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Varsrift blog - Salute 2012 board build

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    Posted: 10 Apr 2012 at 15:21

2012 has had some what of a hectic start for Dale and I and we both seem busier than ever. Some where in amongst all the painting, casting, meetings and mail order we have made time to create a new board for Salute 2012. Those of you who follow our twitter feeds will have already seen this taking shape since we started in January but now I have had the time to sit down and collate it all here.


Varsrift, a back water sector on the fringes of Protolene Khanate space, remote, safe, and away from the continuing war with the Kaamados Dominion. The temperate climbs of the planets Torift and Lotan where settled quickly by Protolene Colonists, however amongst the vegetation of the jungle world Vhars, they found they where not alone.

The Praesentia had arrived…………
(for sure this time!)

This years theme is jungle and as this board will be used for participation games using the new Protolene Khanate and Praesentia 1000 points Battle Forces only a 4x4 foot area is required to play.

Accompanying this board will be cut down versions of the boards from the last two years meaing we will be able run 3 games simultaneously across 3 4x4 boards at the show.

The first step for Dale and I was a trip to the timber yard where we had two pieces of 6mm MDF cut in to 4'x2' pieces. We also picked up enough 3/4" batton to run around the edge of the sheets and for a single support across the middle.

The first job, and one that create the most mess was to use a router to create recesses into a few random areas of the mdf. These would be used to later create swampy pools of water. The pools where routed out at a depth of approx 3mm.

A mask is a must for this job!

After routing out the areas required we set about cutting and fastening the 3/4" battoning to build a frame for the boards. This gives the whole thing strength and protection whilst being transported.

Pilot holes where first drilled through the MDF then recesses for the screws so they would be counter sunk.

Once in place the screw heads where filled with milliput so they could be sanded flush. I used milliput rather than filler as regular filler tends to splits and disintegrate to dust over time, Milliput does not.

Using a scalpel and a razor blade Wigan Wargames club member Rik and I set about making the milliput filled screw heads flush ready for sanding the board.

As can be seen the swampy areas have already had a coat of sand, this was put in place using PVA (white glue) and was of a slightly coarser grade of sand than used on the boards main areas. A few cork boulders have also been super glued in place randomly in the swamps.

80 thou white plastic card can also be seen in the pictures, this has been cut to random shapes and will ultimately represent templated areas of dense junlge on the board. In the Critical Mass rules a terrain pieces edge (in this case dense jungle) should be delineated. Here the idea is to have a slightly raised area of terrain which will delineate the jungle, with the junlge terrain pieces being placed on top of the raised areas (trust me it will all make sense at the end!).

Having applied a finer grade of sand to the rest of the boards surfaces and given time to dry the entire boards where give a coat of black textured paint. I prefer textured paint as it is designed for external use, menaing it will typically stand up to gamers abusing it. Cheap acrylics can be abit hit and miss in terms of durability.

After the black base coat had dried the entire boards was give a dry bursh of chocolate brown, yellow ochre, then sand. The pool areas were then repainted black.

The next step was to add some texture to the bottom of the swampy areas. Here Dale is using super glue and activator to apply Noch leaves to the to the swamps.

once dray the boards came back to me for some airbrushing in the swamps. I started by spraying them all a Tamiya JA Green (dark green).

Into this i mixed Mr Hobby Pale Green, and then continued to lighten then paint with White.

Swirls of Dark Olive where added back into the swamp area for some depth.

The next step was simple enough (apart from running out of static grass half way through). Dale and I applied PVA (white glue) thinned with water and then applied static grass to the board, leaving some paths and around the swampy areas.

The raised areas where left off at this time whilst we re-stocked on static grass

Once the static grass was dry we set about adding silfor tufts aross both boards. The primary purpose of this was to ring the raised jungle areas with low level grasses, but we also randomly started placing clubs across the entire boards as it looked so good. Our prefered method for applying silfor tufts is to use a pair of tweezers to holding the tuft. Add a drop of super glue to the back then press it into place with the tweezers.

The swampy areas also got the silfor tuft treatment in and around the water.

With the tufts in place it was back out with the airbrush as the whole boards was looking like a freshly turfed foot ball pitch.

Starting with the swampy areas I used dark green around the edge of the grass "misting" the paint on to the board to make the static grass and ground under it darker adding a sunken and damp look to that area of the board.

Misting can be achieved by both thinning you paint more than normal or spraying further away from the surface do you do not achieve a solid build up of pigment. Think of it as like an ink wash or glaze on a miniature.

