View Full Version : Building my game board

30-09-2009, 11:29 PM
Alright, so I have started constructing my 4' X 8' game board. The wife and I decided that we'd like to have a dull ground color to make our models stand out more. Here is what we have accomplished thus far.

I took a sheet of D-D plywood and liquid nailed a sheet of 1.5" thick pink insulation to the top. Then we proceeded to cut a river through a portion of the board and finally, we painted everything a rather muddy brown.

Our plan is to spread a heaping load of white glue over the brown surface and then dump a coarse sand on top to give the board texture. From my messing around with some test pieces that the white glue does not hold the sand in place and the board will become subject to wear.

Do you have any suggestions on an adhesive that I should use in lieu of white glue?

30-09-2009, 11:34 PM

Yeah, paint. When you basecoat the thing, you'll want to do it with a roller since sprays will melt the foam, apply sand/flock/whatever.

This site (http://www.quindia.com/studioarticles.htm) will be of use (particularly the tip about taking the GW pots of paint to a hardware store and having pints/quarts/gallons/whathaveyou made of the same color. Make sure you get matte acrylic when doing that). The articles you want are at the bottom, the last row of images.

01-10-2009, 12:21 AM
Thanks for the info. That site looks great, however, I suppose I did not make myself clear.

The "gravel" material that we want to use has already been colored. We do not want to add it to the paint. I was thinking of smearing a ton of white glue around and then adding the gravel. In theory it should work, much like the fellow did with his coffee grounds.

I tested this out on a piece of 1/8 inch plywood and found that I need to clue, gravel, then glue and gravel again to get a solid base, then seal it with something to prevent the gravel from working loose as it is handled.

I really don't want to have to use this process on my board because it will require double the materials, plus a sealer.

01-10-2009, 12:40 AM
You can use fiberglass resin as the adhesive. Mix less of the hardener so the sand mix gets extra sticky before it hardens.

01-10-2009, 12:42 AM
But you'll have a board that will last... and last and last and last :p

You should be able to get away with glue, gravel then sealer. Works well on a small scale for bases.

01-10-2009, 04:58 AM
Well, we got one section done tonight, unfortunately we ran out of our gravel mixture. Back to the craft store.

On a positive note, it looks excellent. The glue, gravel, sealant mix worked wonderfully.


More to follow. We got some work on the river bed finished, but I'm not happy with it yet.

Inquisitor Alex
01-10-2009, 07:05 AM
lookin sharp :) I built my board in 4 square sections, wish I had the space for something like that :)

01-10-2009, 05:19 PM
looks great so far, looking forward to seeing it finished! :D



02-10-2009, 04:23 AM
Well, we spent another night working on the board, and I have learned a few things that I will certainly keep in mind when I construct my next board.

1) Mix all of your ground cover at one time. We've been mixing as we needed, and the very last batch of gravel had too much black paint in it, so one section of the board is darker than the rest.

2) Have a formula for mixes WRITTEN DOWN. While it is easy to remember that you use two bags of green rocks to one bag of red rocks, it is rather difficult to duplicate a dash of black paint to a good squirt of silver and a bit of water. This also played a role in the two-toned effect that is now driving me nuts.

3) White glue spread with a paint brush is far superior to spray adhesive and cheaper.

02-10-2009, 04:59 AM

03-10-2009, 03:53 PM
THE BOARD IS COVERED! pics to come soon

on to the riverbed

06-10-2009, 06:32 AM
Silent_P forgot his camera tonight, so I'm filling in (fitting, as the board in question resides within my domicile).

Hold your applause, because we are FAR from finished with everything we plan.



The explanation that I have as to the difference in coloration from one side of the unfinished river to the other is that there is a slight warp in the board, it is bowed slightly in the middle. Also, one side may have a thicker coating of sealant, a problem which will be addressed.

The next planned step is to work on the riverbed. We plan on laying out some more sand, firmly affixing it in place, as well as some small rocks. Then we will fill in the empty space there with clear polyurethane resin, with finishing touches such as ripples, branches, etc. in the surface. Then the fun part - MODULES! We have some really great plans for some terrific modules for the board, and we will eventually be adding a second, matching board for one side.

