Saturday, June 21, 2008

Building a Necromunda Terrain Board: Part 4

In this installment we'll get the bulk of the painting finished up. After that, it's on to details and finishing touches (probably in further blog posts). These steps move much faster than the construction. Which is good, because construction was a bit of a ball-buster.

Some notes on Paint:

Paint is important. Maybe the most important part of the board.

The colors you choose are going to be tied into (and, perhaps, affecting) the pallets of your models and terrain. The colors are going to take your game board from a bunch of multicolored card squares on a piece of wood, to a bad-ass concrete wasteland.

The type of paint you choose is going to affect things like overall cost, time spent waiting for drying and overall durability of the finished product.

Paint Type:

Before we can choose colors, we need to discuss types of paint. If you've ever painted a miniature before, you're well aware that those little acrylic model paints are the way to go. They're fast drying, come in lots of colors/effects and are relatively cheap. You're probably most familiar with them as well.

However, we're talking about painting 16 square feet of gaming table. A little ounce-and-a-half paint pot isn't going to cut it. Hell, 10 of the little guys won't be enough. All of the qualities that make your regular mini paint great for miniatures are terrible for a gaming board. Primarily, the small size of the jars coupled with the 'fragile'* nature of the paint make it terrible for a high traffic play area.

*By fragile, I mean that since you are ideally working with very thin coat of paint, the paint will rub off if you don't dull coat you models. Since we're building a large surface that is meant to be played on, it will see much more 'handling' and general wear and tear than any model could ever reasonably expect to see.

For our purposes, we need a paint that us both cheaper than model paint, drys quickly and is durable. We need latex paint. It fits all those qualifications and comes in a dizzying array of colors.

Color Selection:

You have a few options here. They all involve going to a hardware store.

Option A: go to the premixed paint aisle and select colors from whats comes ready to go in can. This is very cheap, but you have very limited color selection. The only thing worth getting here is a solid flat black.

Option B: Go to the paint sample area and select some colors from the various chits. The hardware store will mix thees up to order and you have a ton of options. Often times, you can come pretty close to matching a favorite model paint color.

Option C: Often times, the hardware store will have a color matching service. If you have some colors of model paint you absolutely love or need to use, bring in a dry sample of the color and the hardware store can match it.

I went for option B. I needed some rich brown or green grays and non of my model paints fit the bill. It's also much easier to get colors from a pre-existing pallet. I choose 3 warmish grays from the Behr line that I am quite happy with (this is important since custom paint is non-returnable). 10 bucks a quart was bit more than I wanted to spend, but hey, thats how it is. Fun factoid: An equivalent amount of Citadel paint would have about 700+ dollars. Yikes.

I got my three grays based on a base coat and two highlights plan. I'd base coat over the black primer with the darkest gray, do a heavy highlight with the middle color and then a lighter highlight with the lightest color. there would also be a black wash in thrown in as well to add depth.

Another note: latex paint comes in a variety of finishes as well (matte, flat, gloss, etc). Get whatever suites your needs. I got a flat finish to help with the concrete effect I wanted.

I got way more paint than I needed, but considering I plan on using it for basing my models and for painting all the terrain I intend to make, its a pretty good deal.

Working With Latex Paint:

Is pretty easy. It washes up with water and drys fairly fast (you only need to wait about 2-ish hours between coats). Just make sure you give the can a good shake or stir before using it (just like any paint). I big brush and a drop cloth are also handy. We have 16 square feet of surface to cover. A two inch brush will be quite handy, if not a bit more messy.

Well, that was way more time spent on paint than I wanted. And with no pictures. More to come.


  1. Did you ever finish the Necromunda board? I'm thinking of doing the same thing, only having a desert/Gorkamorka table on the flipside.

    1. Holy crap! Has it really been four years?

      I did finish the boards. I just never got around to writing them up. They've since been donated to A game store in campaign, IL and are actually getting a fair bit of use.

      If you're gonna go a similar route as me with the tiles, make sure you the cardstock you get has a more plastic-y or glossy feel to it. I quickly found out that the glossy-silver paper I had was the best for the project. The no-frills colored cardstock had a tendency to absorb glue and paint in odd ways which resulted in bubbling and warping.

      I'd also recommend foam if you're gonna do a flip side deal. The mdf is just a little too heavy and the board may damage itself under it's own weight.