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I've been doing some research on buliding myself a game table. Though it is kind of hard to find many good resources on this or at least I'm having a hard time finding them.


I was curious who all here had built their own board and has some experience on the matter.


I'm wanting to do a grassy and hill type set up that is quite typical but I'm not sure how to go about the grass look.

I've looked into the foam powder stuff and the grass mats. The foam flock powder looks like it would not last under game play I think.


I've thought about just giving the surface some texture and trying to paint it up like dirt and grass or even using static grass but that could get really difficult.


I'm not an expert at this kind of thing. I did make pretty good stuff for 40k but it was all city things with no nature.


So after looking at lots of pictures of fields and hills and grass lands I'm ready to start on my project as I have an idea for the look but am not sure on the method to use.


Any suggestions on this would be cool.

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Flock is pretty durable when applied correctly:


1) Paint the base color (I prefer a brown, many people like green) on the table.

2) Cover a section of the table with dilute Elmers/PVA.

3) Dump an excessive amount of flock on the wet parts.

4) Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

5) Recover the excess flock (use a vacuum with a new bag or just dump the excess onto a plastic sheet).

6) Repeat until the table is done.

7) To add durability, you can mist the final surface with a bit more dilute glue or with hairspray, though this is probably overkill.


I have some terrain boards done this way decades ago that still look fine.


You could use glued and drybrushed sand for the grass, which might be a bit more durable, but the result is a table surface that's essentially sandpaper. This isn't friendly to painted miniatures.


I prefer separate hills for their variety, but you can't easily get really dramatic scenery this way. If you want gullies and rivers recessed below the main surface of the table, you might want to go with a fully sculpted tabletop. Once you have it, though, you can't change it much.


When building hills, I prefer to use foam as a substructure and cover it with hydrocal (or a similar very hard plaster). Also, I like to use a hardboard base for the hill, which adds weight and (if the bottom surface is unfinished), reduces the problem of terrain moving during play.

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That seems like some solid information. I honestly expected the flocking to just come off but glad to know it works better than that.


As for the table I believe at this point it will be broken up into 4 sections of 2'x4'


I've hopes to do it with features sculpted into the board and be able to rearrange the boards a bit. If I set it up right they could be switched around to offer some different maps.


I've a lot of planning on the drawing board for that part. For now I'm just trying to work out the actual construction.


So far I've gotten some of the pink foam board and 4 sheets of hardboard that are 2x4. I'm not making it portable, just want it to be a bit modular for the table top. On the 5x9 table that will give me a good little edge around the game part to sit minis and stuff and keep peoples elbows off the terrain.


Though If I though I could paint it to look like grass I would do that and then flock over it. Throw in some static grass clumps maybe around rocks and things.


I'll have to look into finding the right colors of that flock now.

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Okay thanks for the help and information. I've gotten started with the basic build and roughed it out a bit. I still have to add the hills and such but I thought I would just put in some pictures as I go along and explain what I'm doing for any one who may be interested in such a thing. Not quite a how to, but more like a visual work in progress.


So Here is the table it is going on. It was actually very hard for me to get started. I believe I was over thinking things and trying to plan out too much, not that having a plan is bad but I don't think with a project like this I could figure it all out how it should be before getting started. So I just went ahead and drew up a very rough idea for the lay out and started to work.




It is a 5x9 ping pong table that has been painted over. Though I think in the future I'll repaint it better, but for now it is fine to work on. This is the start of the project, I've had this for several years and bought it used at a yard sale. When I first set eyes on it I thought I t would make an awsome game table but did not have a place until now to set it up. I don't even play ping pong actually. For about 2 years it has been folded up in my kitchen.


I went to the home depot (I work there actually) and picked up some supplies. I've started with some 2x4 hard boards and two sheets of pink foam insulation. One is about two inches thick and the other one halfish. I cut the larger one into 2x4 pieces. It was not as easy as I thought. The foam board wants to chunk and break unless you have a very sharp knife. My hobby knife was fine on the thin one but the larger one I had to use one of my kitchen knives. To get the cut straight I put one of the hard boards on top and lined it up then cut along that.




I'm using the thick foam as the base and am putting it onto the hard board. This gave me a bit of a problem as I was not having much luck getting it to stick down. I tried some Elmers white glue but the foam would not stick very good even after setting something heavy on them to dry for a while.




After a bit of thought I came up with the idea to take some heavy duty duct tape and use that to hold the foam edge to the boards. I used Gorilla tape. I was quite amazed how sticky it was. Also I think this helped with my rough edges a bit and because it is a dark brown/black color it has kind of a decent look. It is quite thick and I think it will do a good job protecting the edges. When I get finished I plan on putting some heavy felt on the bottoms of the boards. I was given a roll of heavy green felt a long while back and was saving for a project like this.


Here it is all taped up.




Here are the four slabs together.




The gaps where they join up are not bad. Though they show a bit more than I like, however I believe that when I get to putting the texture on I will be able to hide them a bit more. The bit near the middle that is lower is two sections of the thick foam on the edges and then two sections of the thin foam stacked in the middle. This is where my water feature/river will be. I'll rough in some banks later. It won't be as wide as it is now.




I've not decided where my hills and road will be or decided where my structures will go. I beleive these will be heavy enough to stay put once done and though a big bigger than I would have liked at least I will be able to move them into a closet or such if I need the floor space back. I'm also thinking of painting that magnetic primer on the table for the 6 inch edge around the board. I could sheet magnets on my figure bases and that would keep them staying put when off the board.


I'll update again once I get more done. Also I welcome any suggestions or ideas. I've never built a fantasy board before so I am having a good time with this so far.

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You need something like liquid nails to glue that type of foam to anything that's not porous, like hardboard. I know model railroads that have torn their layouts apart and found the white they used to "glue" the foam together had never set (literally years). Liquid nails or different kinds of caulk are better adhesives for that type of foam

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Okay I've been having some second thoughts on my plan.


I'm of a mind to cut my table game play area down to 4x4.


So after having my table set up for a while, though not having my playfield built, the table has started to collect junk.


It's funny how a large flat surface gets stuff piled onto it.


The other part of my problem is that I'm not happy with my modular set up that I was building. I've restarted and put my previous board on pause to save for later. I want something that is modular as well as sculpted and that quite a silly idea as it seems mostly not possible. I don't much like just a flat green table top, or just a flat grass mat. I wanted at least little dips and rocks or such here and there and to do that it makes it hard to have a board where you can just plop down a building. So that leads me to want to sculpt my buildings on the board, but then I can't move them around.


Okay so this time around here is what I've come up with. I've built myself some test tiles that are 1x1. They have a sculpted surface with dips, holes, mounds, rocks and such, just all are small so that figures can walk over them. I could make buildings on the tiles and then could just rearrange it all at will. The only thing is there will be a the gaps on the board where they join but those will not be too bad I think, or at least hope.


Anyhow here are a few pictures.


Some boards in progress, and a static grass spill.






And some close up.






Well, until I change my mind again. One day I'll have this down to an art form if I keep on making changes.

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Thanks for that link. I've signed up and joined in over there. Lots of usefull information and I've a few ideas now to keep right along. I've gotten a bit of work done and am pretty happy with things. I hope to have a large part of the board done by end of the weekend.

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It's time to update a bit on my table.


I've not 5 tiles built though I've not added my underside magnet sheet as of yet.


I've 3 more in the middle of being built.


I've 3 more started as bases.


So that means I only need 5 more after these to get my 4x4 done. I'm pretty happy about this as I think I can have it mostly done this weekend.


Time to throw out a few more pictures of how it looks so far.








So now the plan is to finish my 2nd hill. I plan on building tiles with trail/paths on them, not quite roads but just good worn dirt trails. After that I think will be some ruins but I've not decided what kind.

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Thanks for the comments. I've got a wip thread about this board going over at http://www.terragenesis.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5539 I've some construction pictures there on how it is being built.


I've put some sheet magnets on the bottom of the boards. The table is painted with a paint that will allow magnets to stick to it.

So I get the following..







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