06-10-2009, 02:34 PM
The river will pull everything together and make this a board that anyone would love to play on.

Inquisitor Alex
06-10-2009, 06:37 PM
Bridges ! All kinda of Bridges ! Narrow wooden ones, lofty metal ones, big wide stone ones you can drive anything across ! Destroyed bridges that can be repaired, flimsy bridges that can be destroyed, that river board needs BRIDGES !
Nice job so far, by the way. :)

06-10-2009, 10:53 PM
Bridges will be coming, however, we plan to make them free-standing which will allow for random placement. The only fixed crossing is a small fjord that I will cobble together out of some stones. Cobble. Stones. Get it?! :D

Anyway. Yes, there will be bridges. I plan to build the first one out of wood before I make further attempts with other materials. The modules will also be a lot of fun to create. My first is going to be a rather dark marsh with rotted out trees. I believe it shall also be my first airbrush project.

06-10-2009, 10:55 PM
Bass wood could make for easy-to-build bridges. It doesn't warp as much as balsa and is a bit sturdier. You can get it in flat strips.

08-10-2009, 10:18 AM
OMG there's been a crime committed! See the body shape on the floor in the first pic? ;) xD

Anyway, cool stuff, look forward to more! Let's hear some thoughts about the process, what you've been doing and whatnot.

08-10-2009, 09:45 PM
The next real step in the process is going to be finishing the river. We plan on using some version of poly resin to make a clear stream with rippling effects on the surface, and to fill in portions with small rocks and stones for the "water" to wash around and over.

The bridges will be treated like modules - able to be placed on the board and removed, in order to have a different playing experience every time. With the exception of the low water crossing near the fork in the river, which is basically just a series of small rocks glued onto the board in a line for infantry to walk across.

We've cut several sections of wood panel in various shapes and sizes, and once the river is done, we plan on creating a wild variety of modules, everything from IG bases and Necron bases, to mountains, hills, forests, etc. Also, we still plan on doubling the board size with another large sectional piece that matches the one we are currently working on.

I personally am developing some ideas for a Necron base - one that will include either battery or wall outlet powered lighting effects.

In other words, we are just getting started.

08-10-2009, 09:48 PM
Also, wanted to explain the crap on the floor - the play area is in my basement, and the floor used to leak. The white patches are layers and layers of Drylock and other water resistant sealers that cover a thin crack in the concrete. The basement hasn't leaked once since I finished them. I do plan on actually finishing my basement, with drywall walls and ceiling, and possibly with a raised and level floor made of wood (it's a little too expensive on my current budget to do right now).

08-10-2009, 09:50 PM
i cant wait to see this finish, i'd love to play on it :(


08-10-2009, 09:51 PM
Next time you happen to find yourself in St. Louis, you have an open invitation to beat the hell out of my Necrons.

08-10-2009, 11:09 PM
For me, this board has been in process for a few years. I've been turning the ideas and methods over in my mind and this is the product. It was a pretty straight-forward process, and thanks to Lax, Dzzy and another friend, it has finally become a reality.

The initial construction was rather simple. I purchased a sheet of D-D plywood from the Home Depot along with a 1.5 inch thick sheet of pink insulation board. I found the pink cut easier and was more susceptible to modeling than it's blue counterpart. Then it was a simple case of using your average tube of liquid nail to adhere the insulation board to the plywood. Unfortunately the board warped because I spaced my saw horses out too far and allowed the middle to droop under it's own weight. I plan to remedy this situation with a few strategically placed C-clamps.

I cut the river out using an exact-o knife. First, I doodled out the basic shape of the river with a sharpie, and then proceeded to cut along my lines. After that, I scored the river into half inch squares and used an ordinary wood chisel to pop the cubes out.

Once the board was transported to Lax's basement, we proceeded to scuff the insulation with sandpaper and then we coated it with a bottle of cheap acrylic paint from our local craft store. Basically we were looking to dull down the pink should a bit of the board show through our gravel mixture.

