View Full Version : Gaming Table For Dummies ( article + blog )

08-10-2006, 01:33
This article is intended for newer people to the hobby who want a little something extra for their home use or even if they plan to start a club up and need something that stands out a bit better instead of those ugly cheap@**** green woodshaving ( or in some uber ghetto cases FELT! ) flock bags, we all need/want a nice looking table to game on, so I hope this will indeed motivate or give ideas to those in need of simple yet nice looking tables to play on!

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Well I was bored this weekend after some painting and video games and decided I finaly need to sit down and make a decent looking table ( I have previous experience making similar tables in the past ) for myself when I have buddies over for some fast games. So I headed over to the hobby ( tons cheaper than any crap a redshirt will try to plug on you trust me, oh and its normaly ten times better ) shop to scope out for some awsome woodland scenics I keep hearing people talking about and sure enough its almost all they carried, and the prices were fairly cheap to boot!

I picked up-

1 Bag of Medium Ballast ( $4.99 CDN )
1 Bag of Fine Ballast ($4.99 CDN )
1 Bag of Light Green Coarse Turf ( $5.99 CDN )
1 Bag of Medium Green Fine Turf ( $5.99 CDN )

1 Bottle of Scenic Cement ( $8.99 CDN ) uneeded but soooo good vs painting on watered down wood glue by hand! I used a cheap hairspray bottle for it

1 Bottle of Light Green Static Grass ( $12.99 CDN )
1 Pack of DIY WS 24 Pine Trees ( $19.99 CDN )

And a can of black spray paint and woodworking glue and of course a bag of dried flowers ( ick the smelllll! ) which I will use for shrubs or some crap I dunno heh.

The insulation style pink foam I had from a while ago, its a little more expensive than the crappy white bubbly messy foam sheets but this stuff is a daemonsend because of its versatile use, consider picking up at least one sheet you wont regret it, and sandpaper!


Now I will explain some of this and added up it may seem a little high but hear me out ok, it's very hard to make a table of this quality for under 50-70 of my money, the reason being is that you CAN get by with using half of this or even a quarter, but 1 - I had no trees and I wanted cover for my troops and to add some strategic points ( and 24 trees for 20 bux is pretty sweet to me considering the poor quality of most pre made ones!!! ) 2- I wanted the ground to look as realistic as I possibly could make it and 3- I was out of flocking for alot of my armies, I know damn well a good portion of this stuff will be half used and be readily there for later projects I plan to do, consider how much alot of us spend on 500 point added blocks etc, this is pretty cheap for a good table that will last a few years right ???

Yea...I can hear you el cheapos in the background saying "eh I am fine with green spray or a mat" well thats you, maybe I am a bit anal hehe.

After that I headed over to the DIY centre to pick up some wood ( 2'x3' roughly ), plywood in fact, now you can use other kinds of wood ( this sheet cost me $13 CDN ) but I went with this because it felt good and sturdy and I believe the plywood would possibly prevent any warpage due to the watered down wood glue used for the landscaping/foothills. Now some people may scoff at the size I chose but my small car has its limits on what I can fit in it ( and my wallet was right hurting from a $300 import purchase for games on thursday ; ; ) also the fact I play alot of Mordheim ( was really thinking about using this for Empire in Flame wilderness scenarios ) and I can easily get another sheet if I need it to smack em together for a 4'*3' or 2'*6' ( thanks to the_flash ) if really needed for larger games, either way this method should do anybody just fine with whatever size they choose.

I started out by drawing rough and ( to me ) realistic looking hill shapes on the foam and then used a carpet cutter/911 highjacker ( ok bad joke but I play Emperors Children so its ok^^ ) knife to slant the hills, this gets pretty messy and you have to do alot of shaving in iregular patterns even on the backs and tops to get that natural look, after this just take some sand paper and gently sand it down, it will look pretty natural at this stage...

After this I put some wood glue ( I suggest wood as the white glue is really poor for joints imo ) on that backs of the hills, then I lay them down at the edges and in the middle, I used the thin shaved off parts to add a bit more natural variety to the fairly open and flat areas, as this will be covered with earth/flocking later on and will give a much more hill like realistic feel when done, while still being flat enough to keep movement trays stable and all that.

I also left some canned goods on top of the hills this is because sometimes the foam will warp ( or is already warped ) and you will have a pain in the on your hands after it dries, or you can just add some spackle but meh.

You can see here how it is starting to take shape, note that the tree armetures are simply there to give me an idea of some placement and image on how it could look when done.


Well that was basicly it for today, I spent a good 3 hours on this, alot was planning and mixing certain flocks and ballast together for the ridges/cliffs and bush type areas, when I wake up I will get to work on the first flocking stages ( oh boy this will be fun, I got along way to go ), so you guys will get to see step by step instructions on how this will all come together and look pretty good I think in the end.