As you can see above the effect works quite well and is relatively simple and quick to do.

The picture above is not the best but by spraying darker green and brown patches onto the baords it has lost that freshly laid turf look.

Edging the paths with an almost black brown has also created some depth to the look of the board.

This us out of static grass we where pretty much done with the board for now so it was time to move onto the jungle.

Since I had concieved this board I had been pondering how to make Alien looking trees quickly, and after a few failed attempts opted for making some out of drinking straws melted under controlled heat. Whilst this did work in creating the shapes I wanted the resulting shapes where extremely fragile and snapped to easily for what I had in mind, so Dale suggested I master them and that we cast them in resin so over two weeks I set about doing that. A week later Dale had cast up a batch and a got on with preping and painting.

As usual with any figure the mould lines where cleaned up first. The Alien Flora (as Dale named them) were then super glued to coins for added weight. To cover up the coins the flora was based with Vallejo White pumice.

I prepared just over 70 in total (as it turned out way to many for the board in the end , but atleast we have a stack of spares! )

The good news for everyone is that you will be able to buy the Alien flora resin stems in an 18 piece pack for £7.50. These will be in the web store on general sale just after Salute.

Moving on to painting the Alien Flora, all the pieces where spray primed black and then Rik and I got busy with the airbrushes. I opted to spray mine purple and orangey brown, whislt Rik stuck to green.

The method we used to paint these pieces was quite simple, as solid base colour, then lighted shades inbetween the banded ribbed areas of the stems, over which we mised a clear version of the colour we where using. Clears are the airbrush equivalent to a wash in simplest terms, green for green, red for orange, red and blue mixed for the purple.

4 1/2 hours later, they where done!

The next step for the stems was to turn them into trees, and this really could not be simpler. A 6mm hole was drilled in the top of each stem.

A head was cut of a bunch of material fake flowers (we purchased ours from the range, each stem had 5 heads and was priced £2.99). This was then hot glue gunned on to the stem.

A firm push makes sure the glue goes into the hole and it sets in a few seconds.

Ea voila! one wierdy looking alien jungle tree!

Rise and repeat 70 on times and you have got yourself a jungle!

Here we can see the board is starting to take shape.

And after a couple of hours it was fully populated.

One problem we did encounter however was that whilst the coin added enough weight its surface area was not enough to deal with some of the angled flora stems. As such we cut 40mm round bases from 40 thou plastic card to make them bigger. This was once again textured with the Vallejo white pumice.

Down at troop level the terrain was starting to look very impressive.

with new a new stock of static grass we set about flocking all the tree bases and could finally fill in the missing patches on the boards themselves.

These patches where given the airbrush treatment with some dark green to blend them in with the rest of the board.

With the build pretty much done we set up for a few promo pictures.

Well a picture speak a thousand words so we will let you make up you own mind as to whether or not the terrain works as an Alien Jungle

To add in a few different levels to the jungle I have since built a few different pieces of jungle terrain. You can see how this was done in the video below.

BUT HEY! what about the water? .... the more observant of you might ask, well we left that until last as we did not want any reflections spoiling our pictures. With that out of the way.....

We used 5ml syringes to carefully fill all of the recesses on the board with Faller water effect. This needed to be applied in two passed each being approx 1mm with 48hrs drying time between each coat. This stuff can bubble if not applied carefully. Working it in slowly with the syringes ment we could pop any bubbles as they came to the surface.

And with that this years Salute board was complete.

Ah yes the raised terrain thing! well one of my concerns with playing games in wooded and jungle areas is the battle we all have with the trees themselves. By making the terrain area raised it is easy to tell where is starts and finishes and by making the trees themselves as scatter terrain you can simply lift them off move your figures in, then replace the trees around your figures, so it "looks the part".

I hope you have enjoyed this write up and look forward to seeing you at Salute 2012.

However keen you think you are, I am keener!
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Artemis5150 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Artemis5150 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2012 at 19:40

Nah don't like it.....

Seriously though guys, Awesome job, looks mint!
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Toothpick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toothpick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2012 at 08:51
Great to see vibrant colours used on a board for a change. Really makes it stand out.

Be nice to your Dice
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darth tater Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2012 at 15:35
Awesome looking board! Definitely looks like an alien jungle :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote inrepose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2012 at 22:33
Looking sweet! I will be filming that (if I get a bloody break) at Salute!

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