As any hardened war gamer will know, when you first start out with this hobby you're happy to just roll out a mat to play on, and use empty tissue boxes as hills to make it interesting. Then, as you get deeper into it, investing a lot of time and effort and money into your army, spending hours and hours painting your models to get them just right, you realise you ought to be investing a little bit more time in your terrain.
Such was the case in our house. The only real investment we made in our gaming board in the early days was a 6' x 4' sheet of MDF (cut neatly into two halves for ease of storage) and the old Games Workshop battlemat. Not long after, we bought a couple of the hills and some trees. That lasted us for a good few years, but once we'd switched our focus from Warhammer Fantasy Battle across to Warhammer 40k, we decided the lush green battlefield we had didn't really cut it for the gritty battlefields of the 41st millenium!
It was about the same sort of time that Games Workshop brought out the Realm of Battle board, so after much debate, we eventually invested in one. It was left unpainted for quite a while, as we couldn't decide how to do it. Plus, a lot of our models were unpainted as well, so it didn't seem out of place to be playing on an unpainted board. More recently, however, we've found ourselves able to field almost full armies of painted models, and the unpainted scenery was starting to jar a little. So back in October we decided to start painting it.
We spent ages online looking at the various different ways people had painted theirs. We eventually decided on a brown colour scheme, a sort of desert(ish) wasteland theme. We did the base layers, but then it sat half painted for a couple of months while we figured out how to finish it off. A couple of weeks ago, we sat down in front of the telly and got out the paints again, and after several hours of endless drybrushing, it is now almost complete.
It makes such a difference having it properly painted. It's not quite finished, as we still need to varnish it and finish off the skull pits with water effects. So it's currently living on the dining room table, as we can't put it away until we've protected the paint job.
It was a bit of trial and error to get the colour scheme to work, but here's a run down of how we did it in the end.
1. We basecoated the entire board with black paint (we used a spray can of black we bought in Wickes, as it was slightly cheaper than the Games Workshop Chaos Black spray), and then sprayed the whole thing brown, leaving the exposed rock edges black. The brown spray we used was from Halfords, their own brand Camouflage Spray Paint in Brown - ultra matt. Lovely coverage - we used about one and a half cans for the whole board.
2. The rock sections were all painted with Adeptus Battlegrey from the Citadel foundation paint set.
3. Rock sections drybrushed with Astronomicon Grey from the Citadel foundation paint set.
4. The brown areas of the board were drybrushed with yellow acrylic paint. Rather than use up the expensive-in-large-quantities Citadel paints, we bought a tube of Galeria acrylic paint from Hobbycraft in the colour Yellow Ochre. Using 1" flat brushes, we managed to do all six panels in less than the running time of Man of Steel. The skulls in the pits were heavily drybrushed with Bleached Bone Citadel paint, then two layers of Thraka Green Citadel wash was applied. We still need to go back over them and drybrush the very top edges with Bleached Bone, before filling the pits with Woodland Scenics Realistic Water.
5. The skulls and bones found in piles around the rocks on the board were painted with Bleached Bone, and then washed with Agrax Earthshade Citadel wash.
The craters (set from Games Workshop) were painted to match the battleboard. Undercoated in black, sprayed with the same brown spray and then heavily drybrushed with the yellow ochre. To define them a little more, we chose prominent sections of the crater edges and drybrushed them as rocks, using the same combination of grey paints as above. We then went over them with Scorched Brown Citadel paint, drybrushing inside the craters to darken down the interior of the crater.
To properly see how it looked, we set up a mock battle on the board using only fully painted models. It's a bit one sided, as we have painted far more Chaos Space Marines than we have Imperial Fists!
I still have a fair few bits of scenery work to do; I've got some homemade pieces that haven't been painted yet, and I need to sort out the bases for my Imperial Fists and that second Heldrake. The buildings already on the board in the shot above are not quite finished either, lots of little frustrating details to do, but I will share progress on those so far in another post.