View Full Version : Daemonkin's B(oard)log

31-01-2008, 10:28
Hi guys,

After finally getting my house in order after the move I thought it was high time to get my games board built so that I can enjoy playing in my own house. This will be my first time building a board myself so any advice is welcomed along the way. Any pitfalls that I come across will, of course, be posted as well so that any other viewers may find this helpful.

To start with, I will lay out my ideas.

I play Fantasy, I have a few 40k armies, some LOTR and I also LOVE E:Armageddon so I will need to have a table for multiple game systems and scales. Now everyone can play on a grass board but this may get a bit boring after a while so onto my plan..

I will be using 3 4' x 2' MDF board sections that will be covered on one side with grass mat and the other will be textured urban waste so that I can have any arrangement:


Key: G Grass side, U Urban side

or even have 1 vertical and 2 horizontal sections in various combinations.


GW Grass mat
PVA Glue
3 4' x 2' MDF
Paint Brushes
GW Textured Spray Paint
Modelling Knife
Table protector for Dining Room Table
1 consenting fiancee with stern look on her face...

Total Costs

MDF Board 4' x 2' (3) = 21
GW Grass mat = 18
GW PVA glue = 6
large paint brush = 2.50

Total Costs = 47.50

So with a smile on my face I will begin this weekend...

Updates and pics to come.


31-01-2008, 20:51
I always look at great boards with fixed terrain features and think how cool they are, but they must get boring to play on after a while.
I agree with your approach of having a flat basic boards with scatter terrain, infinitely variable!! must be the way to keep games interesting.

How thick is the MDF and is it going to have a frame?
How is the whole lot going to be supported?
How are you going to protect the urban surface when it is face down?
Got any terrain for it yet?

Expecting pics very soon!

Bugbait out

01-02-2008, 07:46
Bugbait: Thanks for reading my ramblings and I hope you have subscribed! :D

MDF will be 12 mil thick. No frames in my first set of boards and I will see how they wear.

Am thinking of drilling holes into long sections at 1' intervals and along the 2' wide short sections in the middle to place dowels. This will allow the boards to be fitted in place and can give flexibility to move the sections how I want them.

For the urban surface I am only using textured spray paint to create the 'rough' texture and then give a quick coat of diluted pva to secure any bits. Our local store also gave the grass mats a coat of pva for protection but i have found that leaning on the surface for any length of time hurts like the bejesus so i will not be doing that. Also I don't think I will get the footfalls in my home as they do in local GW.

Terrain. I have a bunch of stuff, FW wall sections, FW chaos temple, GW graveyard, GW hills (old style) and a bunch of trees. My main fantasy armies are VC and Chaos so these suit well. Will also pick up some Warhammer buildings soon. 40k is not really a big game for me but will get a few city fight terrain pieces. Epic scenery is the old cardboard buildings (x lots) and a lot of sprues from the newer set (epic 40k)

Terrain will be added to the blog after the boards are ready.

Expect pics tomorrow at the latest!


01-02-2008, 09:57
No good can come of this...

Well, maybe a bit. If it's for Epic. ;)

Are you going to add any colour to the urban parts?

01-02-2008, 10:23
Hi Verm1s. Yep. Plan on using textured spray just for, well, texture. Don't even know what colour it will spray but heyho!. Have a lot of the old colour sprays so am thinking black base and then space wolf grey and bits of other colours - was thinking of using car body spray colours to see how that would look. If it doesn't work, just re spray black.


04-02-2008, 11:09
Ok guys, weekend update.

I managed to get all 3 grass sections down over the weekend. Was a little more challenging than I thought it was going to be.

There will be pics later tonight!!

In hindsight, I misjudged how much PVA would be required. I bought 2 initially thinking that would be more than enough. 1 tube from GW (now 118ml as opposed to old 125ml tube!:mad:) did just enough for 1 section - 4'x2'. In future I will buy in bulk from B&Q (or alternative home depot store)

The main issue when laying grass mat was the creation of air bubbles or ripples in the mat when it is in contact with PVA glue. I have had no prior experience of laying grass mat but found it extremely difficult to get a smooth finish. I had to lift and relay each section multiple times, sometimes with the back sticking or ripping, to get rid of the ripples. In most cases it was fine but some ripples stuck and even though the surface is still flat, it looks uneven.

Pressure and time managed to even out all the flaws and I now have 6'x4' board section.

I have also started to keep track of my costs on this project. See 1st post for a summary.

Onwards and upwards!


Wolf Scout Ewan
04-02-2008, 14:12
Dude... you always need more PVA! What u need is always 4x than you actually have!

