Although I've been painting miniatures for a couple or three years now, a sensation akin to ice water running through my veins occurs every time someone asks, "what rules are you basing them for?" or "when are we going to see a battle report?" The truth of the matter is that I just didn't know where to start or how to go about organising a game. Now, however, with my immersion into the madcap world of 'Crooked Dice's' 7ombieTV a playing surface is required and what better opportunity does a chap need to fashion his very first gaming board?
I could of course just thrown a green baize over the dinning room table, but I've always rather fancied one of those stunning looking tables that grace the pages of such hobby related editorials like 'Wargames Illustrated' the only problem is scale, 'Awdry Towers' isn't as expansive enough to cope with a 6' x 4' playing area and I'm simply not brave enough to suggest to the Saintly Mrs. Awdry that we have our supper on our lap in order to allow me to reenact the battle for 'Rorke's Drift'!
"Stop chucking that bloody cutlery at me!"
It was while avidly following Clint's ('Anything but a One') progress on his very own gaming board project, that I suddenly realised size isn't everything! He was constructing a fabulously detailed terrain board on a modest 2' x 2' - this, I thought was the answer, compact and bijou! And so it was that my bespoke board started life as a couple of sheets of blue foam (James, from 'Exiles Wargames Painter' has found a superb source for this most useful building material here.) glued to some 5mm foam board; lightweight but structural sound.
The rest should have been a simply process of just terraforming, but 'oh no', I decided that I wanted my board to be timber framed, enabling me to drop in any future boards that I might fashion and allowing variation to my miniature gaming scenarios.
|Now when did the wife say she was back?|
After what felt like a couple of hours scurrying around in the blistering heat of the loft, I came across some suitable looking off-cuts, of what was once one of IKEA's finest, and set about them with every tool I possess; so much for measure twice and cut once! With much sweating, snarling and a modicum of bad language I managed to piece together the frame, complete with internal side runners to allow the board to fit flush with the surface - it is fair to say that at this point I was feeling a tad smug!
With the frame safely constructed and the rough edges sanded down (I knew that detail sander would be useful for something!) I was able to get back to the job of preparing the board. The scenario that I'm looking to game is essentially a flat area with some light woods and the bank of a lake. Once sketched out and the '4Ground' wood bases placed foe effect, it was just a matter of hacking away with the bread knife.
The lake bank established, I added some sand to texture the paths and some small stones here and there to add a little variety. Household filler helped to fix the wood templates in place and a light covering of some textured masonry* paint helped to seal everything together nicely.
*leftover from my recent bout of D.I.Y. fever which has fortunately subsided without any lasting damage!
All that remained was to 'Paint it Black' in preparation for some colour that I hope, if not distracted by the cricket, to apply over the weekend.
First illustration from Illustrated London News 1913, showing Wells measuring a move with string.