I wanted to make a generic and modular swamp board that could be used for more than one game system. This board will be a great setting for games like Warmachine,
Malifaux, and various pulp games.
This tutorial will not be giving you precise measurements. Instead it will provide you with the general knowledge of how to make a board like this one. This will allow you to make a board of whatever size best suits your game.
- Sharp Hobby Knife
- Hobby Saw
- Wire Cutters
- Various Gauge Wire
- Hot Glue
- Wood Glue
- Foam Board
- Popsicle Sticks
- Aves Apoxie Sculpt
- Sand Paper
- Polyester Batting
- Clear Casting Resin
- Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement, Foliage Clusters, Dead Foliage and Fine Turf
- Skull crafts Vegetation and Leaf Scatter
- Scenic Express Dark Adirondack Blend and Dead Fall Debris
- Rocks and Branches
1. This board will be a 4X4, made up of two 2X4 sheets of expanded polystyrene. The board will be comprised of land forms and a low tide swamp. Place the two sheets side by side. Start by drawing out where the land forms will be. If you want your board to be modular, make a template so the pieces line up correctly.
2. Use a hot wire cutter and cut out your land forms .
3. Bevel the edges of the board. Make sure miniatures can stand on the edges and not fall over.
4. Sand down the edges to remove any rough spots.
5. Glue the land forms to the board.
6. Fill any gaps in the board with Woodland Scenics Foam Putty.
The putty goes on as a paste and dries hard. If your boards don’t line up properly you can use the putty to build up the edges. Apply the putty to the seam between the land form and the board.
7. Sand down the foam putty when it is dry.
8. Make little islands to go into the middle of the swamp. Cut these out of
foam, sand down the edges and glue them down.
Making the Trees
1. Start by making the armature. Use different gauge wires. For my trees, I mixed .030” and .062” gauge wires. Cut 15-20 pieces of wire, each 20” long. Bundle these wires together.
2. Start by making the trunk of the tree. Wrap 2-3 pieces of wire around the bundle. Keep wrapping until your trunk is 5” long.
3. Next, make your first branch. Do this by grouping 3-4 wires together. Take one of the wires and start wrapping around the bundle. Continue this process and make your branches. Snip off any excess wire.
4. Continue working up the tree, making your branches as you go. Add more wire if you need to.
5. When you are done, shape your tree by bending the trunk and the branches.
6. Next, bulk out the tree by adding Aves Apoxie Sculpt. Apoxie Sculpt is a fantastic 2 part modeling compound. Mix equal parts A&B and apply it to the armature.
7. Keep your fingers wet to prevent the putty from sticking to them. Work the putty into the wire. Make the base of the tree thick and apply less putty to the top of the tree and the branches.
8. Use a sculpting tool to add detail. Be sure to make the surface of the tree lumpy and uneven.
9. Add texture to the trunk by pressing a nylon wash cloth against the wet putty. Make sure the wash cloth is wet to prevent it from sticking to the putty.
10. Set the trees aside to dry.
11. Figure out the placement of the trees on your board. Cluster them together or spread them out. Keep game playability in mind.
12. Once you have decided where the trees will go, make a hole in the board for each tree and place the trees in them. Use more Apoxie Sculpt to bulk out the bottom of each tree and to contour them to fit the ground.
1. Figure out where you want your docks to be. Cut out an approximately sized piece of foam board. Make sure your docks are at least 2” wide to accommodate miniature bases.
2. Line the sides of the foam board by gluing thin wooden strips along the edge.
3. Add posts to the dock. Cut 1 ½” posts out of bass wood or balsa wood. Glue these to the sides of the dock. Weather the edges of the post by scraping a sharp hobby knife against them.
4. Add planks to the dock. Cut popsicle sticks 2” long. Use a hobby saw to scribe wood lines into the sticks. Glue the sticks to the foam board.
5. To add more interest to your docks, vary the lengths and widths of each stick.
6. Glue the docks to the board.
Rocks and Fallen Trees
1. Go to the park and look for small branches and rocks to add to your board. Clean up the branches and glue these to the board.