04-02-2008, 18:32
I buy my PVA from the hardware store in 2 litre bottles, cost effective. You might try rolling the mat over the board next time to stop the air bubbles, or use a needle to stab the center of the air bubble and squeeze it flat.

Bugbait out.

12-02-2008, 12:43
Finally found my card reader:
Materials - check!
Board sections - check!
1 tube of PVA down and 1 board section laid. Another board section has been used to flatten the first section

More to come

12-02-2008, 12:46
The second section proves tricky as air bubbles and shrink ripples form. I have to lift and relay the grass mat


2 sections down and I have used the third to apply weight to the other 2.


With 2 sections dried and able to be man handled, I start work on the last section. This time I am trying to rid air bubbles as I go using the cardboard roller to flatten out as I go. Now where did I put it?


12-02-2008, 12:50

Now I leave all 3 to dry.


The finished grass board.

Things I have learnt

Do not touch your grass mat before it is dry, this will leave large finger prints wherever you touch it!
You will always need more PVA
Nice game boards can be made quickly, just give it a go!
PVA reacts with grass mat backing in weird ways. Be prepared to lift and lay a few times before you achieve success.

Next up, the other side!


13-02-2008, 16:06
I made up a couple of gaming tables with these mats on for our club. You will find that the grass goes flat where you lean on it and it starts to look awful quite quickly.

The solution... get a thin sheet or pillow case, lay it over sections of the grass mat and get a warm iron over it. This will flatten out the grass and makes it look a lot better. Make sure you move the iron in the same direction for each board section.

Where you have touched the mat while it was wet and left prints, this is simply grass that went flat while it was wet. The iron will sort this out.

I used wallpaper paste to stick mine down, which was a lot cheaper than PVA!

13-02-2008, 17:22
Can I just ask why you bought GW's PVA glue?

Looks like a nice table though, the grass mats are great.

Grumbeard Starbreaker
13-02-2008, 17:53
You should realy need the paint the table at some ponts to make it less... green.
And try to varnish it.

Emperors Teeth
15-02-2008, 23:14
I've always found there's something comforting and satisfying about a grass mat board with matching scenery. Okay it's not going to win any realism contests looking like a tennis court but it's so damn playable and attractive.

BVe aware as someone mentioned earier, given a short time the sides where you play/lean/touch the most will wear through to the paper worryingly quick. I've seen it happen. Painting the whole thing with watered PVA whilst it may prevent this, also makes the grass look and feel weird. Test somewhere before you over commit!

18-02-2008, 07:41
Having worked in GW we had to PVA the grass mat and the results while giving longevity also give numerous nettle like marks on your hands/arms etc as you lean. If the mat starts to wear I will have to glue it but that will be a last resort.

Had a game of Epic on it at the weekend. Unbeaten record of 1 game is now broken!


19-05-2008, 09:01
Phase II

Urban Side

Roll of patterned, textured wallpaper - 5.99
Bag of Wallpaper Paste - 2.99

I picked up a roll of nicely textured wallpaper to represent the urban side. I was originally planning on using GW Roughcoat or a diy store alternative but I figured this way would be less messay and more easily stored as the rough coat might cause abrasion etc.

The pattern is small squares with a rough line to separate them - perfect for flag stones on an epic scale or patterened in 40k - but since I don't play much 40K this does not concern me.

I managed to get the sections all laid out and trimmed the edges and some overlapping with a craft knife.

Next step is to prep the surfaces with primer and detail the road sections.

Pics will follow tonight.


27-05-2008, 11:10
Quick Update:
Finally got my Epic board primed and sprayed.

I used GW Black spray and that lasted..ooh.. 1 4'x2' section so I popped in my car and drove to local Halfords (vehicle accessory shop) who stock large spray cans of various colours. I picked up a 600ml black and 300ml grey primer and raced back and finished priming the sections.

I had a can of Shadow Grey from a by gone era and used that and the grey primer spray to mottle the board sections and get a nice finish. I then marked out and sprayed grey primer to make road sections.

I have various steps on my camera but snapped this pic of the finished board with a few building scattered on it.


Next step is to build the scenery for the board.


28-05-2008, 06:42
Nice board. Just about convinced me to do the same with my boards (except I've already glued sand to one side). If only I could find some cheap grass mats...

28-05-2008, 11:26
Nice looking board. :D

19-06-2008, 09:16
Thanks for the kind words.

Got a few more pics of the WIP and some game shots from last night:

Boards have been primed black and dappled with 2 grey sprays.

Road sections marked out in masking tape.

The finished article ..er board section!

.. and the completed board.


19-06-2008, 09:16
A warhound stalks his prey

My Thousand Sons.