Warhammer 40k Terrain Ideas

warhammer 40k terrain ideas

Bored of playing on the same tables every time? If you’re looking to expand your 40K terrain collection or start a new scenery project, we’ve got some Warhammer 40K terrain ideas that will get you inspired and add variety to your tables!

How to set-up 40k terrain

Don’t over-complicate things… you can waste hours setting up a 40k table full of elaborate, interconnecting terrain, but you should choose a set that is easy to build, use, take down and store. The example below, from the Flatline City terrain collection is really easy to set-up and move around.

Buy the gothic sanctuary

40K Terrain essentials

There’s a few staples that every tabletop gamer should have in their terrain collection. These should be easy to set-up, modular for various configurations / layouts and most of all, inspiring to play on!

We recommend you should include the following types of terrain in your collection:

Modular Buildings

Modular terrain is where it’s at for changing up your table for every game. You control the height and sprawl of the battlefield by adding more floors and a range of different rooftops.

Buy Flatline City

Piping Systems

Pipes are great for blocking line of sight and adding an industrial theme to your table. Modular pipes are even better as you can build them like lego and change the layout as much as you like. With a 3D printer, you can print dozens of piping sections to craft your own elaborate scenery.

Buy Modular Pipes

Industrial Machinery

Machines are bigger than scatter and smaller than buildings. They fill in the spaces in-between, block line of site and add cover, all the time while adding to that grim dark theme of the universe!

Scatter Terrain

Depending on the theme of your table, you’ll probably want to pad out the gaming mat with some scatter terrain. This could include consoles, crates, barricades, furniture and more!

Ruins & Wreckage

In the future is only war, so represent this with some crashed spaceships, battle damaged buildings and general wreckage.

Buy Spaceship Graveyard

Walkways & Platforms

Modular walkway systems are great for allowing troops to get into some interesting positions on the battlefield. Include a variety of stairs, platforms, elevators and railings to offer different options for cover.

Terrain Sets

Pull it all together with some terrain sets. Saucermen Studios has a range of highly detailed, 3D printable terrain sets.

How do you make 40K terrain?

There are many options for making tabletop terrain such as scratch building, DIY, kitbashing, MDF scenery, etc but the easiest and most cost-effective way to build a high quality terrain collection is with a 3D printer.

how to 3D print terrain

Add posters to your buildings

You can get free, printable posters to print-off on your home printer, cut out, glue and weather.

Which 3D printer for Warhammer Terrain?

3D printed spaceship

3D printing tabletop terrain has become an incredibly affordable way of getting more scenery on your table. Online printing communities are accessible on many platforms, with many people offering assistance to help get users started and overcome any issues they encounter. With all these opportunities, now is the time to get 3D printing for tabletop gaming!

Quick Overview…

To get started printing terrain quickly and cheaply, we recommend FDM printers, specifically the Creality Ender 3 V2 with PLA filament. If you can afford newer or pro versions, they usually include all of the essential upgrades to avoid common issues.

Why 3D print Terrain?

Once you’ve made the initial investment of buying a 3D printer which is often less than $300, you only need to purchase filament, download STL files and other have a small stash of consumable supplies.

Printing terrain and scenery is CHEAP compared to buying plastic sets and has a huge amount more detail than MDF scenery. Once you have the file, you can print as many copies as you like so you can grow a large collection of tabletop terrain with a number of different themes really easily.

Buy 3D printable terrain

What results can you expect from a 3D printer?

With each generation of 3D printer, the quality and speed improves. We’re now at a point where even cheap 3D printers can deliver incredible results. While the STL files are published with incredible detail, you can choose how quickly or detailed these are printed out. When primed and painted, you can often not tell the different between 3D printed terrain and other scenery.

Example print from the community
Example 3D print from the community

Considerations when choosing a 3D printer for terrain

  • Do you need help with bed leveling?
  • What size print area do you need?
  • Do you want a pre-built or kit printer?

So, which 3D printer should you choose for tabletop terrain?

Best Budget 3D Printer: Ender 3

Hands down, the most popular 3D printer for beginners is the Creality Ender 3. The Creality Ender 3 has a max print volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm. Check out the Ender 3 V2 for a few more features too!

Ender 3 V2

Ender 3 Pros:

  • Very cheap 3D printer
  • HUGE amount of online support communities
  • Easily upgradable

Ender 3 Cons:

  • Comes as a kit (but is easily built)
  • No automatic bed leveling (BL Touch) as standard
  • Be prepared to tweak and tinker occasionally

Mid-Range 3D printer: Creality CR-10S Pro V2

With a few upgrades and bigger printable area, the Creality CR-10S Pro V2 has a max print volume of 300x300x400mm.

CR10s Pro v2

CR-10S Pro V2 Pros:

  • Better build quality than cheaper printers
  • Large print area
  • Automated features
  • Dual Z motors for extra stability
  • Less assembly than cheaper printers
  • Filament run-out sensor

CR-10S Pro V2 Cons:

  • It’s a BIG printer (very tall)
  • Auto bed leveling can sometime miss the mark

Top-end 3D printer: Prusa i3 MK3

With a hefty price tag, this is the upper tier of 3D filament printing as it delivers more consistently higher quality and superior build quality. It has a max print volume of

Prusa i3 mk3

Prusa i3 Mk3 Pros:

  • Faster, quieter, more reliable printing
  • Excellent build quality
  • Auto bed levelling and calibration

Prusa i3 Mk3 Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other brands
  • Availability in some countries

Where to buy 3D printed terrain?

Saucermen Studios have a range of excellent 3D printable scenery available through the online store. Some of the popular terrain sets are available below.

What about resin printers?

Currently, resin printers are great value for miniature printing but FDM printers such as the Ender 3 are still the clear favorite for printable scenery. Resin vs Filament cost is the main factor here but also the size of the printer plate or bed are really important to think about too as FDM printers can usually print larger items and for a lower cost.

Keep resin printers for miniatures, bases, scatter terrain and small, highly detailed scenery.