Getting the gravel to stick to the board was not nearly as simple as I thought it would be. Initially we purchased a can of spray adhesive, but found it was not nearly as economical as using plain old white glue. We then used an old paintbrush and proceeded to smear the board with the white glue. The key to this process is getting the glue on THICK. Thicker the better, in my opinion. As I smeared the glue on the board, Dzzy came behind me with our gravel mixture and proceeded to spread it over the board, patting it down and using a sheet of cardboard to spread it evenly over the glue.

Once I was satisfied the glue had dried, I coated one section of land with some of Lax's high-gloss finish to seal the gravel into place. I coated the other side of the board with my matte finish sealer. Basically, we wanted to see which one looked better. While it might seem like a striking contrast in the photos, in reality it is not very noticeable. Standing off from the board and peering at it, you will see that one section is a bit more washed out than the other. I believe this is due to the large quantity of crystal coat used on the smaller section of land.

Currently, I am working on building a ford out of gravel Dzzy and I obtained at one of our local parks. It is a random mixture of chert and sandstone. Due to the high iron content of the soil they are both a lovely shade of reddish orange. Once again I returned to my favorite bottle of white glue and laid down a liberal glop. Then, the smaller bits of gravel were dropped into the glue followed by a gentle dusting of gravel from our original mixture that was used to cover the board.

I have conveniently sidetracked myself with painting my hordes of guardsmen, allowing all of the white glue to thoroughly dry before I proceed to add a second layer of rocks and bringing my ford up to what I think to be an acceptable level in reference to the river's banks.

:edited for spelling error:

08-10-2009, 11:11 PM
Yup, this has been fun building so far, hehe.

09-10-2009, 08:16 AM
Bridges ! All kinda of Bridges ! Narrow wooden ones, lofty metal ones, big wide stone ones you can drive anything across ! Destroyed bridges that can be repaired, flimsy bridges that can be destroyed, that river board needs BRIDGES !
Nice job so far, by the way. :)

But don't overdo it, and try to think what it would be likely to shape up as in the real world, or you'll end up going "heh, doesn't look right" :P

10-10-2009, 03:31 PM
More has been achieved on the river. Last night I broke out my airbrush and used it for the first time. I laid down a dark brown streak through the middle of the river bed to give it some depth. It looks really good. So good infact I impressed myself. :D

10-10-2009, 05:04 PM
He's not kidding...the airbrush is really going to be great for a lot of the fine detail work on the modeling, particularly with the landscapes.

On a related note, I had a brilliant idea that I began implementing last night. I had bought some air drying modeling clay, planning on using it to mold features for the landscape. Last night I broke it out, planning on forming some loose cobblestones and stone "bricks" from it, let it dry, and then paint them gray. I had previously decided to try my hand at making a Stonehenge inspired module...and then brilliance struck.

We've been prepping this board of ours to look like an Agri-world where Silent_P's IG troops are stationed in order to fend off expansionism from the Tau Empire. A system or two over there is a frozen Necron Tombworld where my troops hail from. We've decided that the Agri world is particularly mineral rich - hence the yellowish gold colored sand at the bottom of the river and in streaks on the board surface. My Necrons have been raiding the Agri-world for eons.

Long before Silent_P's IG guys got there, there were some indigenous xenos, a primitive species, whose major technological accomplishment was the erection of large stone monuments. The earlier monuments dealt primarily with a seasonal pattern of worship not dissimilar from Celtic or Druidic style, or more close to home for me and Silent_P, the American Indian tribes native to our hometown of St. Louis at the calender monument of Cahokia Mounds.

As time went by, the Necrons from my frozen tomb planet would raid periodically, matching coincidentally with one of the solar observances by the natives of the agri world. Over the years, many indigenous xenos were slaughtered. In response, they began to worship the Necrons, and to dedicate their stone monuments to their deadly "gods", in the hopes that they would slaughter fewer of the native xenos.

Long story short, I made some clay stonehenge "bricks" and they are air drying. I'll post pics later tonight - I managed to replicate some nonsense runes from the natives, followed by some crude representations of Necron mainstays - the circular starburst symbol, the face of a Necron Warrior, the glow of a gauss rifle, etc. I think its going to look really cool when I'm done with it.

Inquisitor Alex
10-10-2009, 06:22 PM
Cool ! Very "chariots of the gods" - Erik Von Daniken would be pleased with you.

