Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Building a Game Board in One Day

Last week I built a scenery board for my Portable Wargames set in the desert or Tunisia.  Last night I began one for "greener terrain". Here is how it was built.

I started with a sheet of two inch thick blue insulation board. I have used one inch pink board as well. This was covered with strips of fiberglass reinforcing tape, used in drywall repair. Both of these items are available at builder's supply stores like Home Depot. I use a large sheet of box cardboard to protect my work surface, which is also my game table.

The tape can be a bit tricky to get off the roll, but the strength it gives the playing surface is worth the trouble.

The paint I chose for the undercoat is Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Flat finish, "Grape Vine". I had the attendant in the HD paint department mix me a 7.25 ounce sample jar. That was enough paint to cover two 2x3 foot boards, and touch up some dents and dings on a few pieces of scenery in the collection.

I painted the edges over the tape first, then began filling in the middle.

Taco Bell Nacho plates make excellent paint trays.

After allowing the paint to thoroughly dry,  the messy part begins...You will need PVA white glue, Woodland Scenics blended Turf, and a cheap paint brush. The Nacho Tray is good for glue as well.

Again, I'm edging everything. Then the center gets filled in with white glue.

I then sprinkle flock near one edge, spreading it back to cover that edge completely. Keep sprinkling flock and gently spreading it until the board looks covered.

It is a slow, boring process.

When everything is covered, turn the board on its edge and tap it against the work table, most of the extra flock will fall off, onto your sheet of cardboard. Scrape it up and use it to touch up any spots that were missed. I had about a half dozen worthy of attention. Now give the glue time to dry.

Finally, measure off your board and apply the grid size desired. This board got   three inch squares, marked off with a black permanent marker.  Now I can set up Normandy, 1944.

Tomorrow I will post a report on BBPW: Kasserine Pass, using my desert board made using the same basic techniques.


  1. Nice work; I love the idea of flocking a large surface like that.

    For my grid I don't mark the lines, only the points where they intersect. This creates a board that has a square grid without looking like it has a square grid (although the square terrain templates are a bit of a giveaway :) )

  2. With my old eyes, I NEED the grid:-)...Talking dice might help, too.

    I may very well try your method on my next board, one with two inch squares for ECW and SYW.

  3. Hi

    Very nice.

    Another way to mark is draw the lines with a spirit marker (permanent marker) immediately before gluing and flocking; the lines will come through in a most unobtrusive manner.

    Can also be used under most paints with same result.

    The solvents seem to bleach through.

    I have used this technique for years and it is reliable but test it on a small area for yourself first; painting, gluing and flocking densities may differ :-)

    Note that I apply my glue with a misting bottle, 15% water and add a drop (literally) of dishwasher liquid. My flock I also dust on from a plastic container. This is relevant as I don't know what effect the rubbing action may have on the lines.

    Also, when painting I always give a thin coat with minimal brushing action and a second after drying.