Terrain Essentials

Created by Dave Taylor Miniatures

An Essential Guide to Building Tabletop Terrain

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Stay Safe, Everyone!
9 days ago – Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 02:43:34 AM

Well, I think it is safe to say that it has been a rough month for everyone. With all this uncertainty about what is coming next, and situations many of us have never seen before in our lives, it has been incredibly difficult to concentrate.   

We wanted to give you a quick update to let you know where everything is at. By late February/early March, Mel had sorted out a solid schedule of writing, studio, and family time, and was spending time in the studio with Jase, wrapping up the photos that were outstanding from the Materials and Practicals sections so that we could cross them off our list (the photo above is using hairspray to fix flock to clump foliage). They worked a bit more on the Water section too, preparing for the final two builds (a modular river and a waterfall). However, with the rapidly changing situation around the world, we've tapped the brakes a little, and Mel has spent this week bringing things he'll need for builds in the Buildings & Kits section back to his place so that he'll be able to continue from home, particularly if there's a lockdown order issued at all.   

In the image above you can see where we were at our last update (on the left), and where we are now (on the right). Seven of eleven section are completed, with two more close to completed, and the Buildings & Kits section underway.   

Isolation's Reach  

As none of us are sure how long this crisis will continue to significantly impact our lives, Mel will be embarking on a hobby-at-home project that is tentatively titled Isolation's Reach. In this project, Mel will be livestreaming the construction of an Adeptus Mechanicus facility, in an effort to ensure that social distancing doesn't become digital distancing too. 

Over the next few days I think Mel will be releasing more details about this project, so head on over to The Terrain Tutor YouTube channel and make sure you're a subscriber. 

Thank You!

As always, thank you all for your patience! This last five months have been incredibly trying on Mel, and it has been your support that has kept him going and moving forward, steadily building confidence again and feeling good about creating again. Stay safe, everyone, follow the advice of public health officials, and we'll continue to keep you updated as we make more progress. 


Dave (and Mel and Jase)

Some Great News AND Progress on the Book.
about 1 month ago – Wed, Feb 26, 2020 at 12:59:58 AM

Once again, Mel and I would like to thank you for your patience and support. 

Over the last few months, not only has Mel been going through a lot of personal issues, mental health strain, but there have been physical health concerns too. Here's a link to Mel's announcement video about the biggest of the concerns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZjmMlwPtDE

Last Friday Mel received the news that he was cancer free. This has been a considerable weight on his shoulders (and mine, to be honest) and the news that he's able to step out from under that cloud, which is  is just brilliant!

Over the last few weeks, Mel's also been back in the Studio, working on builds for the Water section, writing for the Water section, and planning the builds for the Buildings & Kits section too. We're able to advance the tracker from 50% to 75% for that section, and I think we'll start to see a more rapid progression for the outstanding chapters.

Mel and I have been messaging back and forth every day, video chatting every other day, and over he weekend he sent me these pics and this quick video. This is one of the latest builds for the Water section, and we wanted you to see it. 

In addition, Mel is back on his YouTube channel (The Terrain Tutor) every Sunday (9pm GMT) and will be getting back to filming in his Studio during the week too. In fact, when we video chatted today he was in the Studio with our mate Jase and just about to do a quick video tour of things to release in the next couple of days. So, make sure you keep up with Mel on YouTube HERE and/or Facebook HERE.

Things are definitely looking on the up for Mel, which means forward progress on The Book. As I've said before, we'll provide updates here as and when we have significant progress to report. It looks like that will be more often now, which is a great thing for all of us. 



Thank you all for your continuing patience.
about 2 months ago – Thu, Feb 06, 2020 at 01:45:43 AM

It has been about 6 weeks since our last update. Probably a little too long to go between updates, but we wanted to make sure we had news to deliver. Mel and I thank you for your patience and understanding.

December and January have been very tough months for Mel. Family concerns and health scares and getting settled in a new house have taken their toll. Mel and I have been chatting regularly, and our mate Jason Green has been spending quite a bit of time with Mel too. While he's not at 100% yet, things are looking up. 

Some of you may have seen Mel's recent Sunday Nighters, which are a welcome return to interaction with the Terrainiacs. Even this morning Mel told me he had definitely missed chatting with you wonderful bunch of people. Mel has also started writing again, and at the moment is focused on the Water section of Terrain Essentials. The photo above is an old one, that piece has since been painted and stands ready in the studio for Mel to start on three water pours tomorrow. 