2. I like to add these items to the shoreline section of the board.
3. Now cover the entire board with sand. Start by painting wood glue over the entire board. While the glue is still wet, apply the sand. When the glue is dry, dump off the excess sand.
Painting and Flocking the Board
1. Prime the board black. When dry, start painting the board in a dark browntone and dry brush up to a lighter brown. Paint the trees, rocks, docks and fallen logs too.
2. At this time, paint any additional elements you added to the board. For my board, I added crocodiles and a turtle.
3. Apply a coat of wood glue to the land sections of the board. While the glue is still wet, sprinkle Woodland Scenics Fine Turf all over the surface.
Glue small bushes of Woodland Scenics Dead Foliage and Foliage Clusters along the coast line.
4. Add little plants by gluing down Skullcrafts Vegetation to the board.
5. Next, apply Scenic Express Dark Adirondack Blend and Dead Fall Debris to the board.
6. Seal all of the flocking material to the board by spraying Woodland Scenic Cement. This item is similar to a watered down PVA glue.
Finishing the Trees
1. Glue small tufts of Woodland Scenics Foliage Clusters to the branches of the trees.
2. Glue Spanish Moss to the branches of the trees. To make the Spanish Moss, first start by cutting small 3” sections of polyester batting. You can find polyester batting at sewing stores.
3. Tease the batting so the material is not so clustered together.
4. Paint wood glue onto the batting and stretch it out.
5. Set it aside to dry.
6. When dry paint it a grey green.
1. Make a dam and seal off anywhere the resin will be able to leak out. To make the damn cut long strips of plastic and glue them to the side of the board. Apply mold release to the plastic.
2. Make the swamp by using any clear casting resin. Follow your directions carefully and be sure to do this in a well ventilated area.
3. Add Woodland Scenics Fine Turf and Skullcrafts Leaf Scatter to your resin.
4. Mix this in well. It will become suspended in the resin and look cool.
1. Instead of having your trees fixed to the board, you can make them removable. To do this use PVC pipe fittings. Cut a small ¾” piece of pipe and glue it to the bottom of each tree. Glue the appropriate sized pipe fitting into the board.
2. Add variety and better playability by making bridges. Make the bridges the same wall as the dock.
Following these simple steps will allow you to make any swamp or body of water for your gaming boards. Have fun!
This Tau Bastion is lighted up with the new easy to use Powered Play Gaming Alpha Kit.
The kit is easy to use and only took 1 minute to install.
My buddy just received his Reaper Bones Kickstarter miniatures and we were so impressed that we decided to share some pictures with you.
There are 236 miniatures that came with the set, which consisted of fantasy, modern, sci-fi, glow in the dark and scenic figs.
Review- Powered Play Gaming Alpha Kit
Powered Play Gaming all started because a father wanted to see a smile on a 6 year olds face. CEO, Chris Wessling wanted to light up his sons tanks and “it needed to be
simple enough for him to operate and yet durable enough to handle the abuse of a toddler” said co-founder Chris Michaels.
After the completion of a successful Kickstarter, the two are on their way to supplying hobbyists with simple to use lighting effects.
The Alpha Pack is their first kit. It is highly versatile, compact and can easily be installed in minutes.
Currently, each pack comes with:
(1) 3mm Red LED String
(1) 3mm Green LED String
(1) 3mm Blue LED String
(1) 5mm Cool White LED String
(1) 5mm Yellow LED String
(1) 9 Volt Battery Connector
(1) Circuit board
The Alpha kit is well designed. According to Michaels “we spent over a year in development, and gave out over 150 to modelers worldwide for feedback.” The time put into
product development shows.
The Alpha kit is very simple to use. Each Led string is composed of two 8” long strips which are connected at the middle. When fully stretched out it has a 16” spread,
which is more than enough to install into any model.
The PC board is smaller than a quarter and can easily fit into most applications.
The “plug and play” design makes it easy to swap out different size and color LEDS.
I wish this product was available many projects ago when I had to light up a house. There is no need to learn crazy looking LED schematics, having to buy LED’s,
resistors, special tools etc… Everything is done and ready to go. Simply glue or tape the wires into place and turn on the battery.
