Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Building a gaming table – Part Three

Hello everyone! Here we are for the last part of building your own gaming table; painting it!

This part is very straight forward but I thought I would share my experiences.

Regardless on how you wish to paint the board I would suggest making a stop at your local paint shop or hardware store to colour match your chosen scheme. You can go in with a swatch of each colour on a piece of clean white paper. However; I found out that to get the best results go in with your actual paint pots and the store will be able to scan the wet paint to match the colours correctly.

For the reddish colour of my board, I purchased sample pots matching the following colours:

2x Scab Red (base coat)
1x Blood Red (first dry brush highlight)
1x Rotting Flesh (second dry brush highlight)
1x Blazing Orange (third dry brush highlight)

I had to purchase two sample pots of the Scab Red to have the required coverage as a base coat.

Before I started on my base coat I gave the entire board a coat of black primer. In this case I used a spray for convenience.

Painting the board is just like painting a piece of scenery (just much bigger obviously), with one big difference being that the brush is bigger. After the base coat is applied and dry we can get to the dry brushing if you are happy with the coverage. In my case I had to apply two coats. Drying will take much longer with the paint from the sample pots, but this is a fair trade-off for the cost savings in paint.

For the dry brushing I found that the best brush to use was actually a cheapish makeup rouge brush. Once I had wiped off the right amount of paint off this brush; it gave me just the right coverage and great control. I thoroughly recommend using one.

I got mine with a heap of other smaller makeup (aka dry brushing) brushes for a few dollars at the local pharmacy.

Once all the dry brushing was done I gave the board a final coat of Scab Red (my base coat) around all the outside edges. I felt this just gave the board a nice clean appearance as I got a little bit of paint from dry brushing onto the sides.

To help protect the paint work on the gaming board I also bought a litre of both gloss and matt Wattyl Estapol. For all my modelling and painting projects, I try to give the item a nice coat of gloss (for longer lasting wear and tear) and a final coat of matt (to take away the glossy look).
Once the Estapol was dry I screwed in two rubber feet on both the long edges of the board to protect the edges when stored.

And that’s it!

In conclusion I am really happy I went ahead with this project (despite the nay sayer’s) as I now have a dedicated gaming board that is a little bit different and is matched exactly to my 40k armies (Crimson Fists and Orks). I really wanted to have a board that gave that Mars / Red Earth / Aussie Outback feel and I am really happy with the result.

In the event I want to play on a green battlefield….well…I have the traditional dark green sheet for this (until I build my ‘grassy table’ that is).

All that there is left to do now is finish some more scenery in the same basing scheme.

Thanks for reading the articles and I hope they were of some use for you.

Until next time….

Monday, August 24, 2009

Building a gaming table – Part Two

G’day guys and gals. Here it is as promised, part two of my three part series of building your own games table. Part one consisted of putting together the frame and table top. In this section I will go over the steps I took to texture the entire table.

2” Brush
Sand paper
‘Bag less’ Vacuum cleaner OR Dustpan and Brush

Fine, medium & coarse ballast
Fine sand
PVA glue
Spray sealer/vanish
Large Plastic screw top container
Large ice cream container or mixing bowl
Small bucket of water

First off you will need to prepare a few items. Personally I made a mix of ballast for the overall texture from four (4) grades of materials. I used very fine beach sand (that was washed and “cooked”) and three grades (fine, medium and coarse) of ballast from Woodland Scenics.

I mixed all the ballast and sand in the ratios 4:4:4:1 of fine ballast, medium ballast, coarse ballast and fine sand in a large ice cream container. I found this mix to be fantastic in giving the entire table a more realistic variable texture.

To speed up the process of applying the ballast to the table I would suggest making a shaker (This was my wife’s idea). It will drastically speed up the whole process of texturing 32’ of table in this case, but will also greatly reduce how much ballast you will burn through.

To make the shaker I took an old (and clean) fridge fruit container (SPC Breaky Fruits) and then drilled a large number of holes into the lid. The more the merrier.
I found to get the consistency right for the shaker I had to add about twice as many holes as I did on my first attempt. Use the sand paper to clean up the holes drilled into the lid before adding your ballast to the container.

Now with the ballast and shaker ready we have all we need to get started!

1) Pour some PVA glue onto your table and spread the glue around in an area of approximately 1’x 1’. We dipped out brush into the bucket of water each time to help spread the PVA glue around. Don’t be afraid to add more PVA if required.

2) Using the shaker, liberally cover the PVA with ballast. With two people you can work as a team to minimise the amount of time the PVA has to dry before applying more PVA to another area. (Thanks Matt for helping!). Don’t get stressed about the amount of ballast you end up using as you will reclaim a significant amount back once the glue dries.

3) Work around the entire table then leave it all to dry. Personally I let my table sit for about 8 or so hours.

4) Once the glue is well and truly dry either use a dustpan and brush or, if you have one, use a ‘bag less’ vacuum cleaner to recover any excess ballast. I used a wide and soft head on the vacuum cleaner and gently worked my way around the table to reclaim all that expensive ballast mix. Personally I reclaimed about half of all my ballast.

