What to use for Crests in Crossfire

I’ve tried several variations on HTD Crests so I thought I’d share some of them.

This post was prompted by a question by Dick Bryant on the Crossfire WWII Yahoo forum:

Though I enjoy using Crest and contour lines in my CF games, I am very disappointed in their representation on the table. How do you depict them in your games?

Crests in Crossfire / HTD represent undulations in the ground and are kind of like very, very low hills. They are something that infantry would shelter behind but which your average hiker might not even notice.

Here are a few things I’ve tried, in reverse chronological order…

Long tiny hills

I haven’t used them yet but my newest batch of crests are tiny little hills. Simon from S&A Scenics made them for me. They are constructed and flocked in the same way as their normal hills. That means high density polystyrene with laminated 2mm MDF bases. With gentle slopes and finished with static grass.

Crests as Low Hills

Crests as Low Hills

The difference from the hills is these are small and curved. I asked Simon to go for a “straightish banana shape”. He gave them a width of 1″ and a crest of approximately 1/2″ high (if I did it again I’d go for even lower, say 1/4″). I went for three lengths: 4 inches, 6 inches and 8 inches long.

Pros: Durable. Consistent visual look with other terrain / flock and in particular look like the hills. Lie flat.

Cons: Fiddly to make or expensive.

Flocked Wooden Half Round Moulding

I got some Wooden Half Round Moulding from a local DIY store (HomeBase). I think the specific item was “Richard Burbidge Half Round Moulding – Pine – 2400 x 5 x 18mm”. I then cut this into various lengths from 4″ to 8″ and rounded off the ends. Finally I flocked them.

Wooden Moulding for Crests

Wooden Moulding for Crests

The photos shows some of the pieces of moulding before and after I flocked them. These date from a while ago and my flocking style has changed a bit since then.

Pros: Durable. Flattish. Consistent visual look with other terrain / flock. Lie flat.

Cons: Dead straight.

Pipe Cleaner

Pipe cleaners are practical but lack on the aesthetics.

Pipe Cleaners as Crests

Pipe Cleaners as Crests

Pros: Durable. Cheap. Quick. Bendy.

Cons: Look like pipe cleaners. Don’t lie flat.

Green Cord

I started with green cord from the local DIY store (HomeBase). Mainly because I found myself there quite often so it was convenient. You can buy it is any length you want.

Green Cord as Crests

Green Cord as Crests

Pros: Durable. Cheap. Quick. Bendy.

Cons: Doesn’t look like much, i.e. chopped up cord with white bits showing. Don’t lie flat.

5 comments to What to use for Crests in Crossfire

  • Dick Bryant

    Steven
    I’m trying something similar to your latest effort. I made them from cork board covered with mastic and flocked. These are for the small CF games (2′ x 2′ maps) that I am going to run at a local convention (Havoc) in late March. I modified your information folders to use as I have Americans and Germans. I have incorporated your suggestions as well.
    I will be running 3 of the maps at a time and hope to run through several iterations.
    I’ll let you know what happens.
    Dick

  • Thanks Steve for your always informative answers to Crossfire questions and for all the time you put into this wonderful website. You are one of the reasons we play Crossfire and no longer play the rules I wrote! (really good but not as quick and clean) I have been wargaming 20mm WWII for over 20 years and what I do is simple, effective, cheap, and looks fine (you hardly see it) on the battle field. I use “Thread” yes, cheap thread for sewing! Any green slightly darker than your mat or hill flocking will do. Just unroll cut lay on hills the place other terrain. It hardly shows up unless you look for it. I just toss the used stuff most of the time. You can however tape or glue one end to your hills and then just lay it out for each battle. We also use this idea for marking zones of control, deployment, victory areas, ect…

    • Steven Thomas

      Bill, thanks for the praise – much appreciated.

      Great idea on the “thread”. Never occurred to me to go even smaller than the cord I started with.

  • I have used 5mm foam board – it can be cut quickly to any shape and just chamfered off with a sharp scalpel to get a sloping edge. Then I cover it with sand and PVA. They do warp slightly but barely noticeable over a 4-6″ length. You can glue small stones on for rocky outcrops; it also works well to poke holes in it, and then PVA in small twigs or sisal string clumps for a bit of foliage.

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