While there isn't much change in the "progress chart", progress is being made. It is slow going at the moment, but it is happening. We don't have a revised ETA yet, sorry. We'll keep you updated as we move forward. 

Thank you again for your support. 



Happy Holidays to all (and a little gift)!
3 months ago – Mon, Dec 23, 2019 at 02:15:54 AM

Overwhelmingly Positive Support

Mel and I would like to thank you all for your patience and messages of support. It makes an uncertain time more bearable when you know that so many people are supporting you.

Mel has been doing things that are good for the soul, spending time with his kids, and working on a 40K Kill Team project with Corben, messing around with fun mash-ups with the GW and Mantic terrain kits. All of this has started his journey back to regaining his mojo. 

Progress Report

We've talked a bit about making sure you all know how things are progressing with Terrain Essentials, and we've come up with a graphic that will act as a "last update/this update" tracker for the book (and the chapters within). Here is the status of the book at our last update:

And here's our status as of this update:


• Introduction - final illustrations arrived

• Water & Snow - Photos taken and text written for Snow section

We hope to be able to bring you these update graphics as we go along. As you can see, we have a lot of green already on the graph and are steadily moving towards the goal of all green.

Happy Holidays!

At this festive time of year, Mel and I wanted to make sure everyone had something in their inbox that was specifically terrain related. I have been building terrain for almost 30 years, and each time I've received a section of he book through from Mel I've learned something new. I was inspired to finally pull my finger out and build a 6'x4' 40K gaming table that I can use with my Genestealer Cult and/or my Adeptus Mechanicus armies.

I've put together a bit of an "article" about how I planned out the set, built bases and crater pieces, painted everything to achieve a particular look, and a quick look at the things I have learned so far from Terrain Essentials. It's important to note that this article was written by me, it isn't presented in the way we're presenting Terrain Essentials, and hasn't been through our copy-editing process. 

You can download the Hi-res PDF (51MB) HERE, and the Lo-res PDF (2.6MB) HERE

We hope you enjoy this bonus content and thank you all again for your ongoing support!

A Very Tough Update To Write
4 months ago – Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 02:24:06 AM

I wanted to put out this update as a follow up from Mel’s Facebook post yesterday and in response to several questions we’ve received regarding the status of the project.

Following our last update - in which we talked about the general delays we had experienced, and our confidence that the end of the creative process was near - Mel and his family have gone through some turbulent times.

You can read his Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/488446687882366/posts/2648069135253433/

And hear the words directly from Mel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8daCOnaEOJM

I know that some of you might be wondering why these issues haven’t been discussed earlier, or been presented here in an update on the project, given the openness and enthusiasm we both have displayed in the past. Some might even feel our lack of communication about these issue is about creating some kind of smokescreen or deception, and we can certainly see why that might be the case. This is the stage of the project where we should be celebrating, showing you cool sneak peeks, talking about locking down shipping addresses and the like.

The reason we have been quiet on everything is that we’ve really had no idea about how these difficulties would impact the process. It’s uncharted territory, for both of us. In addition to having never been in this situation before, we’ve both been unable to talk about it anywhere near as freely as we’d like, which has caused us additional anxiety. Mel is going through these difficult times, and as a mate (we’ve been friends for over a decade) I’m here to stand beside him, someone to turn to, someone to support him as he moves forward. At the moment, we’re still working through the issues and once we’ve had significant progress on the book, we’ll be able to update you all on that.

Some will no doubt think that perhaps we should have had the book completely written before we went to Kickstarter. These people will be correct. Mel and I both agree that we were somewhat naive, that hindsight is 20/20, and we find ourselves in this situation that needs to be worked through with compassion and positivity, looking for solutions that will benefit all.

We are also well aware that we have so many of you that are counting on us to create the best book we can (close to 6,000 of you). We feel that it is important to note these issues are not money-related. The project is properly funded: our artists (friends Tanya and Tim) have been paid, our printer has been paid, and the money to pay our fulfillment house and get the books where they need to be has been put aside ready to go.

Mel and I are both looking forward to lengthy careers in the wargaming hobby ‘world’ and we hope these delays, and our lack of updates on them haven’t eroded your confidence and trust in us. We see this as an  unfortunate place to be, but we can also see the path to getting through to the other side.

So, we want to thank you for you patience and support. Terrain Essentials will be made and it will be wonderful. There will be a delay in completion and fulfillment, we hope it will be a short one but, at the moment, we just don’t know.

Dave and Mel