Sunday, June 15, 2008

Building a Necromunda Terrain Board: Part 2

All right, we have a bunch of supplies that we've gone to 3+ store to get and spent more money than we hoped on paint. Now what?

Note: I ended up with a 2x2 section that was about an eighth of an inch too long. I ignored that. Its not a big deal and would be almost impossible to get rid of it.

Well my dear boy (or girl), we get started.

Basic Preparation

First things first, we need to prep the MDF boards. First, pull of the bar code stickers if you have any. The edges of the MDF were a bit rough looking for my tastes, so I decided to sand them for easier painting later as well as an overall better aesthetic. I had purchased a pack of sand paper with multiple grits (hope I included this in the supply list). Start with the rougher sand paper and work you're way down to the finer stuff. Just sand enough to spruce up the edges. Try not to round off the corners.

Creating the Concrete Tile Effect

Having looked through the Warhammer 40,000 city fight book as well as a few general searches for game boards and Necromunda terrain, I decided I wanted a kind of interlocking concrete slab effect. This was actually pretty easy to do, though the single most time consuming portion of the project.
The basic idea is/was to create a series of geometric shapes using only right angles and then glue them down with a 1/16 inch gap between. Its actually desirable to have more than just rectangles as well as varying the distance between them in order to create a more visually interesting board. I started marking out some shapes on the card stock and cut them out whenever I needed the next one.
It's important to not get all crazy and up an entire sheet of the card at once. The idea is to break up overly long straight lines, so I took a more organic approach and only cut out a few shapes at a time. Its also a good idea to start at a corner to ensure that you glue the shapes down parallel to the edges of the board.
As you may or may not be able to see from the picture, the wood glue got everywhere. It took a long time to dry and, as I later found out, created some bubbling once I painted it. Do yourself a favor here and use super glue.

It helped me a ton to place the shape where I wanted it and then trace along the edges with a pencil to mark where it would go on the board. A good strong line of glue around the edges and a some glue in the center (kind of a wide hash mark pattern or curly cues are good) and then place the shape on the board. I found that having a paper towel handy to wipe away the excess was very helpful. It also had the added effect of sealing the edges of the card.

Note: I made sure all of the edge tiles were flush with the MDF. I felt that the gap around the edge of the board was ugly. But this is your call.

Another Note: you will go through a lot of superglue for this stage of construction. Do yourself a favor and buy the cheap stuff.

Creating Vents

You can just tile the entire board with the card stock or you can add metal plates, vents, craters or other such gewgaws along the way to create yet more visually interest on the board. I found it best to do these as I go rather than at the end. That way you don't forget to leave space for them and get a much better feel for where the next one should go.

Vents are a bit more complicated, so I'll start here first. Once you pick you spot, take some measurements and cut some lengths of the plastic strips you have to create a frame. I recommend a thinner plastic because you're going to have two layers of the stuff and you don't want it to ride too high over the rest of the tiles. Next, cut a section of the wire mesh to fit in the frame (with no overlap). You can try gluing it down now, but it's hard and unnecessary. Next, measure and cut strips to create a second frame that is slightly smaller than the first. Glue these pieces on top of the first. This is the easy way to make sure the mesh gets locked down. Next cut some lengths of plastic rod to create rivits and glue 'em down.

Don't worry too much about making the rivets uniform hight or cutting the frams at 45 degree angles. There's going to be a lot of paint on this (which will forgive many mistakes) and, its Necromunda. The underhive is not a clean and pristine place. Alternatively, you could make more of a grate by using lengths of rod rather than the mesh.

Creating Plates

These are much easier to make. Its as simple as cutting a rectangle of plastic and gluing it down like the card stock. Add rivits and you're done. I also recommend distressing the surface of the plate in some way to make it look more weathered. I used a wood carfing tool to cut gouges in mine.

Creating Craters

Craters are also easy, but are spread out over a few steps of the entire board making process. For now, draw an explody hole on one of the tiles (preferably one that's not glued down) and cut it out. Glue this tile down.
Now, using some sort of gouging tool (I had a few cheap-o wood carvers from many moons ago that I used), start digging out the crater. Remember to create a bowl-ish depression and to not dig too deep. I also added some plastic rodes as bent up rebar, peices of heavyier plastic as exploded chunks as well as some bits of plastic/card stock around the crater as more debris.
Other Stuff

You can also add other random features to your board. I had a manwhole, a set of bay doors and some kind of sewer access. Anything that looks interesting and industrial. Just remember to keep it fairly short and smallish. You're eventually going to have terrain on the board as well as miniatures. Don't create board features that draw too much attention to themselves or will act as obstructions to game play and/or terrain setup.

Finished With Tiling

There we've done one. Now do 3 more. I found that watching TV while doing this helped out a lot. It slowed me down a bit, but drew my attention away from the fact that it took 2-3 hours per section to get the tile laid down.

Additionally, make sure you trim any excess from the tiles on the edges. Anything hanging off the edge is bad.

Continues in part 3.


  1. Instead of super glue, would it be possible to use a hot glue gun? It would give you the quick drying ability of super glue with the cost of wood glue.

    The board looks nice, I am wondering about customization though, are you going to push the four tiles together the same way every time? Or can you mix and match?

    Seems like it would be cool if you could design each 2x2 block as an individual and then you could mix and match. The reason I think this would be cool is that when you get tired of your current board, you could design one more 2x2 block and have a new board

  2. In such kind of projects if there is lack of planning so the project could be fail. You doing nice job.