“Show Us How Its Done Comp’. 2011. Created By ; Furgil”Creating a Mountain Fortress Display Board
So I'm going to give you a few tips about how I make my rather large and somewhat impressive army display boards. I go to about 6 Grand Tournaments a year with all manner of armies for Fantasy and I never leave home without a high quality display board to gain those precious few bonus painting/theme points.
I don't usually photograph my progress, but I did in this case since it was rather large and an interesting process.
* Pink Insulation Foam (Home Depot / Lowes)
* Soldering Tool (Hobby Lobby / Generic Hobby Supply Store)
* Cork Bulletin Board "Fancy, you want it to look like a framed picture" (Office Supply Store)
* White PVA "Elmers" Glue
* Acrylic Paint (Large Tube for painting on canvas) "Gray Color"
* Varnish (medium-dark brown)
* Straight Pins
* Molded Plasticard Sheets (for stone walkways & support structures)
* Entrance (I used a Railroad Tunnel Entrance, but 40K will likely make better use from some GW 40K terrain/buildings)
* Flock & Sand/Gravel
* Railroad Trees
* LED or normal bulb Christmas light string (battery powered, look for Wreath Lights)
Step 1: Concept
So my intention here is to build a cool-looking dwarf stronghold that will hold all my models and give them a fancy background that is scenic and appropriate for their race and fighting style. Dwarfs carry tons of artillery and dwell in mountains, so I decided to build the face of a mountain with dwarfs emerging from it while Cannons fire from the upper walkways.
I'm looking for something like this... Dwarfs defending their home in a dramatic fashion!
Step 2: Make it fit!
I I typically take my units and place them on the Cork Bulletin Board then draw a basic outline of where I want each one and where I want specific key elements to be. In this case I had to squeeze the models tight and work around the problem of having a big structure in a narrow space. Once I have the outline I start making rough cuts to the Insulation Foam and drop them in place with no gluing for now. This gives me a good idea how everything will fit and if some pieces aren't quite right I can re-do them, or cut a little extra off to shape them better later.
These images are of the models sitting where they will approximately go when everything is done to make sure the foam fits in place correctly. I haven't glued anything yet, a few extra supports can be seen that keep the foam from falling over in awkward locations.
Step 3: Glue & Pin
I take my White Glue & long straight pins and put all the pieces together. I make sure each piece fits nicely and re-cut it as needed. The glue is applied first, then a pin is driven through multiple pieces to give it added strength, but also for support while it dries (drying takes most of a day to accomplish fully).
I make sure to only put pins where they are central to a piece and I know I won't make any additional cuts later to shape the foam. Obviously if I try to cut through metal to shape my foam it will be a pain in the butt, so be aware of your future steps.
*** Make sure you remove the thin plastic sheath on the insulation boards. It will come off easy so no big deal. If you don't take it off it will not shape easily and might even weaken the structure since it will be between the glue and the next piece of foam you are attaching together.
Step 4: Burn the foam into rocky walls
The soldering tool heats up really nicely and will melt the foam quickly. The one thing it doesn't melt well is the think plastic covering the sheets of insulation have, so make sure they are removed before gluing.
When I melt the foam I use very random strokes and various edges of the tool. All hot edges will work great, so the flat round sides or the sharp tip. Sometimes the tools come with different shaped heads, so use them as you see fit to get the right texture. It's rock, so you don't have to be very accurate or careful, just make it look like a rocky cliff.
The melting process will help bind the foam together and also hardens its face a bit making it more solid than before. Use caution and don't get too crazy with the tool, foam tends to melt more than you would expect and you might burn deeper holes if you hold the tool too close for too long, I try to keep moving at all times while the soldering tool is touching the foam to prevent accidental damage.
These pictures are after melting, the rough exterior and unevenness seen in the pictures from the previous step is easily fixed since the whole face is remade! I also cut up tons of rubble to make a rocky bed next to the mountain and show a beat up entrance way. Dwarfs rarely have time to fix their ancestor's masonry work since they spend so much time fighting off Goblins & Trolls. You'll also notice I put on the doors & stone floors here, this is also the time you will fit on any extra stuff needed to make more detailed entrances & walkways.
Step 5: Base Coat Painting
I used an acrylic paint from the hobby store to get a base coat of grey (just a medium-light grey). You should avoid normal model paints here, it's just too much time and money to do that. Instead get a big tube of acrylic canvas paint and go to town with it, get as much coverage as possible.
*** If you use spray paint to prime the foam it will melt and look bad. Foam reacts to the chemicals in spray paint, so don't bother unless it is specifically made for foam. Just use a big brush and acrylic paints to avoid accidental damages.
You'll notice I have blue painter's tape around the edges to keep them clean until I'm done with all the painting & gluing!
Step 6: String Lights
I cut some holes through the back of the walls to fit some lights in the mine & main entry hall. The lights were strung in such a way to get a little candle-light glowing effect out of these areas.
You can be more elaborate and string up some searchlights or some other ambient lighting rather easily in this way.
Step 7: Varnish, Drybrush, Flock, & Finishign Details
I used wood varnish and watered it down a bit. Covered the whole thing and set it out to dry for 24 hours. It formed a dense seal around the whole display. Working like a thick wash. I then used the same acrylic paint to get a base dry brush color on. Then used citadel paints to get colors closer to my army's base colors.
*** Varnish is really harsh on the nose and should be used in a well ventilated area and the whole board needs to be left outside to air out for the full 24 hours at least. I made this display the night before going to a GT and the thing stank something fierce, I was a bit light-headed driving with it in the car for 5 hours.
I used sand / gravel over the whole board and put it in the corners where foam pieces didn't fit perfectly. I used a wash over the sand and then dry brushed it like I do my model's bases.
Some grass flock was added to cover any additional accidents and to further match it with the army. Trees were also added, just generic model railroad trees. The finished product looks like this.
* Obviously this is a fantasy display, but it will work just fine for a 40K display too. I could just as easily built a landing pad and Heavy Bolter turrets guarding the mountain citadel of a space Marine legion.
Hope this mountain display tutorial was helpful, because bringing a beautifully themed army to a Grand Tournament is half the reason for going.