Not too long ago I started 3D printing terrain pieces for use tabletop roleplaying games. Besides some scatter terrain and pieces like crates and barrels, most of the pieces so far come from They sell printed and painted pieces through their Etsy shop, but also sell the STL files for printing at home. In this article, I share my experiences printing these pieces on an FDM (fused deposition modeling) printer.

General remarks

For the printing cost estimations I used a price of 22 EUR/kg (dec 2021), an average power usage of 65 W and an electricity price of 0.22 EUR/kWh (2021). For the printing time estimates, I used the standard profiles available in PrusaSlicer 2.4 for the Prusa i3 MK3s+ printer with Fillamentum PLA.

The pieces

I want the terrain pieces that I buy and print to be usable in multiple situations and to allow some flexibility in (quickly) setting up an encounter for my players. For this, I have selected the Ancient Ruins Starter Kit, the Design Master Board – Dynamic Hills, and the Playable Deciduous Trees and I plan to add some more pieces from the Stepped Hills series and Dynamic Hills series soon.

Ancient Ruins Starter Kit

This kit consists of 10 terrain pieces of ruin walls and gates. It is a diverse set of pieces that allow you to build you a wide variety of ruins quickly. Each wall comes in several parts that can be printed without supports. They need to be assembled and glued together. For each wall in the kit all the parts for a wall fit on the 25 x 20 cm print bed of the Prusa i3 MK3(s+) series printers so that each print will give you one complete terrain piece. All the pieces can be printed free of supports on an FDM printer. In the downloaded files, you will find the terrain pieces as 1) an entire part, 2) all parts pre-arranged on the print bed and 3) all parts as separate files for smaller printers.

The printed parts need to be joined using glue. There are no alignment pins, so you will have to do the alignment yourself. This is very simple though, so that is not a point of worry. Clamp them well though, so that any gaps between the pieces are eliminated. After the glue up you will still be able to see the seam. I didn’t care about it, because it is often hardly noticable when the pieces are painted and finished. At least, it doesn’t bother me.

The files cost 29.95 USD (26.47 EUR, dec 2021). Together with the time and money spent on the actual printing, the project cost somes to 54.80 EUR. Given the number of terrain pieces you get, that is not a bad price. The kit is versatile, especially if you also want to print some additional pieces and paint them in another colour scheme. I have picked a typical overgrown ruins theme for the first batch, but if my gaming group moves into more arid areas of the world, they might see the same pieces for example in a desert theme.

PartPrint time (hrs)Filament (g)Cost (EUR)
Basic Archway Door Wall15.751523.57
Basic Corner Wall A17.251653.88
Basic Corner Wall B111072.51
Basic Wall B12.51202.82
Double Arch Window12.51152.71
Double Arch Window – Half Arch Door15.751483.48
Grand Arch – Half Arch Doorway15.51463.43
Half Arch Door Wall A7.25671.58
Half Grand Arch (left side)10.251002.35
Single Arch Window9.25852.00
Total127 hrs1205 g28.33 EUR
Table 1: At 10 % infill, 0.2 mm layer height.

Design Master Board – Dynamic Hills

The Design Master Boards consists of four panels of 8 x 8″ each (20.32 cm x 20.32 cm) that can be arranged in various ways to make a terrain piece. In this case, they can be used to make hills or valleys between hills/mountains. This certainly adds to the reusability of the segments, even within the same adventure or playing session. For example, if you have multiple mountain encounters back-to-back you just have to rearrange the pieces to create an entirely new section of mountain range.

The tiles are pre-structured. This means that some structure is added to the finish in the printing process, so that you can forego the steps of adding sand to the model to rough it up.

The Design Master Board – Dynamic Hills costs 9.95 USD (8.79 EUR, dec 2021). As can be seen in the table below, the total project can be printed in close to 4 days of continuous printing, takes roughly one entire roll of PLA (1 kg) and costs approximately 31.58 EUR for the first set of 4 (including the costs of the STL files).

PartPrint time (hrs)Filament (g)Cost (EUR)
Total92 hrs976 g22.79 EUR
Table 2: Required print time, required filament and total price. All values are indicative and vary for your printer settings and filament. I used 7% infill, with no supports and standard movement speeds for the Prusa i3 MK3s+. Printed with 0.2 mm layer height and bridging supports switched on.

Deciduous Trees

Do they look like real trees? No. They don’t. Actually, they reminded me a bit of broccoli when I first saw them, but they do the job and work fine as playable trees when you paint them. The biggest plus of this design is that the canopy comes in two parts and that the bottom part has a grid on the inside. You go from a piece of decoration — that potentially only blocks line of sight during play — to a piece that is actually playable and that gives your players the freedom to use it to their advantage by placing their miniatures in the tree. To me that is a major plus over some of the other printable trees I’ve found on the web. I happily sacrifice realism for playability.

Photo of an unpainted deciduous tree with the top half removed so that miniatures can be placed ‘in’ the tree. The shown sample is scaled down to 75%.

The trees come in three designs and are fairly large. I’ve printed full-scale copies and copies that were scaled to 75%. The mix of them makes for some nice variety on the table and reduces print time a bit. In comparison to the Design Master Boards, the trees are not that big at all, but they require a comparable time to print: over a day per tree (at 100%).

The set of trees cost 9.95 USD (8.79 EUR, dec 2021). Including the cost of the PLA and the electricity, the total cost comes to 22.94 EUR for the first three trees.

PartPrint time (hrs)Filament (g)Cost (EUR)
Tree A22.25 (11.5)174 (87)4.15 (2.07)
Tree B24.5 (12.25)207 (98)4.73 (2.34)
Tree C27.25 (13.5)222 (105)5.27 (2.50)
Total74 (37.25) hrs603 (290) g14.15 (6.91) EUR
Table 3: Required print time for 15% infill and a 0.2 mm layer height. The numbers between brackets are for the 75% scaled down versions.

More to come?

If I buy new sets from this vendor, I will append this review with the new pieces!

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