Zone Mortalis table for under $100 – part one

Hey guys,

Apparently I’m on a bit of a terrain bender at the moment. I’ve only had a couple of games of Zone Mortalis, but really enjoyed the games that I’ve had. I love the table that Forge World produces, however they’re a little to expensive for me to justify, especially considering I’m not sure how often I’d use it. So, I thought I’d make my own.

How hard could it be…

I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about doing this, and I decided on a series of movable wall sections. I bought all the materials for the table at my local Bunnings store, but obviously any equivalent would do. The main materials cost me well under $100 dollars.

The first step is to build a series of blank wall sections. The design I’m using will be a blank wall section with a buttress on one side. The wall sections can then be positioned sitting up against the buttresses. This is a similar system to the one used by Games Workshop’s cities of death terrain.

Here’s a look at the materials I used.


So, the first step is to cut strips of 3mm MDF to act as the bases and tops of each of the wall sections. These should be cut to the same width as the buttresses that will be used. I found the easiest way to do this was to use the pieces of wood used for the buttresses as a measure for these sections.



I wanted to use pre-cut timbre that was one inch wide for the buttresses, but the closest I could find was 30mm. The length of these pieces is the width you want for the corridor, plus the width of the buttress. In my case, I wanted the corridors to be four inches wide, and so cut the base plates appropriately. I made these wall sections in two sizes, one 4 inches plus the width of buttress, and the other twice that. You’ll need two strips of these per wall section.

The next stage is to cut the buttresses. Obviously, the height you cut the buttresses is the height the corridors will end up being, plus the height of the top and bottom sections (6mm). I made the buttresses to be the same height as Cities of Death sections. You’ll need one of these per wall section, plus a few extras to cap off walls that end without butting up to other wall sections. I made twelve extra.

Now, you need the walls themselves. I made these from foam core board, as it’s cheap and easy to work with. Obviously you want these to be four inches long and the height of a CoD tile. It’s best to do this in long strips and mass produce them. I doubled these up per wall section to try and give each section a bit of extra strength. Foam core is also handy as you can trim them as necessary to try and compensate for any imperfections in the sizes of the buttresses and base plates.

Now, repeat! I found you will need between 20 and 25 sections of wall per 2’x4′ board section.


Next, assemble! These are really easy to stick together. I used a hot glue gun, although you could add a few screws to help keep the buttresses and top and bottom sections together. Below are examples of the two different sizes for the wall sections.


And below, you can start to see the vague idea behind the design and how the wall sections interact.20160918_134905

Right! Now you should have a giant pile of blank wall sections. Next step is to decorate. This is where most of the cost comes in, and where a lot of the time is spent. CNC workshop does a great product called a widget pack, which is basically a whole series of MDF laser cut decorative details for terrain, like fans, vents and other gubinz. Wooden beading (strips of wood used to edge windows and the like), and dowel are also really handy for this. Both of these should be available from any Bunnings or equivalent store. Guitar wire and plastic decorative strips for hobby work is also good. Use your imagination for this and have fun!

Here’s an example of some of the sections I ended up with.

You’ll also need some practical components, like door sections. I used sections of 6mm MDF. These were cut to 4 inches to match the width of the corridor, and the same height as the walls plus 6mm, to compensate for the added height of the top and bottom plates of MDF. I then decorated these with a couple of bits of beading, and I’ll probably add extra details later.


I also made a few different sections of wall, designed to add a bit of interest to the table. These doors were fiddly to make, but I think they should be useful. The doorways are 2 inches wide, so they act as a choke point for dreadnoughts and other large-based  models. The doors can also be opened and closed.

I’ve always been of the opinion that if something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing! So, I made sixty wall sections, which was enough to cover a 6×4 table with a moderate amount of terrain.

I still need to make some base boards for the table, and obviously get some paint on it. But I think that should do for now!

Cheers guys!

This entry was posted in Terrain and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Zone Mortalis table for under $100 – part one

  1. rob says:

    Very cool looking table, looks like a lot of well invested work there. How stable are the wall sections if you stack them to make multilevel pieces? just thinking about re-purposing for Necromunda or similar.


    • rustymagos says:

      Cheers rob!

      The wall sections are fairly stable, especially the longer sets. Like most terrain though, they are vulnerable to getting knocked when gaming.

  2. Warburton says:

    Very impressive work!

  3. Thomas says:

    Great work. I once built my own ZM table. Detailing was the hardest part. But man, it’s fun playing ZM.

  4. rustymagos says:

    Thanks Thomas! I’ve only had a few games but I’ve really enjoyed it so far! A few friends are starting a monthly ZM gaming night, so hoping I should be able to get a heap more games in!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s