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The basic idea was to build a small table top war gaming board. We started with a piece of 6mm thick MDF 60cm by 45cm.
The finished board viewed from directly overhead.
That's what the end result looks like, now let's see the stages of building the board.
Some pink foam 25mm thick was carved to shape and glued to the MDF. A hacksaw was used to cut the foam, although a hot wire cutter could be used. Knife blades are not ideal, as they get blunted easily. However we did use a knife to carve out the road going across the top of the board.
This was all painted with green emulsion. This gives a good surface to add any texture to. Also, when the board is sprayed it will protect the foam from the spray (which will other wise melt the foam). In this picture you can see the shape of the board really well, and all the basic features of it.
This is a picture of the house we were putting on the board before it was painted. It is a good idea to completely construct any buildings beforehand, so you can reach any little details without leaning across the board. The thatch roof was made using a piece of fur material and was then painted with PVA and brushed into shape. The doors and windows were made from balsa wood and had strips of card added for bars.
The wattle and daub effect on one corner of the wall was achieved by weaving together strips of card and balsa wood, covering it in PVA then gluing it behind a hole already created in the cardboard. Here you can see the shuttered windows a bit closer up. The bolts on the shutters were created using pieces of copper wire clipped off using a pair of clippers. This technique could also be used for ammunition.
Here, you can see two trees we bought from a railway shop. These trees were made for an OO gauge railway, so it was important to buy the biggest trees we could find!
We added rocks around the base of the river banks. This served two purposes- it looks like the build up of debris dumped there by the river, and it also covered up any gaps between the polystyrene cliffs and the MDF board.
The sign post adds some character to the otherwise bland road running across the board. It also gives some clues as to where the scene is (although this board was made for a fantasy war game!).
Here you can see us texturing the board. We used several different sizes of sand, to give it lots of texture, and also had some larger rocks strewn around.
If you′ve spent the last days, weeks or months building a model that you are really proud of and want to pass on some of your knowledge then why not write a brief article and send it to us along with a few images of the model? ed
Here is a bird’s eye view of the board once it had been completely textured and all the parts stuck down. It was important to knock off any loose sand afterwards, once it had dried.
The bridge was made of thin strips of balsa wood, glued onto a piece of card. We then added two slightly longer strips below it, and added four piece of balsa wood to hold the bridge upright.
The ‘dry stone’ wall was made from lots of stones glued in several rows on top of each over. Little details like this and the signpost can add a lot to boards and dioramas.
To texture the walls, we mixed up a batch load of white emulsion and fine sand, which we then painted onto the wall. If you get any on the other parts of the house, like window frames, scratch it off with a knife before undercoating.
Being a fantasy gaming board, we added a mysterious ruin in one corner. The stone table is made from slate, and the sword is from an old model kit.
Before spraying the board with black paint, we covered up the trees with white kitchen towel, as repainting trees would not be easy!
The next task was to undercoat the whole board in "Chaos Black" - a black spray undercoat from Games Workshop - or you could go down to your local car spare parts shop and buy a black undercoat - you will need a large can and need to do this outside as you need lots of ventilation.
Read Part 2 to see the painting and finshing of the board.
If you have any similar models then we would like to hear about them, ed.