5) You will probably have a number of thin patches or areas you missed completely on your first pass with the ballast. Just water down some PVA glue slightly and hit these areas again with the shaker. Again, leave it to dry and reclaim the excess ballast again. This will allow you to see if there are any other patches.

6) Hopefully by this stage you have got a great coverage of ballast, if not just repeat step 5 until your happy with the converge.

7) I used a spray sealer/vanish to help hold the ballast down and stop it lifting when I go to paint the table with a brush later. Leave this to dry.

Step seven isn’t critical but I tend to do this on a miniature scale with watered down PVA glue as I hate it when the ballast lifts leaving an ugly unpainted section on the base.

I also find by doing this I reduce the amount of paint wastage due to the ballast absorbing the moisture from the paint. If you do use spray, make sure you spray in a ventilated area and try to use a mask.

Here is a final close up of the texture.

We are now ready to paint!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Building a gaming table – Part One

After spending too much time tossing around with the idea of buying myself the Citadel Realm of Battle board I thought to myself…”bugger spending that much money on a board” and set to work on building my own. I decided to go for the classic 8’x 4’ from my old gaming days instead of the standard 6’x 4’.

While I was building this board my wife decided to take some photos as I was working so I thought I should put together some basic instructions on how I built my board. Sure, it might not be the perfect way of building one and I may ramble on a bit…..but here it goes. I will break the build, texture and painting into different parts.

Saw, drill, screw driver, clamps, tape measure

7x 40mm x 20mm strips of timber:
5x 1200mm (4 ft) long
2x 2400mm (8 ft) long

4 x MDF panels: 1200mm x 600mm x 6mm thick

PVA Glue (wood glue)
Wood screws


1) Find a large area to work in. The frame is large and relatively flimsy until it is near completion. Also, make sure you inspect all your timber and mdf. I found out halfway through my build that one sheet of mdf and some timber was too short. Very frustrating.

2) Measure and cut the small strips of timber as they will need to fit inside the frame. In my case my long strips of timber were 18mm wide so I cut exactly 36mm from the end of each of my short strips.

3) Due to having slightly different heights in the timber I purchased (the long strips were 40mm high and the small ones were 36mm high) also had to ensure that all my strips were flat on the same edge. To help with this I made sure that wrote a “right side up” arrow on each strip.

4) Using the timber strips I proceeded to build a basic wooden frame to support the mdf panels. The strips were drilled and screwed together, making a 8 ft x 4 ft frame. The strips were spaced evenly to allow the mdf sheets to sit from the end edge to approximately the middle of an internal support strip.

5) Apply PVA glue to the topmost edges of the timber strips and place the mdf panels onto the frame. Once you are happy with the position of the panels, use a number of clamps to hold the panel in place until the PVA glue dries.

6) I recommend using an old damp rag to remove any excess PVA glue from the joins.

7) Once the PVA glue is dry, drill and screw in a few screws through the mdf panels into the long edges of the frame to give the table that little bit extra support. (I personally added 4 screws per panel – 2 on each side)

So that’s it for part one. Please provide any feedback if something isn’t clear enough (this is my first instructional type thing)

Model & Scenery Points System

In order to motivate myself to actually complete projects I give each model and piece of scenery a score based upon it's size. I first saw this on several FTW blogs so after a little tracking down I found out it originally came from LonePilgrim . All the credit is his I decided to break my ‘points system’ up into two scores as I like to spend a fair bit of time on scenery projects (which is why my painting has suffered..hehehe). The scoring system I will be using is as follows:

Model Points

Infantry = 1 point
Large infantry, cavalry, and bikes = 2 points
Monsters or Dreadnoughts = 5 points
Vehicles = 10 points
Superheavy vehicles = 20 points
Custom Banner = 1 point
Custom conversion = same points

Scenery Points

Tiny projects = 1 point
(i.e. 20mm base objectives, single trees)
Small projects = 2 points
(i.e. 40mm base objectives, small rock clumps)
Medium projects = 5 points
(i.e. between 40mm to CD sized)
Large projects = 10 points
(i.e. average detailed buildings, wrecked vehicle)
Massive projects = 20 points
(i.e. complicated and large buildings, ruined cathedral)
New games tables = 10 points
(i.e. 10 points per 2'x 2' section)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

'ere we go 'ere we go 'ere we go

Well... here I am.... TA DA!

I decided to get my butt into gear and start to get things going for my own 40k blog.

Over the past few months I have been following various 40k blogs (mostly part of the FTW blogging group) but the biggest influence and inspiration has come from blog "++ From the Warp ++" after I read a really good article on keeping the motivation up on painting the great unpainted mass of plastic staring at me.

The article is located here:
Get motivated, stay motivated and finish your army!

I hope that you may find something that may take your interest in the various painting and modeling projects I (and my mates) am working on.

More updates will follow shortly…..

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