-hex straight mountain range.
3x 1-hex mountain.

I think this combination will allow for plenty of variation in set ups. It should also be reasonably sized for easy storage.

I’m going to start with some cheap kids modelling clay to see if it is usable. I suspect I will need quite a lot of it to make the mountains tall enough, but it’s a start.

I made this thread to hear your feedback and ideas. I would love to hear from you.


Not knowing exchange rates, but I make Memoir 44 terrain for playing my Micro armor.

Here’s the link to my Instagram where I explained how I made my hexagon hills.


I used my daughter’s Cricut II machine to cut hexes out of 1.5mm basswood. I then added hedges and flocking to create my bocague.

Honestly, the Circut machine is great for all sorts of crafts and terrain pieces if you can get access to one.

Wow, thanks very much. I like how you’ve done the hills. I will look into getting one of those hot knife tools.

I had never heard of Cricut until now. It’s a little out of my time and cost limitations, but I can see how much potential it would have.

As an update, I think I have found a very cost-effective method. My son sometimes buys clay from the thrift store, plays with it once and then forgets to return it to a sealed container. It goes hard and we throw it away. I got two different kinds of clay (one that includes paper, one that seems to be thicker and has a higher stone content). I simply used an old blank CD like a pizza cutter and with one of the hex tiles as a template, and I cut out some 2 cm deep shapes. Two days later, they have almost dried hard. They look OK as they are, but I will perhaps paint them later. Further updates to follow.


A quick update with a prototype hill! I had an hour to myself over the weekend and for 220 yen ($1.50) I found a way to make some hills. The attached image shows the first of twenty hills I made with two pieces of carper tile. The deeper, brown tile is 2 cm deep and completely flat on one side, and with a mild grip surface on the other side. I marked the flat side by drawing around a hex tile with a felt pen. I then used a craft knife to cut through the roughly cut the material into hex shapes. The green carpet tile was similarly marked on the underside with pen and then it could be cut very easily with scissors, so a more accurate hex shape. I then put the green bit on top of the flat bit and used that as an outlines to trim the sides of the brown tile to be a little closer to the correct size. I will eventually sand down the edges to get them straighter and glue the green bit to the flat sides of the brown bit.

In terms of cost performance, I don’t think it would be possible to better this. It was also just about within my crafting abilities, and I didn’t need any special tools. An unintended but welcome consequence of using the brown mat was that it grips well and will not slide about on the game board. I tested the pictured prototype hill on my recently made rotating board https://memoir44fans.com/t/solitaire-table-management/654/18?u=ben_phillis, and it stayed firmly in place.

I realized that in many cases, hills are in rows rather than in isolation, so I made some of them in rows of twos, threes and fours and there was no need to cut each one out. As I mentioned I have 20 tiles in total (the green and brown mats are roughly the same size) and it is enough to span the board as in Pointe du Hoc scenario.

Time permitting, I may make some sand and snow variants by the same technique. I will do the sanding and gluing of these first, and see how it goes. I may apply a small bit of sand colored paint to the brown parts, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

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You say carper tile and I think you mean carpet tile. :thinking: The upper green part looks like a thin piece of carpet, but I’m confused by the lower part. Where would one get that?

(I am more curious as I have no plans for 3D tiles, but many love them and cheap ones are amazing; and yours look great. :heart_eyes:)

Both are indeed carpet tiles! Here in Japan, a lot of people live in apartment complexes it is a common problem to have complaints from neighbors downstairs because of the noise of kids running around and making noise. The solution is to have these thick carpet tiles that dampen the sound of footsteps. As you may know, there is also the culture of sitting on the floor here, so they are a little spongy and soft enough to sit on too. These tiles are sold everywhere and they fit together like jigsaw pieces. These are at the very cheapest end of the scale and are bought individually, but you can also buy them in bulk with nicer materials and patterns.
I will take some more pictures of the tiles when I get home. In the mean time, thanks for the complement!


Come to think of it I actually know someone nearing retirement from the carpet sales business here in the USA, so I’d love some nice photos of the thicker material or tile so maybe he might identify an equivalent.

hopefully you can show a photo with some miniatures on top on an actual board. Another green option that is very thin that comes to mind is kind of a green felt with a self-stick backing that used to be sold to put under lamps and other things place on tables (the proper name escapes me.)

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Thank you, sir! I took some more photographs. The two different tiles were cut very roughly and they’re not as well-shaped as I would like, so I have decided to have another go with better marking out and cutting.

I think I was really lucky in how well the green matches with the green on the board.

Here are the tiles as they are sold in the store (the brown one got used as a cutting board, but I can still salvage it in my second attempt).

Incidentally, before I had the idea of using the carpet tiles, I made an attempt with two different types of children’s clay from the same shop. I abandoned the attempt because they turned out uneven, but I think with a little bit more thought I could made some nice bunkers by the same method.


:heart_eyes: those are the best hills I’ve seen and also the cheapest. well, I’m no terrain expert and largely ignore it because I’m pretty committed for my bigger boards to glass with plotter rods, but I think you’ve done me in; I simply must have these. Hills have always been an attraction because they work so well with the rules.

i’m not in love with your current makeshift bunker. I just went hog wild with miniatures and paint, so I’m probably looking for a solution that might involve painting, even though I kind of hate it. these and bunkers pose problems for the under glass regime, so I’m gonna have to think about those and maybe someone who knows the rules really really well will have ideas but I know for what I want to do that. I have to kind of come up with stickers or something some of the time. (you don’t even have to do that for bridges under glass, you can just omit the river tile that goes underneath them and it’s still quite clear What is going on.)


Quick update with a recent image. I think the hills here are fairly unintrusive. After actually playing with them, I think it made a difference in strategy, I certainly was more conscious of the advantages/disadvantages of being on or beneath a hill.
As for the bunkers idea, I think I need to go back to the drawing board. I have seen some beautiful 3D printed bunkers that I think I will just have to get. I might persevere though, when time permits.

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Quick new year update. I think the CEO of a chain of thrift shops here in Japan is into making dioramas or something, because occasionally you can find some little treasures that are good for wargaming.
Attached is something that I didn’t plan for but found to be a welcome surprise. It’s a water effect maybe intended for use with Gundam figures or similar. It comes in A4-sized sheets. I had a couple of attempts at getting it right, but eventually cut out three sections to match the sections on the board (the middle one being slightly larger than the flanks). It was very easy to cut with scissors. I think it has a good effect and is absolutely unintrusive

. I went back to the shop and made some more for Overlord beach scenarios and for Breakthrough sizes.


Wow! looks great. Thanks for sharing.


Love the water effect!