Friday, June 1, 2007

Answering Questions.

A few people (both at the convention and online) have asked how the board was created, so i've decided to answer, and how. It was my first time making a complete scenery board and I was on a rather short deadline (due to some flakey terrain makers) but I think it turned out decently. There are already a ton of great sites showing how to construct a scenery board that I took inspiration from. The useful thing about this was that the whole thing was created indoors, with no power tools or noxious fumes.

The whole board is made out of 2” thick sections of blue Styrofoam. I bought a little extra expecting to mess up some so my poor little car was full of the stuff for a day. It was cut into 4’x 2’ sections for the base and the cliff was made out of 2’x 2’ sections. This allowed for transport, storage and still held onto a good aesthetic (there weren’t to many seams).

Here you can see my poor dining room covered in drop clothes and stacks of foam. I’m still in the process of cleaning; it was a huge hassle to do all this in a one bedroom apartment.

I laid out the boards on the floor and marked a line across for reference (at the 12” mark).

I marked the basic shape of the board and cliffs using figures for reference. I knew about how wide I wanted it at the thinnest parts and went from there. I used some reference maps for the general shape and made sure to include the narrow portions that made the hot gates. I then proceeded to my first cut.

Here you can see the height of cliff compared to the 28mm figures. The main portion of the cliff would be 6” high with another 2” augmenting that to make the mountain trail.

I cut the foam with a foam cutting blade. This is basically a long exacto blade style knife. I couldn’t use a foam cutter since most of this was being done at night after work and inside my apartment. Cutting made a huge mess on the floor but I figured the cleanup would be better than sniffing toxic fumes for a few nights.

Once the cliffs were cut out I stacked them up on my table and glued them together to form the final 2’x 2’ sections that are 6” high. I stacked heavy (nerdy) books on top of the sections while they dried to make sure there were minimal gaps. When I glued the second and subsequent sections I placed its adjoining (already glued) section next to it to help line them up properly and ensure a tight fit.

The front cliffs didn’t line up perfectly but that is okay because I just hacked away at them when they were all glued to make it reasonably seamless.

I then painted the top surfaces with slightly thinned down white glue and added a mixture of different grain sands.

I used a very scientific method of clasping a handful of sand in my fist and then shaking it out over the whole board to give a good, light coverage. I then turned the boards on their side to get rid of the excess.

Once the sand had thoroughly dried, the painting began. This was probably the most painfully time consuming section. During painting I watched the Champions league final, most of a season of Big Love, The Lost Boys and some other movies/shows I can’t remember. I painted a base coat of dark brown over the entire surface. It was difficult to get into a lot of the cuts and crevasses in the rocky cliff surface and I had to use different sized brushes to make sure it was all covered.

I then heavily dry brushed a yellowish sand color over the entire surface as well.

After that dry brush was done, I added a final lighter dry brush of a whiter sand color. A road was dry brushed in bleached bone as a final addition to break up the flat terrain a little. The final pictures of the board in action can be seen in the post before this.

The top pieces to the cliff were carved from off cuts of the main board. They are separate pieces placed at the top of the cliff for additional height/separation from the mountain trail.

All in all I’m happy with the results and the relatively simple techniques created a decent presentation. Total build time a little over 2 weeks of mainly evenings.

Someone also commented wanting to know about the scenario cards used so I’ve added their text below. X2 means there are two of these cards in the deck. I made these to bring flavor to the scenario as well as teach some of the history of the battle.

As always, comments, questions, insults and threats are all welcome.


Whips of the barbarians X2

Persian forces get an extra D6” added to their basic movement this round.

“Persian casualties were high, because their regimental commanders wielded whips and urged every single man ever onward from behind”


Death of Leonidas

Spartans must charge the nearest enemy unit and must pursue a defeated enemy. This lasts for D3 turns.

“The Persians and Lacedaemonians grappled at length with one another over the corpse of Leonidas, but the Greeks fought so well and so bravely that they eventually succeeded in dragging his body away.”


We shall fight in the shade X2

Persian units do not get a -1 to shooting while moving this round. Persian units may use massed archery while moving this round.

“…when they fired their bows, they hid the sun with the mass of arrows.”


Xerxes demands obedience X2

A single Persian unit may re-roll a break or panic check this round.

Xerxes considered himself a living god and demanded obedience from his followers.


The Greek forces gain D3 oracles.

“The first warning the Greeks in Thermopylae got was when the diviner Megistias inspected the entrails of his sacrificial victims…”



The naval triumphs at Artermision inspire the Greek side. Gain 1 oracle.

Artemision was the second part of the Greek plan to hold the Persians at Thermopylae. A severely outnumbered Greek fleet (along with rough seas) dealt a great blow to the Persian naval forces.

Thebans desert

Lose D6 hoplites from the allied unit.

“Then they held out their hands in surrender and approached the Persians.”



Eva said...

First comment!

You're a dork =)


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