15 February 2016

Specific Pacific Terrain Ideas

with Mike

The Pacific is finally here, which means I’ve got some terrain building to do! I’m one of those odd people who really enjoys a big terrain project to work on. Now that I’ve got a gamer garage up and running, I can finally take on some more ambitious projects, which is just as well since the Pacific is a unique battlefield from my typical array of European houses, hedgerows, and wheat fields!

As we anxiously await the arrival of the new figures, let's have a look and see what’s going to be needed to get some Pacific terrain rolling.

From Existing Collections
You might not think that you’ve got a lot of ready made terrain in your collection for the Pacific. Well, apart from some Vietnam terrain, I didn’t anyway. But it turns out I’ve actually got a good start on the collection and could start playing straight away. Here’s some terrain pieces that you may have in your Battlefield in a Box collection already that will work for your Pacific games.
  • Dug-In Markers (specifically Log Emplacements)
  • Desert Palms
  • Desert Minefields
  • Desert Barbed Wire
  • Desert Entrenchments
  • Craters
  • Large Craters (Great War)
  • Shattered Battlefields (Great War)
  • Italian Houses
  • Italian Walls
  • Village Huts (Vietnam)
  • Paddy Fields (Vietnam)
  • Jungle Bushes (Vietnam)
  • Rivers
  • Streams
  • Tributaries

Gung Ho! Suggestions
Gung Ho! has a list of terrain to create Pacific battlefields. I always find these pages very useful places to start on my terrain projects. Once I’ve got these things sorted I’ll move into my further suggestions, creating a terrain plan on how to prioritize and tackle them.

Here’s what the book suggests:
  • Dense Jungle
  • Woods and Clearings
  • Streams
  • Dry Stream Beds
  • Caves and Mountains
  • Plantations and Open Woods
  • Tracks, Roads, and Bridges
  • Native Houses

Mike’s Further Suggestions

As always, I start with a short list of essentials (listed above) but after that the list rapidly grows wildly out of control. To keep things manageable, I organise the terrain ideas into subcategories that I’ve established a loose ‘story’ around, such as an airfield. I then prioritize the list again because I want to make sure I hit the important stuff first while my motivation is high. Here’s my terrain list for the Pacific.

“The Airfield”
Airfields (or potential airfield locations) were usually the main objectives for the island campaigns because of their proximity to enemy military targets or supply chains. As such an airfield is a must-have for Pacific island campaigns.
  • Burnt out Betty bombers
  • Crashed Hellcat
  • Burning oil dumps
  • Control tower
  • Aircraft Hanger
  • Airstrip

“Paradise Island”
The South Pacific is well known for its tropical paradise islands. The sun shines year-round and palm trees provide shade to relax under. However, the reality is that it was a hot and humid place to have a battle.
  • Shattered Palms
  • Reef strips
  • Long Pier (stone/coral)
  • Short Piers (wood)
  • Raised seaside houses/buildings
  • Old shipwreck (lagoon zone)

“Paradise Fortified”
Both US and Japanese forces wasted no time fortifying islands that were of strategic value. Islands like Wake, Midway, Betio, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, to name just a few, were heavily fortified against amphibious assaults. Local stone, rock, and timber were typically used to build the fortifications with the important buildings being but from the more limited concrete supplies.

  • Palm seawalls & embrasures
  • Palm Bunkers
  • Palm log barbed wire
  • Mound command bunker
  • Aid station bunker
  • Administration center ruins
  • Reinforced building ruins
  • Firing pits
  • Prefab tetrahedron command bunkers
  • Beachside firing position (naval guns)
  • Anti-tank ditch
  • Flag pole (Japan)
  • Flag pole (USA)
This map is practically a massive and detailed "To Do List"

“The Scrapyard”
Battles on the small islands generated a large amount of destroyed vehicles concentrated in a small physical area. During the fighting, these sometimes offered shelter from incoming fire. In some rare cases, bold Japanese soldiers would climb aboard knocked out US vehicles and turn the fixed machine-guns on the American troops, making any wrecks possibly dangerous.
  • Swamped Sherman
  • Knocked out Amtrac
  • Knocked out Type 95 
  • Knocked out gun emplacement

Hit the Workbench!
Over the next few months I hope to have most of this stuff done to an extent. I'm also going to focus on tutorials for some of them as well, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I'm curious to know what's on your terrain list? Post your ideas below! 


  1. Great post! Your suggested terrain pieces are all excellent ideas which will make great story-line games. I look forward to watching your progress here on the blog as I am not a Facebook account holder. ;-)


  2. Thanks! I'm a firm believer that stories make the world, even if that world is contained within the confines of a tabletop!