Adding LED Lighting to your Terrain

Adding led lights to terrain

Whether you’re playing 40k, Infinity, Killteam, Stargrave or any other sci-fi tabletop game, you can always spice up the battlefield by integrating LED lighting into your terrain. We’ve experimented with a few options and have designed a method that requires no wiring or soldering, all you need is a standard LED and coin battery!

The Easiest Terrain LED Lighting System

Saucermen Studios created a method of adding LEd to terrain without any wiring or complicated configurations. using a uniquely designed caddy, you simply insert a small watch battery (CR2032), clip in the LEDs and slot it into the compatible terrain.

LED lighting in terrain with CR2032 battery

What You Will Need for No-Wire LEDs

Lighting Terrain with LED Strip Lights & EL Wire

LED scifi floors for 3D printing animation

Some terrain such as our LED Flooring has integrated holes and channels for easy inclusion of LED Strip Lights or EL Wire.

What are LED Strips?

LED strip light terrain

LED strip lighting is a versatile and energy-efficient lighting solution that consists of a flexible circuit board embedded with numerous light-emitting diodes (LEDs) evenly spaced along its length. These compact, low-profile strips are designed to emit bright, vibrant light while consuming minimal energy. LED strip lighting comes in various lengths and colors. They are typically powered by 5V USB or 12V mains adapters and can be used with remote controls/Infra-red input and even mobile apps to change colours and light patterns. The flexibility of the strip allows it to be bent, twisted, and cut into desired lengths, making it highly adaptable for using in tabletop terrain projects.

What is EL Wire?

EL Wire terrain

EL wire, short for Electroluminescent wire, is a flexible and versatile lighting solution. It consists of a thin copper wire coated with a phosphor-based material. When an alternating current is applied, it emits a soft glow. EL wire is highly adaptable, easily shaped, and bent to fit various objects. It comes in vibrant colors, making it a popular choice for creative applications. EL wire finds its use in costumes, signage, and interior design projects, but is also great for adding to terrain! It is energy-efficient, generates low heat, and is safe to touch.

This thin wire come in some great neon colours, so really handy for sci-fi builds. It runs of 5v power so can plug into USB or a portable powerbank.

You can see more comprehensive instructions for our LED terrain here

Powering LEDS for Tabletop Terrain

Integrating LEDs into tabletop terrain often needs some finessing as you pack it all into a pipe or building. CR2032 batteries are the easiest methoud but you could also use a 9V battery with some more sophisticated connections and wiring. It’s worth looking at adding resistors at higher voltages to avoid burning out the LEDS.

Important note – Electricity can bite! Don’t go plugging things into the mains or using strong power sources unless you know what you’re doing. We’re gamers & artists so don’t advise using anything stronger that CR2032 batteries.

Want to really Geek out on LEDs?

Sparkfun has a great tutorial for LEDS on their website. Check it out if you want to deep dive into the technology further.

Transparent PLA for 3D Printed Wargame Terrain

See-through PLA filament is awesome when combined with LEDS. It comes in a wide range of colours and is great for diffusing hidden lights or adding different materials to your projects.

led fence terrain

LED Integrated 3D Printed Terrain

Arduinos & Microcontrollers in Terrain

The Arduino is a small, programmable microcontroller that can take inputs from external sources and connect to multiple outputs such as motors, servos and LEDs. You can use these to create flashing lights, buttons, visual displays more!

Check out the incredible work of turbochainsawballsponyrider and what he’s done with our Flatline City terrain!

Other Terrain Lighting Methods

If you’re not keen on setting up some of the LED methods above, there are several other ‘pre-made’ options for LED lighting in wargaming scenery

Bicycle Lights

bicycle lights terrain

Bicycle lights are usually white or red, they often have USB charging or run off AAA batteries. Most can be set to flash too!

LED Photography / Video Lighting

videography light terrain

Modern vidography and photogtaphy lighting is portable, USB powered, rechargeable and customisable to a wide array of colours and flashing patterns. Ulzani lights such as the VL49 RGB are a perfect size for hidning in buildings.

Tealight Candles

tealight led terrain

Your local dollar store is likely to have some cheap, LED tealights that can have teh guts ripped out. They often flicker and are perfect for hiding inside terrain to represent the burning fires of war!