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.
What You Will Need for No-Wire LEDs
- Compatible LED integrated terrain (model with LED/Battery caddy
- CR2032 Battery
- 5mm LED
Lighting Terrain with LED Strip Lights & EL Wire
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 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, 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.
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 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!
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 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
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.
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!