10-10-2009, 06:24 PM
Sounds pretty neat that! Really want to see pics soon as.

11-10-2009, 05:56 AM
Well, I can say that I'm finally satisfied with the ford I've been working on, and the river in general. After a few coats with my airbrush, and rearranging some of the rocks, I'm happy with the way things look. Enclosed are a few photographs, please excuse the glue, it's still drying.

Here we have a nice long shot of the entire board.

This is looking "up river".

Viewing the board from the "north".

This is my favorite shot Dzzy took. It shows the ford and the peninsula that was built from the rocks we found at the local park.

A close shot of the ford. Please excuse the drying glue.

This will be the future site of some white water rapids.

Finally, we have a look up the river from the southern end.

11-10-2009, 06:01 AM
Looking good... what are you going to use for water? Resin, water effects stuff, something else?

11-10-2009, 06:05 AM
We have a few things that I'm going to try out. First we have a small bottle of "Water Effects" from GW. We also have a large bottle of "Water Effect" from our local craft store. I am currently searching for some clear polyurethane resin. I've read in some model railroading magazines that it is the best stuff to use. Unfortunately it is proving difficult to procure.

11-10-2009, 06:08 AM
Usually hobby stores carry stuff by Woodland Scenics. That company does model railroad stuffs. As for the resin, this link (http://www.quindia.com/studioart42.htm) is from another link I've posted in this thread, but it gives the specific name of the resin used and a picture of the product (helps when looking at a slew of cans at Lowes of Home Depot :p).

Hope it helps.

14-11-2009, 10:14 AM
have you got any pictures of the completed board? would love to see them


14-11-2009, 03:02 PM
There should be some pictures available tonight provided Dzzy remembers the camera. I love having a wife to blame for my own inability to remember things. :laugh: We still have a few little touch ups that we'd like to complete before it's called done. Most importantly there are a few irregularities in the river that I want to cover up with deadfall. We also plan on breaking up the large expanses of flat ground by adding sprinkles of coffee grounds and flock to make the land appear more diverse in vegetation. After that, I'll call it done.

14-11-2009, 05:25 PM
Woot, woot. Should be good, should be good!

14-11-2009, 05:26 PM
Hopefully you'll be making some hills, ruins and the like to spruce up the field, right? An open surface isn't the funnest to play on.

14-11-2009, 10:30 PM
With the exception of the river all of our terrain will be modular. We plan on having everything from bridges and buildings to mountain ranges and waterfalls. As we get these modules finished they'll be showing up in the terrain gallery. Our plan is to keep everything modular so the board can be "rearranged" with infinite possibilities.

14-11-2009, 11:10 PM
Sounds good, just make sure you show us what it looks like on the board ;)

15-11-2009, 01:43 AM
I used to work for workshop years ago and built scenery for a few events and tourneys at warhammer world as well as in my own store. I always worked on the system that if its a static non-modular board, it better be of such high quality people thought it was a kit, or modular terrain of such high quallity they thought the modules were kits. Putting a static river in a modular board does to an extent limit its possibilities, but in this case should serve as a nice water feature. Im watching this with interest =)

15-11-2009, 06:15 AM
Alright, so after several goopey buckets and alot of stirring, we finished the river. I must say it came out nice. I did learn a few things such as don't pour more than an eighth of an inch thickness at a time. When they say "sets up in thirty minutes" they actually mean twenty. Also, it's handy to use your airbrush to gently blow across the surface of the resin to remove all those pesky air bubbles.

this is an over-view

here are the rapids we made using super glue and seran wrap.

this is the head of the river.

this is the mouth of the river where it splits around an island.

Here is the ford that I spent quite a bit of time piling up. I think this is the best shot of them all.

15-11-2009, 06:19 AM
After I took all the pictures of the river we decided to go ahead and finish the board off today. We gently misted some spray adhesive over the board and proceeded to dust it with various colored flocks. While I must say yet again I am not a fan of spray adhesive. It has a tendency to turn things somewhat white, but after all of the flock, we managed to avoid disaster.



I noticed a small abnormality in a part of the resin that makes up the river... so I dropped a tree on it.

15-11-2009, 06:19 AM
Are you using cork for rocks?

