View Full Version : Building a trench table in three days

22-03-2008, 12:45
Hello everyone. This long weekend myself and El Jefe (Brett) have been building up a trench 40k table for our numerous armies to fight over, or for them to huddle in and reflect on the horrors of war. Or both.

This project has been something we've been meaning to do for some time now. We bought up a load of terrain from Amera (LINK (http://www.amera.co.uk/product.php?range=z)) as a starting point, and when they arrived we threw them into the garage and ignored them for months. The breakthrough came when we were able to get two large insulation sheets from a walk-in refrigerator. They are basically large sheets of polystyrine sandwitched between two thin sheets of metal. We were able to peel away one of the sheets of metal, giving us a 5' x 6.5' board to dig our trenches into with a metal backing to keep everything sturdy.

Originally we planned to have two opposing trenches and a fairly large no-man's land, but after we drew out our plans on the boards, it became apparent that no Imperial Guardsman who lept out of his trench was ever going to make it to the other side. So we decided to set up the trenches as if the attackers have been successful in reaching the first trench line and dispatching the defenders, and defenders from a further back trench line must now rush forward and oust them. New lines were drawn, cutting knives and a hammer were picked up, and the building began!

The basic layout was to have three firing trench lines with a number of communication lines running between them. The communication lines would be deeper than the firing lines, so people attempting to storm another line wouldn't have to deal with every single member of the defending trench gunning for them. The trenches were given slight bends and weaves, to try and give them an organic feel and hopefully make it a little more intersting. There would also be ruins and craters on the surface for those wanting to leap out of their trenches and storm the next trench like brave Imperial Guardsmen should, but they wouldn't be fixed on the table and would be done last.

Once all the cutting was done, the trenches were placed into their grooves, and the gap between the polystyrene and the trenches were filled in with expanding foam. Unfortuantly our 'organic feel' trenches meant there were a good many gaps inbetween the trench sections since none of the trench sections were fitting flush with each other anymore. These were also filled with expanding foam. We also had the problem that the two boards weren't sitting flush with each other. We filled the gap with expanding foam as well. We were on such a roll that we started filling other things with expanding foam as well, like latex gloves, but eventually we got bored waiting for the foam to dry and called it a day.

Our second day will be written up shortly.

22-03-2008, 13:15
Day two of the trench board building started with the positive that the expanding foam hadn't pushed any of the trenches out of position, but the negatives that our centre gap was still a problem and that the trenches didn't stick to the expanding foam. As it turned out the trenches didn't even stick to any of the glues we had, so we were forced to resort to a liberal application of liquid nails to save the day. If they did or not, we're not entirely sure because we didn't wait for it to dry before moving on.

The next step was to masking tape up the gaps between the trenches and the polystyrene, and then cover everything with spackle. The spackle would seal up the polystyrene and give it a more ground like texture. It was also used in all the gaps inbetween the trench sections where the expanding foam had failed, and in all of the communication trenches. It was really the expanding foam of day two.

After using up five times as much spackle as we had previously anticipated using in less time that we thought we were going to take, we decided to let some of our models run free upon the plastered up trench table. The Steel Legion decided to take up position in one of the emplacement sections in the second trench line (on the snowy ice world of White Planes VII) while the WW1 IG lept forth from their third trench line and charged at them, supported by two Chimeras.

The WW1 IG, knowing that they had an advantage in numbers, weapons, and vehicles, decided to cheat and call in an air strike.

With a little bit of time left, we decided to give the table a quick undercoat of brown paint. Unfortuantly, like the spackle, we under-estimated the amount of paint we needed to cover a 6.5' x 5' board, and had to finish the day with the undercoat half done.

With any luck tomorrow should be the final day for our trench table. I'll be back either tomorrow or Monday to write up the final installment of our Easter project.

22-03-2008, 14:16
looks like you are back on track after the expanding foam fiasco...
Darn I kind of liked the idea of a arctic trench board...

22-03-2008, 14:29
Interesting.. I'll follow this.. :)

24-03-2008, 07:38
Yesterday was the third and final day of work on our trench table. With the construction done, it was just a matter of painting up the board and the terrain pieces. All of our terrain was coming from Amera, so we didn't need to spend any time on construction barring a little trimming. Armed with a lot more paint we were able to coat the table in a nice earthy brown. We then used a spray can of a slightly redder brown paint to fill in any gaps and make the ground colour a little more patchy. The board was then covered in a wood varnish to give a shiny finish so it would look like mud.


Once that was done everything else came together pretty quickly. The extra terrain bits were painted up, the inside of the trenches were painted a lighter brown colour, and then models were thrown all over the table for the hell of it.


The berzerkers decided they didn't need to use the communication trenches to hit the IG line. Also the communication trenches were filled with un-dried varnish and they'd probably get stuck.


Some members of the Armoured Company struggled with their rough terrain rolls.


24-03-2008, 07:39
Well that's it! Next weekend we will have a big battle on it and find out if trench tables are any fun to play on. We could try doing up a battle report if anyone is interested. If anyone has any comments or questions, we'd be glad to hear them.


srgt. gak
24-03-2008, 21:33
friggen sweet. It realy looks good.
ps. where did u get the heads for your men?

24-03-2008, 22:03
Nice board.
A battle report would be fine.

24-03-2008, 23:16
Turned out really nice. :) GJ

24-03-2008, 23:19
i wanted to do something big this week

and what did it do

******* snow for 3 days and rain and wind

El Jefe
25-03-2008, 07:52
friggen sweet. It realy looks good.
ps. where did u get the heads for your men?

The heads are Westwind Productions WW2 SHS British with gasmasks, part of the range available here. Westwind also do German Russian and American heads in a variety of styles.


Still to come are barbed wire and some sandbag emplacements, the plastic pillboxes turned out to be a bit small for anything other than 2 or 3 infantry, so we need some sort of cover for heavy weapons teams.

general trooper
27-03-2008, 14:07
That boards awsome, and obviously great for apocalyps, the mud looks like if anything heavy, like a tank went on it, theyd just sink into it. And even better when it was done in three days.