...to be continued...after combat dru, er coffee

08-10-2006, 05:42
Looks good, the only suggestion I have is that you use liquid nails instead of wood glue on the foam. The foam will slow or even prevent the glue from drying all the way through.

When shaping foam hills I use a wood edge plannar(it looks like a cheese grader on a stick) to get most of my shapes after cutting. Then I sand to clean it up.

I hope you can get something from my post. Good luck on the rest of the project.

08-10-2006, 07:44
Nice thread! nice scenery, it's also very helpfull to get some coverage on woodland products.
Oh, if you smack together 2 2'*3' boards, you will have ether 4'*3' or 2'*6'

08-10-2006, 11:52
Looks good, the only suggestion I have is that you use liquid nails instead of wood glue on the foam. The foam will slow or even prevent the glue from drying all the way through.

Ahhh, so thats what liquid nails is ? just caulking type filler ? I read the name on some other forum and I had never heard of it, well thanks for the heads up...if worse comes to worse ( it seems pretty stuck on there so far havent been able to budge a single hill up or around ) I will just pry it off and reglue it with that stuff.

08-10-2006, 15:48
GTA eh? What hobby store did you go to?

08-10-2006, 17:59
Hobby Stuff which is on Taunton Road in Oshawa, that may not be "GTA" to some people but the GTA to me is just one giant mess of mish mash these days, I remember when Scar was just Scar now most of those areas are GTA I think.

Pickering Hobbies used to be pretty damn good in the 90s, have not been there for ages, as far as downtown I dunno I dont go into "Warzones".

09-10-2006, 14:57

As you can see it is starting to take on alot more shape and is close to being half done now.

I started by spraying a fair bit of this scenic cement onto the foam hills and wood board, then with the montreal chicken seasoning ( I highly recommend this for all sorts of things like gravey, chicken, mash potatoes etc I used it when I used to cook in bars its ACE! they use it for french fries seasoning in a bowel btw ) cup shaker which I had emptied out and put an even mix of medium and fine ballast into, shook up and poured it as best I could in an even manner over the entire board, contrary to reports the drying time is pretty fast, taking about an hour or so.

After this I "repaved" what areas I missed with another misting of the spray to get a fairly good earth/gravel/rock coating, finaly when I felt it was dry enough I gave it a last misting for good measure to "Seal" the ballast.

When this was dry I used the can of black spray paint to darken and prime the sand, this went on pretty good and dried very fast, I must admit I used the whole can it was really just enough to cover it all, with some very minor patches being a tad brown but the next painting stage covered that up no problem.

After the black spray was dry I took some of my arylic paints ( browns and bleach bone type colors ) and began mixing these from dark to light with each drybrush I put on, once these are done I plan to mix some greys and make some uneven patches so that it will look like some stone/gravel with dark earth, the next step after this will be to lay down some coarse/fine turf mix and some static grass.

More later

Note- The Dark Angel wondering if he should really get between a Warp Screaming Emperor's Children Marine's personal duel with a Khornate Berzerker ( just for show ).

09-10-2006, 22:29
When the drybrushing was all done I gave the top of the board another light misting of the spray cement, I then took the static grass shaker and layered the hills and ground in iregular patterns.

After this was done I then took the mixed shaker of coarse and fine light green and medium turf and gave static grass a very liberal sprinkling all over to help break up the green colors so that it blends into a more natural earth and grassy like surface.

Finaly when this was done I then gave another very light shake of the static grass over the top of the now static grass and turf mix to help blend in any "perfect" looking areas, because the turf kinda made a few "lines" here and there that would look far too man made, so this final shake made it just right in my view.

When this was done I gave it another misting to seal the layers of flocking for good ( I will probably even give it a varnish spray coat at some point ).


So I think it turned out rather well if I do say so myself, maybe not as nice looking as something in WD or BG or that the 'Eavy metal scenery team could do but for a weekend I believe it will do its job just fine and probably get a few oohs and ahhs.

Later on I will probably add some of that dried flower stuff with some coarse turf around the edges for even more variations, I am going to take a few days break but I will then work on assembling the trees, thinking about ordering some small flying bases as I believe it would be just the right size and sturdy enough to hold the stems, I can also add some rubble and more scenery to the bases.

Well, I hope this has been somewhat informative and that my new gaming board does not look all that bad.

09-10-2006, 22:45
I must admit that I was unsure about this board, but I think it came out quite well.

One thing that does annoy me though, is trying to stand up models on uneven boards like that. That's why I'll always have my sheet of plywood with moveable terrain. In my opinion it makes it a lot easier, even if it does look a bit cheap.