Elephant Grass

Now I’ve got my wargames room back I decided to have a bit of a simple scenery bash, today, and make some new Elephant grass for my African gaming boards. I’ve tried to make Elephant grass before and although I quite liked the results it was a rather involved process which took a long time.

In reality battlefields in Africa, with Elephant grass, are covered in the stuff and you need rather a lot of model grass so I needed to find a simpler way of making elephant grass. As the name suggests Elephant grass is big, growing 12-14 feet high, and battles that took place among such grass saw the protagonists literally fighting blind.

So to represent this giant grass I went for the easy option of gluing, with my hot glue gun, plastic Aquarium grass, supplied by my local pet shop in a a foot square matt for £7.99, to bases and spraying it various shades of green and brown. Then I added some flock to the bases to match my terrain boards and done. You really can’t get a much easier terrain project. I made three decent sized clumps but I think I need to build several more to produce a really big area of grass perfect for ambushes.

New Gaming Board – Part 6 river test piece

Moving on to the river tiles for my modular African gaming board I thought it would be a good idea to do one tile as a test piece rather than jumping head first into doing all five at one. I did this because I wanted to modify the Sally 4th river tiles to make the river deeper and I wanted to make the river with epoxy resin. This gave me plenty of opportunity to balls things up so I figured wrecking one tile was better (and cheaper ) than wrecking five tiles.

I took a drill with a hole cutter to create a half circle, in the middle of the original river tile depression, for a deeper river (which you can see on the third picture down) that then meant, the original depression to represent the river on the tiles, could become steeper river banks which you often see, during African dry seasons, as the river level drops.

I had some fun with the epoxy resin as my attempts to block the ends of the river weren’t quite water tight which got a bit messy. I added a small amount of Tamiya mud green weather powder to the my first resin pour for some colour and then added a second clear top up layer of resin. The resin dries smooth so I used a gloss acrylic medium over the top to add some water flowing texture.

I added some plastic plants and used more green flocks closer to water of the river working out to the browns and yellows, of my other tile boards, at the tile edges. In theory when all laid out the river should look like a small streak of green life next to the water in a mass of dried out brown. In the end I think it came out pretty well so I just need to build the other four tiles now.

New Gaming Board – Part 5 High Ground

It’s taken a while, not least because I had a fun week tracking down the source of an electrical trip in my wargames room/ garage that turned out to be the ancient strip lighting and then replacing to old lights with some funky new LED ones, but I’ve final completed the hill tiles for my modular gaming board. Theses are a combination of flat double height tiles and slopes from Sally 4th I gave the slopes some rocky outcrops for fun and because a lot of photos I’ve seen seen of African Kopje seem to have a lot of rocks. one double height tile and one slope also had a road modelled on. other than that they where finished in the same way as my previous tiles.

This picture of a south Africa hill was my inspiration for the rocky outcrops on my hill tiles

and some photos on my tiles

New Gaming Board – Part 4

So I’ve managed to build fifteen tiles for my new modular gaming board but I still have 4 double height tiles, 6 slope tiles, 5 river tiles and a double sized 2x2foot tile (for use as a base board for urban areas) to complete. As my gaming table is a rather bijou 5×4 foot I need 20 1×1 foot tiles to fill a table so I should have enough to give me plenty of variety when they are all completed.

Unfortunately I have run out of Polystyrene sheet so new tiles are on hold for a few days at least. I’ve started building some, hopefully, African looking trees. In the mean time I thought I’d lay out the 15 tiles I’ve completed just to see what they look like and keep me motivated. I took a few photos so I thought I’d share.

First up a picture of what I’m trying to achieve with my new table the African Savanna. Nice isn’t it?

A few pictures of my first 15 tiles laid out I don’t think its to bad a representation though I do think I need a bit more scrub and a few more trees.

New Gaming Board – Part 3

I’ve managed another five tiles for my new board I did get a request to do a how to post on my tiles so this post is it. By necessity this going to be quite a long post, but working on a picture paints a thousand words principle, I’ll try and keep the word count low and use pictures to illustrate how I did things.

A few thoughts before I get started. I can’t take credit for anything here the techniques I used where all found online and YouTube has a wealth of useful videos in particular I recommend watching the Geek Gaming channel but don’t discount they model railway guys as they have some great ideas and techniques. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, leave plenty of drying time between stages or you could well end up with a big wet mess.

So my whole new gaming board is built using the Sally 4th Terra-former range. I won’t spend a lot of time talking about it, needless to say I’m a big fan, if you want to know more I suggest popping along to Sally 4ths website here

  1. So having built my Terra-formers and stuck in the earth magnets the first job is to fill them with polystyrene I got mine from the local DIY store. Sally 4th gave me a handy template to cut the polystyrene to the right size and then I secured it place using No More Nails.

2. These tiles are road and track tiles so I needed to mark them out, a task made much easier as the Terraformers have laser cut slots, that pop out, evenly spaced out around the sides. I used a chefs blow torch to melt the road and tracks into the polystyrene. Be really careful when you this as you only need a low heat, very briefly, linger to long and instead of a track you’ll have a huge crater.

3. The next step is apply texture and fill any gaps (that come from your dodgy cutting). You could probably use a whole range of different products but I chose a home made mixture of brown, flexible, tile grout, sand, PVA glue and some orange brown paint mixed with water into a…. errrr gloop. I applied this gloop with a spatula and some cheap pound land paint brushes (because the paint brushes get ruined very quickly). I tried to sculpt the roads and tracks while the mixture is wet.

