Posted in Alex, Built, Gaming, Olie, Papa, Reggie

Warhammer modular board 3×3 (part 1)

During STGCC 2016, the kids fell in love with Warhammer. They had a workshop where you could learn how to paint a figurine (I think they went there 3 times) and, by the end of the Con, we had spend a hefty amount on 3 armies, paints and related accessories…

They have been assembling their armies and are very near completion (Maybe I’ll do another post about painting these little dudes). Being the “Geek Daddy” that I am, I couldn’t let them play on a simple table, and decided they needed a board with a real fantasy terrain to play seriously. “Do or do not, there is no try” and all that sort of things…

So, I started studying how to make a board. From most videos found on YouTube, it quickly appeared it would be waaaaaaay more fun to do a modular board (so no battle would be the same). I therefore went to buy some supplies, which cost me an additional amount around $150 (I had a few things already, so it is difficult to put an exact figure). This seemed like a reasonable amount for the luscious board we had in mind… Sooooooo, let me walk you through the process, from start to finish.

We started with some slabs of blue foam (60×120) that we divided into 30×30 squares. We needed 9 of those. I would recommend using a table saw for this, but, as we don’t have one, we tried with a cutter knife, trying to be as straight as possible. I know the tiles will not be as neat and fitting, but we decided that it would be ok. As one of my workshop teacher (I dunno if they still teach that, and it is a pity) would say “let’s not be more royalist than the king himself”, so, if there is a little gap here or there, we will just play pretend…

We needed to sand a bit the edges though, as some tiles were not really fitting nicely. Try a few combinations, sand everything that stands out, and you should be ok.

Then came the planning part: what kind of terrain formations would be on our board? After a quick doodle, we opted for a mountain (divided into 4 tiles), a river (divided into 3 tiles) and 2 flat tiles. They can be arranged in a number of combinations that promise different battles almost to no end (and if we have any leftover, we can always do another tile or 2 to increase the possibilities exponentially). So, we started sculpting, gluing, digging, reusing every piece of scrap to make cliffs, hills, river, and other relief features.

We used a kind of wood GAP filler to add extra features and create a smooth transition between our stones and the flat land.

The initial structure was there, and we needed to make it look beleivably real now… Reggie wanted a lava trench and lunar craters, but the other 2 explained to him that the ambiance of the game was more attuned to LOTR, so we decided for a “Shire” kind of finish…

We started by painting the soil in brown and the rocks in black (our base Color). All this was done in acrylic paint.

Then, by a series of dry-brushing, we gave our stones a light gray tint, with almost white highlights.

The bed of the river was given a green shadow, with some dark and light areas, to simulate depth. Come to think of it, if I had to redo it, I would put the dark in the center and the light on the edges, closer to the banks. The river should be deeper in the center after all…

At that stage, the board is already playable, if you are ok with a Martian landscape.

Now comes the part with the fake grass!!! The kids were like “Dad, what are you doing with packets of marijuana???”, but I explained to them it was flocking and miniature trees… I still wonder where they get all this… It gets me worried and amazed at the same time…

I diluted a bit of pva glue and soaked all the areas with grass. Poured the basic grass everywhere, especially on the edges of each tile (after all, we don’t want a straight line in our landscape). And, I gathered whatever was falling for use in the next tile. The green grass covers nicely the brown of the soil, and you still can see a bit through it, which gives a very realistic look. Then, around the stones, I applied (with normal pva glue, full power) some under bushes, lychens and miniature trees.

The “Shire” was starting to look like something!!! 

Now, call me stingy, but I didn’t want to use the official “water effect” product sold by hobby stores to fill our river…. It cost an arm and a leg, and the idea was also to do this on a Budget…. So, I turned to my trusty Daiso 2-parts epoxy glue. At $2 per packet, it is unbeatable… 

I started by blocking the edges with scotch tape, to get a “mold” of some sorts.

I used 3 packets per tile (the river draws an elbow shape on each tile). I mixed everything and poured generously in the river bed.

Now, this is something I didn’t know (because I always mix small quantities of epoxy glue), but, in these large quantities, epoxy gives a VERY EXOTHERMIC reaction…. Once I poured the whole thing in the first part of the river, it started to smoke (!), reaching temperatures I wouldn’t imagine!!!! I was, of course, scared that the whole tile would melt, but in the end nothing happened. There are a lot of bubbles appearing though, so, if you go for a “quiet lake” kind of look, this is probably not for you.

The final effect is not too bad, and I must say I am happy with it. 

I will do a part 2 to this post, with the finishing touches.

Thanks for reading!!



Originally from the North of France, I have great fun doing illustrations and drawing Nutons... happy Husband and Father of 3 teenage boys, we make things, props, and live a geek life in Singapore.

5 thoughts on “Warhammer modular board 3×3 (part 1)

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for popping by the Warhammer booth. I am really glad that your family enjoyed it. I must say your gaming board looks amazing! Do post more updates soon about the board! There are lots of exciting activities and events being planned for Singapore. Do come join us for them!

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