If I’m going to tease terrain out of my blank hex, I’m going to need more than one polygon. Which means I probably ought to subdivide the top surface. I made a little animation to show how I did this in SketchUp:
I made sure to save this as a separate .skp file. I also made one with an extra round of “add detail” as an option if I need more detail for something specific, but that kind of polygon count really slowed Sketchup down.
With this newly (polygonified? polygonificated?) top surface for my blank hex, I can safely try to poke and prod terrain out of it without warping the underlying hex base, and as long as all my poking is vertical, I should be able to reconnect the top and bottom of the hex when I’m done.
Go read part 3!