Additional LEDs strings are available. They have an approximate 2000 hour life span and come in packs of 2. The 3mm colors are red, orange, yellow, teal, green, blue,
violet, pink, ultra violet, and white. The 5mm colors are white and yellow. The bigger size makes them best suited for headlights and flood lights. Eventually, the 5mm
LEDs will be offered in a “Spot Light Kit”.
In October 2013, Powered Play will be releasing a micro controller which can be plugged into an Alpha Kit. This product will be pre-programmed to make your Alpha kit
blink, flash, strobe and pulse. In addition it will allow you to string together multiple Alpha kits allowing you to have up to 12 strings powered off a single 9-volt
battery. The micro controller is also programmable. A code library will be available on the Powered Play website allowing you to “hack your models” says Michaels.
The future is bright for Powered Play gaming. They are currently developing a Spot Light kit, a smoke and a sound effects kit. They are also partnering with Secret Weapon
Miniatures and will be producing powered miniature bases.
I highly recommend picking up an Alpha kit. It is so easy to use and to install. Not only can you light up your models, but you can easily light up any scenic piece you
Some examples of what the lights can do. Pictures courtesy of Powered Play Gaming.
Review- Ziterdes Trench Works
Although I’m fully capable of making my own terrain, I’ve grown fond of buying pre-
made pieces. Sometimes I just have too many projects going on and a company like
Ziterdes produces quality products that can go on my tabletop.
Ziterdes is a subsidiary of the famous NOCH GmbH & Co. KG. Their name is derived
from Mr. Wilhelm Ziegler-a guy who came to them with the idea of
making gaming terrain. Ziterdes stands for Ziegler Terrain Design.
All of the pieces come pre-painted and
are cast out of rigid
urethane foam which makes them very light weight and durable. Ziterdes has
approximately 250 different scenic items designed for use with 25-28mm gaming.
There are several different trench pieces made by Ziterdes. They can all be found in the
All of the pieces are interchangeable and designed to be used together. This allows for
numerous configurations and can fit any section of the battlefield.
Each part is a one-piece cast and it is amazing how well the foam captures the detail.
fractures in the wooden beams to the smallest stones are all visible.
The trenches are very basic in look and design. The ground is dirt and the walls are
shored up with wooden beams. This allows for the trench to be used in almost any
setting. It will work well as a Khador defensive line, a trench in WW2, in the dark future
and much more.
The trenches are well designed and will accommodate troop-sized and slightly larger
The fronts and backs of each trench piece is not overly steep and are also not overly
cluttered with debris, so models can easily stand on it.
Straight, T-Section, and End Caps
These are the basic pieces which will allow you to design the trench in any manner you
see fit. The more you have of these the better.
I like terrain that has a narrative and these pieces have it.
The T- Section measures 7″X8″, and has craters and broken beams along the face which
shows that this section has seen action.
The Straight section measures 7″X7″.
The end caps are very useful, and allow us to complete the trench in areas we want it to
Position Lynx is a lightly fortified terrain piece. It is one of the only pieces in the trench
line that has sand bags. There are also an oil drum and craters on this piece. It is large
enough to hold a squad of troops or a heavy weapons team. This piece measures 8″X9″.
Vault 13 is the highlight of the trench pieces. It is a WW2 concrete bunker reminiscent
of the Atlantikwall. Just like all of the other Ziterdes pieces it comes pre-painted and
ready to play right out of the packaging. The detail is good and I really like the fact that
the concrete mold lines on the bunker show up well.
The bunker is very gaming friendly since its roof is removable.
The bunker can house up to 9 figures on small bases and is 8″X8″.
There are other pieces in the trench line which are not shown here. There is a ruined
bunker called Bunker 33, angled pieces, and tank traps.
Below are pictures of the trench painted.
The trench collection is a great set to have. I recommend picking a set of these up if
you find them. If you don’t see Ziterdes products at your local gaming shop ask them to
bring them in through ACD Distribution.
The trench line can be seen here