I think you should consider using the greatest resource for 25-30mm terrain modelers in the known universe ...
They are cheap (because we want to mass-produce sci-fi
miscelanea, right?), about the right size, identical (more on that l8r),
and already come in a decent variety of shapes and colors:
Lo and behold, once you've had a few sodas and hit the tops with a Sharpie, you have a set of identical generic objectives:
Identical. Right. Or ... are they?
highlights one of the coolest things about using bottlecaps. You can
get a bunch of identical pieces, but you can hide differences inside on
the bottom. For modelers, this isn't exciting. But for a gamer, the
ability to have 4 or 6 hand made and cheap, identical objectives that
can be labeled for different game effects is very useful. Sure, you can
write on the bottom of any piece of small terrain like that -- but
unless you have a slew of spare electonics a la Froggy the Great, this
is the best and cheapest way to mix up several objectives and have no
one know which is which until you encounter them! Yay!
Still, this is a terrain site and the generic objectives are not
really that interesting. So, let's start by looking at how we can
arrange them, exploiting the fact that there are several different
shapes, but they all are the same size:
So, now we have some variety (actually, a decent amount when you
consider permutations and combinations (including orientation)). And
they are a little bigger (single caps only come up to about knee height
on 28mm minis). And they are still identical. But can't we go a little
farther and preserve the good aspects (cheap and identical)?
a little paint and creativity (ok, and some stir sticks) added, we now
have some barrels, cargo pods, containers, equipment looking things, and
maybe that last thing on the right in the last picture is a jet engine
for a space ship (at least I hope so, 'cause that's how I make 'em).
We've kept this pretty cheap, fast, and easy to do. You should be able
to mass-produce a whole cargo bay full of this type of stuff for next to
nothing (though if you need that many caps, you may either pay in terms
of you health or you may have to beg friends for their used bottlecaps.
Come on, you're a gamer or a terrainer, people already look at you
) To add to the generic barrels, if you want a few customs (besides
that generic one that is marked on the bottom to blow up when a figure
moves adjacent to it), here is some customization:
and a little more variety
We also should not forget outdoors and the potential for alien environments our sci fi guys could encounter:
I also want to make some palm trees like this, but I haven't done it yet.
Besides the use of caps alone, they make good piece parts for other pieces of terrain. Like bases for statues:
or mybe even a whole fountain...
so maybe the bottom is the lid from a jar of Nutella. But once you
start collecting caps, you will branch out. Trust me. Sooner or later,
you will end up with something like this:
Yep alien yoghurt cup walkers!
So, maybe I have convinced you this is cool enough to rate some
effort. But the real point is to see these babies in action. So how
about a little scenario with some store-bought sci fi terrain and some
of these pieces:
think they can hold their own against the store-bought pieces. And
they were a lot cheaper and much more fun to acquire. Let's try again:
look! It's multi-level ajdacent terrain with three levels beyond the
ground! That's almost as cool as the Smurf village I made once out of
inverted styrofoam drink cups and red plastic bowls! Well, nothing
could be as cool as that...
I hope this helps. Fight on, space cadets: