Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Orlygg Builds A Full Scale Gaming Table Part One

For me, one image and one image only has defined what I want from a gaming table and that image is shown above. It my appear familiar to you dear readers and this is because it was used to illustrate Warhammer Third Edition in the 1987 rulebook. To this day, I have no idea who built this board but to me it sums up everything that I want from a gaming table. 

Number one, its flat. Contours can be added by either carving into the top (like the river section her) or by constructing hills and woods. The buildings, walls, hedges and trees all look scratch built and different  to each other while the fantasy setting is subtle enough to make the scene believable. In short, I am going to build a table inspired by what you see in this picture. I plan to build in four sections, two of which will include the river, but why this sudden need to construct a table when BOYL is only two weeks away. Well, in truth its down to the weather, its nice and warm at the moment which means that modelling projects dry quicker and secondly, the wife has just had me clear out the garage and I have unearthed a horde of material to use. 

Check it out! 

I don't have the space to build all four sections at the same time, after all there are two under 5s running about not to mention a wife to loathes miniatures and mess. So I am opting to work on and complete each section at a time. I am using the piles of polystyrene that I have filled the garage with over the last five years as a base material (proper old school) and have used plaster to clear up and protect the edges. 

Here is a WIP shot of the first board. 

Now, the next step is to construct and decorate the playing surface. I shall leave this board to dryout in the garden and then tomorrow cover all of it with an earthy brown basecoat. I was tempted to cover the surface with sand like I did with my mini board but  am not so sure what was used in the original photograph. It looks like the surface has been flocked rather than painted. 

What do you guys think? And also, anyone got any great tips for me about how to get my playing surface looking as good as possible?



  1. As far as adding a playing surface to your tiles, i'd reccomend the method that I used here http://theleadpile.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-green-green-grass-ofwhere-ever.html
    Although I used canvas as a base the method would work fine on any surface. The caulk is cheap as is the paint and the gravel. You can add the flock while it's wet and hey-presto you have a hard-wearing, good looking gaming surface.

  2. Here's my step by step guide to building terrain boards...


    1. Bryan Ansell's old boards are all painted sand rather than flock (or maybe old-fashioned sawdust flock rather than static grass).

      I would recommend mixing some PVA in with the plaster for maximum survivability though.

  3. Have you thought about grass matting that model railway people use ? Might be a quicker alternative.

    What about doing the ruined temple from WD 135, always a favourite of mine.

  4. A noble endeavor!
    That original board up top looks like it might be cork tiles, textured/painted and set up over a glossy black wooden top... with some cut to be river edges.
    It is nice... a good source for inspiration.

  5. Watching with interest as I'm starting my gaming board when we move soon.

  6. I second Colin's recommendation. The great thing about caulk is that it has a rubber consistency when dry so if miniatures fall over on your table there's no need to to fret! Here's my own attempt (obviously you can ignore the stuff about calico/canvas): http://drumsdeep.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/project-multitasking.html

    1. From my blog: 'Five 300ml tubes of caulk, 400ml of paint and 1kg of sand is enough to cover a 4'x4' area.'

  7. Dear Orlygg I MUST suggest you to use blue high density polystyrene (http://building.dow.com/na/en/products/insulation/deckmate.htm) instead of usual white polystyrene!

    In that tutorial you can also check construction tecniques:

    For the surface wood/white glue+sand+cheap brown acrylic colour, drybrush and then grass...

  8. Sorry Orlygg, I forget to post this article whre the grass look very 80's:

  9. Thank you for all this advice. Its been really informative to read through all this content. I am just going to use everything I can scavage from the garage in this effort and try and get some experience in building on a large scale. I expect NEXT summer will be the time to build the larger, more permanent one!