Operational Terrain 6 – Tiny Hills to Fit 4 Inch Hexes

My Terrain Experiment on a 4 Inch Hex Grid convinced me that my existing hills were too big. I need some tiny hills to fit within 4 inch hexes. The context is that I want to try some operational level wargames on a mat with a 4 inch hex grid. This is for my, as yet unwritten, Deep Battle rule set.


The End Result: Tiny Hills

I thought I’d start at the end of the journey. The painted tiny hills on table. The tiny hills are designed to fit within 4″ hexes. I did not want fancy hex shapes. I wanted normal roundish hills to superimpose on a hex grid. The same approach I use generally, i.e. terrain goes on top the mat/table.

Tiny Hills 4 On Table

Tiny Hills 4 On Table

There are three shapes:

  • Round hill (3 inches across). This fits within a single 4″ hex.
  • Short ridge shaped hill (3 inches by 2 inches). Again fits within a single 4″ hex. Just for variety.
  • Long ridge shaped hill (6-7 inches long and 2 inches wide). This fills two 4″ hexes; the 2 inch dimension means they don’t cross neighbouring hexes.

The good:

  • The tiny hills fit nicely onto the 4″ hex grid
  • Troops can stand on them without sliding off

The bad:

  • They ain’t no mountains

Now the thing you have to remember is that on table these features represent massive mountains or ranges of hills at the ground scale I have in mind (where a 4″ hex is either 20k across or 40km across). And that is my only concern … although these tiny hills fit nicely within a hex or two, at 6mm tall they are not obviously mountains. Mind you, putting a mountain into a hex would be both a modelling and gaming challenge. Something to muse on.


The Beginning: Sandy Hills from S&A Scenics

I contacted Simon from S&A Scenics. He has one some special projects for me in the past so I asked him for some tiny hills. Actually, a lot of tiny hills. I have no idea how many I’ll need and I figured I may as well get them all at once. So I got 60. Yup, 60.

I asked Simon for:

  • 20 x round hill (3 inches across)
  • 20 x short ridge shaped hill (3 inches by 2 inches)
  • 20 x long ridge shaped hill (6-7 inches long and 2 inches wide)

So, after a relatively short wait, 60 tiny hills arrived.

Tiny Hills 1 Full Collection Unpainted

Tiny Hills 1 Full Collection Unpainted

Given the hills have a really small foot print, I wanted them to be very low as well. So low that stands of figures don’t slide off. S&A Scenics normal hills are 12mm high but Simon has done some custom crests you did for me are 6mm high in MDF only (for Crossfire – I must blog about them). We agreed that 6mm was better than 12mm for this new project.

Tiny Hills 2 Unpainted

Tiny Hills 2 Unpainted


The Middle: Painting

I asked Simon to finish with sand. I want them unpainted so I can complete them in my normal flocking style. He glued on the sand and then I painted and dry brushed.

Tiny Hills 3 Full Collection Painted

Tiny Hills 3 Full Collection Painted

I didn’t dry brush evenly all over. I left the lower sides darker in an attempt to suggest shadow and (perhaps) greater height. I’m not sure how successful this was.

5 comments to Operational Terrain 6 – Tiny Hills to Fit 4 Inch Hexes

  • I like them – see how they play.Why would you want mountains except to delineate an impassible area (except for passes, etc. If you use Mountains how realistic must they be? (I am thinking of two pieces of card each shaped as a craggy mountain, cut to fit together like the old egg crates and placed in the hex.

    ALSO: Yes you SHOULD blog about the CF crests!!! Please!
    No Scenario survives first contact with a wargamer!

    • Steven Thomas

      Yes, mountains are going to be impassable (like the sea). I like your idea for mountain models.

      Crests: you’re right, I should post an update. My latest ones look remarkably like the tiny hills. 🙂

  • Have you thought of using the flatter looking Kallistra features? They are four inch hexes, fill the hex, are very mountainous, and if you select the correct ones, are flat on top. If they are impassible, nothing gets put on top of them anyway, so why not use the Kallistra snow topped mountains? https://www.kallistra.co.uk/index.php?page=57

    • Steven Thomas

      Cool. Look great and very easy but kind of expensive. I’ll see if I actually need impassable mountains.

  • Those look great on 4 inch hexes!

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