Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Terrain Board Spectacular Part I

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In addition to stuffing myself full of poultry today I've also decided to make the most of the long weekend and finish off a project that has been an albatross ( or perhaps a turkey) around my neck. Namely my modular terrain boards.

Over the past months I chipped away at these so some progress has been made since I last posted on them. All of the boards have been sanded to give a more irregular surface. I really dislike the billiard table smooth look on my boards so I try to add some features to it. This is pretty easy with large boards or ones that can stand alone. Its a bit trickier with modular ones like this particularly at this scale.

The boards at the start of the day.
Normally I'd work the insulation foam over with a heatgun to make some dents in it but I have no idea where my heatgun is at the moment and I wanted to try a different and much messier technique. I wrapped a tennis ball with sandpaper and attacked the boards. The art in it is trying to get it to look like the real undulations of open ground while at the same time making sure that things like buildings can still be placed on it without looking all wonky and that it will still join up with other boards. While I was at it I also carved out my rock faces on the hill sections.

I'll do some more fine carving work on the rock faces once I get some spackle on the boards.
This past week I've been inspired by looking at others work on modular board sections, particularly the fantastic river sections done by the Mad Guru at his Maiwand Day Blog. One thing that I wanted to use was the wooden rails on the sides. In the past I have always had problems with modular boards not really matching up at the joins. I thought this technique could give me a bit more precision to the edges.

Unfortunately, at this stage I don't think I can replicate the integral use of molding for the edges. Plus I'm on a budget with this project so I decided to use some flooring material I had sitting around since we remodelled part of our house. This is 3/8" plywood that got ripped down to proper width and then cut to size. I then gang cut the proper notches out for the roads and the hill sides. All of these are getting glued onto the outside of the boards with Gorilla Glue to frame them out.

Supervisor T inspects the makeshift workstation. 

All glued together and off to the drying rack. 

So that's where they stand right now. Tomorrow we'll see what progress I can make around the rest of the holiday activities.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Brian and the boards are looking great - you have a tortoise too, I've longed for one of my own for many a year.

    1. Thanks Michael! Herr T is not actually ours. It's a long story but we are fostering him for the winter from a reptile rescue organization. I too have always wanted a tortoise and so jumped at the chance.

  2. Looking good. Look forward to seeing the next update.

    1. Thank you Mark. I'm hoping I can get them mostly done by Sunday.

  3. The turtle model looks quite life like.

    1. I won't go into the hours of work that it took to getting him looking that good.


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