A long, long time ago, Games Workshop sold two 2′ by 4 boards for £35. These boards were painted green on one side and came with some sliding clips. This was positied as a gaming table for you to use for your battles (just add terrain – see my terrain post when it’s complete).
Being, 14 at the time and not overly familiar in my local DIY store, I invested in a set and have had them ever since. However, in the 10 years from when I stopped playing to picking up the hobby again, Games Workshop shifted the average table size up from 4′ by 4′ to 6′ by 4’…
So I sighed, and eventually wandered into a DIY store to collect an additional 2′ by 4′ board.
Games Workshop meanwhile, had moved on from DIY plywood boards to 2′ by 2′ plastic tiles. For years now I’ve looked at them, looked at the price tag and ran screaming from the store. Then a friend of mine decided to leave the country and sold me his Games Workshop Battleboards at a very reasonable price. … I’ll come back to this in a moment.
Now, assuming you go down the route I went down initially, and assuming you are not lucky enough to have a massive dining table (go cheap Swedish furniture stores….) then I recommend you pick up two wallpaper tables (the sort the allows you to roll the paper out so you can apply the paste). Put these together and lay your boards perpendicular to the direction the tables are running. You now have a gaming table to add scenery to, and the great thing? It’s easily packed away.
Back to the Battleboards…. Ok, aside from undercoating (I used 1.75 tins of Chaos Black undercoat – I seriously doubt you’ll need more than that!), I managed to complete all 6 boards in one afternoon with thanks to one of my local GW hobby stores and it’s manager.
I used the Games Workshop scenery paint kits which gives you a basic brown, an ochre, a brush, pva glue and two types of grass flock. Now this kit is at least £25 (possibly more now) and they don’t do any other colours. I decided to go for this as I wanted a base to use not only for my 40k armies but also my fantasy one.
I started brushing all of the boards with the brown paint, a good liberal coat on all 6, sometimes go back over with a second coat as it appears to dry very thin. The tub of brown you get with the paint pack is waaaaayyyy more than you need, I had at least 1/3 of the bottle left and i reckon I could have used a lot less.
After that coat is dry, you then dry brush on you’re ochre – I did use the entire bottle of ochre you’re given. Now this colour is very thick, so it can go a long way. Just in case you don’t know, dry brushing is loading the brush up with paint, wiping most of it off on towels then with the absolute minimum of paint left on the brush, run it over the boards, it will highlight all of the textures on the board.
Now the flock you get will not cover all 6 boards in a thick coat, think sparse grassland regions for your boards if you don’t have access to more flock (thankfully I was provided with access). In any case, it’s fairly simple – mix the pva with water in a 50:50 ratio then brush over the areas of the boards you want to flock. Then drop the flock over the glued areas and pat down. Leave it for 10-15 mins then tip the board and knock off the excess flock for use on the other boards.
I was advised by my local’s manager that you really, really need to Purity Seal (varnish) the boards after drybrushing (and/or flocking) . The reason for this? protect against wear and tear, as the boards are plastic and the paints acrylic; they will wear off, and the flock will peel away. In any case, another 1.75 tins of purity seal and your done.