Terrain Essentials

Created by Dave Taylor Miniatures

An Essential Guide to Building Tabletop Terrain

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Happy Holidays to all (and a little gift)!
9 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
9 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

Getting close to the end.
11 months ago – Tue, Nov 05, 2019 at 01:13:51 AM

Thank you all for your patience!

We've been a little quiet over the last four weeks, not shouting from the rooftops that everything is complete. That's because it isn't complete yet and we've been working hard to make it so. We have also had a couple of unexpected delays that we are now clear of and we can see the finish line. 

Some of you have expressed concern over the status of the project, given that original planning had Mel finishing up his work at the end of August. I always knew that was a very ambitious schedule and built in some extra time to keep us on track for a February fulfillment. We are still on track for that, and will keep you up to date as we complete the creation phase and move into the production phase. 

Mel and I are still both very excited about the book and the way it works through from core skills and techniques into more advanced knowledge, with each section building on the last. All props to Mel, the book is better than I originally pictured when we first planned it out. We are both fiercely committed to bringing you all a "big, green terrain book" that will be referenced for decades to come. 

While Mel has been building, photographing, and writing and I have been editing and laying out, our friend Tanya Beeson has been whipping up some cool illustrations for each chapter of the book. Tanya is responsible for the fun cartoons on The Terrain Tutor channel and we wanted to make sure that her work was integrated into the book. We hope you enjoy this look at some of the initial sketches from Tanya. 

And thanks again for your continued support!



Between a Rock and a Hill!
12 months ago – Wed, Oct 09, 2019 at 03:18:47 AM

Thank you all for your continuing patience. Both Mel and I are working hard to get the book done. Lots of writing, building, photography, layout, and editing (the last two are what’s going on in the accompanying photo).

There are three things I’d like to cover in this update:

1) Last Monday we locked orders and charged cards through BackerKit. Things went quite smoothly with only 250 cards being declined. Many people have fixed this issue, and we are currently at about 65 orders still to be charged. Each week we’ll be charging those cards and contacting anyone who still has an issue.

2) We still have 240 supporters who have not filled out their survey. If you think you are one of these people but can’t find the email from BackerKit, message me here on Kickstarter and we’ll get you squared away. Anyone who has not filled out the pledge manager survey by the time we are ready to lock down addresses risks not getting their rewards (even those who have backed for digital products).

3) The book is developing beautifully! Mel and I have talked about this recently and although we knew the format was going to be a steady build of skills, working through the process in a logical manner leading up to the feature builds, I didn’t really understand how powerfully that would come across in the book. We are very excited, to say the least!



Only 10 Days Remaining on the Pledge Manager!
12 months ago – Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 07:22:18 PM

Mel and I have been working hard on moving the book forward everyday. We're very excited about how our "big, green book of terrain" is coming along, and several insiders who have seen small sections think we might have ruined things for anyone else writing a terrain-making book in the future.  

You have all done a great job too. With just 10 days remaining on the pledge manager/pre-order store we wanted to let you know that over 95% of you have filled out your surveys. THANK YOU! Only 285 people who pledged for this campaign have yet to fill out theirs. 


We need you to go ahead and fill it out as soon as possible. If it isn't filled out before September 30, we can't guarantee you'll receive your book(s) on time. If it isn't filled out at all, you certainly won't be able to get it. 

If you've lost your survey email, please visit this link – https://terrain-essentials.backerkit.com/ – and enter the same email address you used for the KS campaign. That will automatically have a new survey sent to you.


If you paid for your shipping and Add-Ons with Paypal, you are all set. As soon as you completed your survey, the money was taken from your account, and you are covered.


If you paid for your shipping and Add-Ons with a credit or debit card, your card has not yet been charged. It will be charged on Monday, September 30 or Tuesday, October 1 when the pledge manager/pre-order store closes. Please make sure you have sufficient funds available on those dates to avoid any declining transactions. 


Your friends have until Monday, September 30 to place a pre-order through the store. You can send them to this link – https://terrain-essentials.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Thanks again, everyone, for your awesome support through this whole project. Next update we'll try to squeeze a few cool photos in, so you can see how things are going.