26 September 2011

Revamped gametable

One of the very first blog entries I made, was about a year ago when I was creating a new lightweight modular game table. I still use it, and having 3 pieces, each 2x4' is very handy as I can adjust the size of the gaming surface according to game requirements.

The surface I've been using pretty much exclusively was the one I had attached the new fabric GW battlemat. It's OK but it does look way to "happy green grass" in color. It simply does not work with the horror/weird skirmish games I play these days.

Now the idea from the beginning with my game table was to have it double sided, the thing is the back side was completely fucked up and left untouched for a year. Until recently when I decided I would pull myself together and spend a few weeks working on my terrain and bring it up to a good standard.

Thus started the work on the "dark side" of my table. At this point 2 out of 3 modules are finished, and I thought I would share the process and the progress with you along with some comments.

First of all, I had to strip that god awful "GW battlemat version 1.0". I pulled off most of it, I did leave some of the paper which was completely glued to the Styrofoam surface as I didn't want to tear it apart completely.
Used brown paint to cover upp the naked patches, and then coated the entire surface with PVA glue, slightly watered down, like 5parts glue 1part water. I then used the shaker bottles and covered the entire surface with the turf, smoothing out all the excess with my hand and thus mixing it together a little in places so that the two colors would blend better.

As soon as this is done, I raise the module and hit it a few times in the back so any excess turf not glued in place will fall off. This I gathered in a small bag as it was a mix of the two colors by now.

Once the surface has dried for an hour or two, I then took a jar of water and some PVA glue, mixing the glue down into the water. Roughly 1 part glue, 3 parts water. I then took a large brush, soaked it in the PVA/water mixture and applied it gently but quite heavily onto the turf. You can't brush back and forth as the thing will come off. Make sure to caver every single inch of the gaming surface, and pay extra attention to the edges. The idea behind this is simple, once the second coat of watered down PVA has dried you will have a hardened gaming surface that will not wear and tear as easily.

If you skip this last step you will be able to rub the turf off with your elbows, fingers and heavy terrain features. The gaming surface would look like shit in a matter of days, not to mention that tiny particles of the turf would keep falling off.

Leave the board to dry over night, and for at least 8-10 hours. Don't panic if the surface seems "mushy", it has to be 100% dry before the "crisp" surface effect kicks in. Up to then the surface will be kind off soft and a bit sludgy, especially towards the end.

This procedure will also soften the contrast of the turf itself, tone down the color but also darken it a bit.

For one of my modules I really wanted a static water feature, like a piece of a lake or dead end of a river, just wide enough so I could park my river boat I built a year ago but have had no use for up to this point. I used sand paper to work my way half an inch deep into the Styrofoam, then painted the "water surface" and the beach with acrylics. After completing the entire surface process with the turf I brushed two layers of "water effects". A thin layer will dry and become transparent within 8-12 hours. But as I made a rather thick second layer it took almost 2 days before the thickest "waves" became transparent. Have this in mind so you don't panic if it looks like PVA glue in places, it will become transparent if you give it time.

And here is a comparison shot of the two surfaces my modular gameboard now has.

And this is how the 4x4 ready to play table looks like at the moment. One 2x4' piece left to do.


  1. Looking good.

    I'm trying to convince my Wife that I NEED a new gaming table.

    Wish me luck.


  2. When you are doing the second layer of glue (1 part glue 3 parts water) for the Turf to get sealed, try using a flowersprayer. It work wonders and you never have to worry about the brushes destroying the turf :)

  3. Sounds good to me :D

    Good luck Tony :D

  4. @Palmen,

    Yeah I tried that initially, but the one we had at home didn't really work all that well. But that is a good point.

  5. Very nicely done so far. I like seeing pictures of people's gametables.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...