Martian Wargaming Terrain from Second-Hand Toys

Over the last couple of years, I’ve developed a fondness for browsing thrift stores, flea markets, clearance sales and swap meets, looking for cheap plastic toys or well-used bits of model railroading scenery that could potentially be repurposed into tabletop wargaming terrain.

It’s good, clean fun, keeps me out of trouble, and it’s considerably cheaper than playing golf. Plus, if I create something new and functional out of a used item that might have otherwise gone in the landfill, then that’s a bonus.

Unfortunately, I’ve been accumulating repurposed terrain-building materials faster than I’ve actually been making terrain. The storage tubs marked “Terrain Stuff” are filling up, and I can’t in good conscience stockpile any more plastic in them until I’ve put a noticeable dent in the current inventory.

So it’s lucky for me that we have a couple of Martian-themed battle reports scheduled for the near future. These upcoming shoots provided the necessary, deadline-driven motivation for me to cherry-pick the terrain tubs and start building some home-made, Mars-appropriate scenery.

For this particular terrain-building frenzy, I selected a tangled 1987 G.I. Joe Cobra Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball; two pieces of pink plastic coral from the Toys “R” Us liquidation sale; a dusty TV camera from a Disney/Pixar Cars Piston Cup race track; and an early 1980s G.I. Joe jet-pack launch pad.

As with most of my terrain-building projects, there was only a rudimentary plan in mind for each of these individual pieces. It was mostly a case of “we’ll figure it all out as we go and hope we don’t destroy something irreplaceable in the process!”

To watch the project unfold and see the final results of our great Martian terrain-building adventure, just check out the video at the top of this post.