And when I mentioned terrain earlier, I didn't mean anything modular. Kind of like a building on its own base, or a weird shape that has pegs for trees. Those'll be easier to make and use than modular board pieces.

Edit: The tree is a nice touch :p

15-11-2009, 06:22 AM
No, the rocks are real rocks from one of the local parks. As far as the modular board pieces are concerned, they're already done. Lax will be posting two pictures of modules he completed tonight. I'll admit, he did an excellent job on them.

15-11-2009, 06:28 AM
Well then... can't wait to see pictures!

15-11-2009, 07:30 AM
Hi everybody - sorry I've not been posting recently - my company was putting on a major auction on the 1-2 of this month, where we sold over $1,000,000.00 worth of comic books. So I've been a bit preoccupied. However, in what little spare time I've had, I've managed to complete two fully finished modules for the table.

In my Noobcron thread, I posted some pictures of some of the progress being made on one of the modules. For simplicities sake, I'm re-posting one or two of them in order to show the progress to the finished item.

Well, here we go!


This picture shows the air-dry clay I used to make the hand hewn stone blocks of what Silent_P and I have dubbed "CronHenge". After hand forming the blocks, I used the rectangular end of a small file to impress designs in the surface of the blocks. Seeing as the backstory for the board is that Silent_P's Imperial Guard are defending an as yet unnamed Agri-world which my Crons have been raiding for raw materials for eons, we decided that when the Guard initially arrived on the planet, they discovered a native species of primitives, who worshiped the frequently raiding Necrons as "Death Gods".

Anyway, here is the finished product.



The altar is made from some smaller clay bricks made the same way as the larger ones. The slab on top is made from a piece of a roof from a dollhouse, sanded around the edges to round the corners and give it the appearance of stone, and then painted the same way as the clay bricks were.

The second module is a forest scene with 3 trees.





All three trees were made in different ways. For the largest one with the orange leaves and what Silent_P has teasingly termed "the deer stand", I took a decent sized branch and cut sections away using a band-saw, sanded the rough edges, drilled holes and pinned the branches (just smaller real branches) onto it with wire and superglue, and then formed the same clay I used for cronhenge around the edges of the branches. The platform is made from the same dollhouse shingle material as the altar on the cronhenge model. The base of the tree is attached using a wad of green stuff.

The second tree I made is the one with the yellow leaves. I used green stuff again to affix the trunk to the board, and then drilled holes in the tree, glued bits of wire in them, but this time I used longer bits of wire. I then twisted the wire sticking out of the holes into branch skeleton shapes, and then threaded clay onto them and shaped it into branches.

The third tree I used green stuff to attach all the branches.

During the process of making the trees, I accumulated all the excess pieces and bits of bark that had come off of the branches I was using, and once the trees were all built and attached to the board, I took the larger bits of bark and glued them onto the board, as well as some small twigs for fallen branches. Then I flocked the board, and crumbled the smaller pieces of bark and glued then on along with the flocking. After that I sprayed adhesive onto the branches of the trees and glued the fake leaves on.

The only thing I have left to do, is glue on a small rope ladder I hand knotted out of sinew onto the side of the platform

15-11-2009, 02:45 PM
All looks very good chaps, very good indeed. The CronHenge has come out beautifully, so that was very nicely done!

15-11-2009, 03:34 PM
Excellent work from all 3 of you. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished thing.

15-11-2009, 03:44 PM
The trees are nice. It is refeereshing to see trees doing something besides the stereotypical summer and winter. Fall trees are nice to see this time of year. Nice choice. The only thing that gets me is that the moss on the cronhinge is green but moss is always green, isn't it? Maybe a few leaves in different colors to show the season across the whole board.

15-11-2009, 03:44 PM
We have been having a ton of fun building this board together. Between assembling and painting models, sculpting Styrofoam, sanding modules and gluing gravel to boards, it's been a blast. Plenty of deep conversations and high comedy have been had by all. Still, there is a lot of work to be done, but we are looking forward to it. Sure beats playing World of Warcraft. ;)

15-11-2009, 03:58 PM
Anything with real people beats WoW.

15-11-2009, 05:04 PM
Anything with real people beats WoW.

For the truth, quoted this is. ;)