4. Once the texturing is full dry (I found this took a couple of days) I then took a brown spray can and gave the edges a couple of coats you could of course paint them with a brush.

5. Next I painted the tiles an orange/brown to fit in with my African dry season theme but obviously you could go with whatever colour you feel fits your chosen theatre of operations. My basic colour was supplied by the local DIY Shop and for the base coat I added a touch of dark brown craft paint. Once the base coat was dry I dry brushed the tiles with the original colour and then the original colour mixed with a sand yellow. The final part of the paint job was to use a red-brown wash to give some shade and depth especially on the roads and tracks

6. Once the paint is dry its time to add the foam flock. I used four different coloured foam flocks, applied using a cooking sieve, and fixed in place using watered down scenery cement from Woodland Scenics. To start I applied neat PVA to areas I wanted the flock to sit on an added my darkest foam flock. Then I sprayed it with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol as a wetting agent. spray with the watered down scenic cement and then sprinkle on the next darkest foam flock and repeat until your happy. After my final and lightest coloured foam flock layer I added a, yellow, fine turf sawdust flock and some of my darker foam flock as a blending layer. At this point you will look at the whole thing and think ” What the hell have I done? This is a horrible wet mess!” but once it dries out (and this can take several days) it actually looks pretty good. I used browns and yellows but the whole technique would work just as well with various shades of green.

7. Once the foam flock is thoroughly dry (which takes a while as the foam flock acts like a sponge) we can move on to adding patches of static grass. I Used three sizes (2mm.3mm and 4.mm) in yellow and brown colour. I use a static grass applicator which I picked up cheap on eBay I’d love some of the better ones but they can be rather expensive. I started with more PVA glue where I wanted patches of grass and then applied my 2mm dark brown grass with the applicator I then sprayed it with a matt spray varnish. While the spray varnish was still wet I added patches of light brown 3mm grass sprayed that with matt varnish and added more patches of yellow 4mm grass a final spray of varnish was followed up by a light dusting of 2mm brown flock as a blending layer.

8. The final stage was break out my collection self adhesive of grass tufts and bushes and add a few to the the tracks, roads and open spaces to finish the look
And that’s it. All pretty simple really with the right equipment and materials. Next up I’m starting on the high ground tiles so I can have ridge lines, large hills and so on.

New Gaming Board

At Christmas I received a huge box of Sally 4th Terra-Formers terrain boards its taken me awhile but I’ve started to make some progress on them. I decided I wanted to try a sub Saharan African dry season look for my Darkest Africa gaming but I think it would work well enough for 40K or Post Apocalyptic gaming.

Originally I was going to combine teddy bear fur mat with the the boards to get a more flexible version of my teddy bear mats but the test pieces didn’t come out well. I found cutting and sticking the fur to the boards wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.

So I went back to the drawing board and watched lots of youtube video tutorials by model railway guys and Geek Gaming on using flocks and creating ground cover. I’m much happier with how my second attempt has turned out. As I mentioned when I made my fur mats, Africa is a big place, so I have just tried to make something that looks African to my mind which is probably rooted more in Hollywood than any reality. Here are a few images that I used for inspiration.

So here are my first nine 1×1 foot boards these are all either small track boards or plain boards though I did make one plain board into a small Kopje. I’ve gone for a red/orange soil colour because again it seems “African” to me. I have plenty more boards to do yet including a river, high ground and hills and a large 2×2 board for placing villages and urban areas on.

Lockdown Weekend Terrain 3

Back to work today I didn’t quite get everything I wanted done over the long weekend. I got the 2×2 foot skirmish board finished, managed to to build a piece of fantasy scenery, Paint up seven old miniatures and half built the tembe, so not to shabby on the hobby front. Here’s the finished gaming board.


Lockdown Weekend Terrain 2

So I’ve been cracking on with my terrain making efforts my 2 foot skirmish board is coming along quite nicely. the Tembe for my Africa games is lagging a bit I’ve cut out the foam core pieces for the Tembe but haven’t got much further. Mostly because I’ve been having to much fun with the gaming board that now looks like this


lots more to do yet plenty more plant life to add and the water areas to work on but I thinks its looking a bit like a marsh/bog/fen?

Lockdown Weekend Terrain

So the big UK lockdown continues. I’ve actually been working through the lockdown my employer considered me essential staff so I’ve been carrying on. Even so I’ve had a lot more hobby time than normal as there is very little else to do in the evenings and weekends (especially with no PL football). This Easter weekend though my employer has given staff, that are working, an extra two days leave so with six days off I decided to tackle a couple of terrain projects.

First up is a tembe for my darkest Africa project. I cut at the base board yesterday and measure up where I want walls to go. I have two sheets of A4 foam board to try and construct the shell of the building today.

The second project is a 2×2 foot skirmish board for my Realms of Chaos fantasy project. That project has its own blog here if you’re interested in GW fantasy inspired stuff


the skirmish board is going to be for a Nurgle inspired wetland/bog/fen/marsh. Yesterday day I got a base board cut and mounted various cork, polystyrene and foam board pieces to create levels. I used my new hot wire cutter and quite frankly wonder how I got be without one all these years. after gluing everything down I let it dry and then started adding filler. to day is a drying day (which should be helped by the hot weather) and tomorrow I  can get started on phase two.

Anyway this is what my efforts yesterday created.