Vacuum plasma sprayed (VPS) tungsten (W) coatings hold great promise for plasma facing components in future fusion devices. However, the large coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch between W and underlying structural steels poses a significant problem for manufacturing and service life because of the evolution of large thermally induced stresses leading to failure. In this paper both the concept of functionally graded material (FGM) W/steel interlayers and the use of steel substrate surfaces with regular surface sculptures of millimetre scale created by e-beam surface manipulation, termed surfi-sculpt and developed by TWI of the UK are investigated. The objective of these approaches is to enhance coating adhesion and to engineer macroscopic variations in the effective CTE through the thickness of the subsequently VPS deposited W coating. The effects of surface geometry on coating adhesion and microstructure have been investigated, and preliminary conclusions on the key surface sculpture geometrical features required for high adhesion dense W coatings have been identified.