A desert without sand?
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Thread: A desert without sand?

  1. #1

    Default A desert without sand?

    Hi everybody

    I\'m currently working on a modular gaming board to fit with my Tau army and I have almost completed the first four 2\'x2\' modules. This looks like this:

    The problem right now is what I am going to cover the foam with. As I\'m building a desert, I had initially considered using very fine sand, but another gamer told me he had very bad experiences with that - apparently you end up with a surface just like sandpaper which makes it almost impossible to move movement trays, and the surface will damage most models if they topple over. Has anybody out there any good ideas for alternatives?

  2. #2


    Here\'s one possibility. Spray it in a base color with a non-foam eating spray paint (much quicker than a brush). Testors and MasterCraft are two brands in the US that don\'t eat foam. I hear the new Kylon H2o stuff doesn\'t either but I haven\'t personally verified this yet.

    You can use railroad (Woodland Scenics is one brand) flocking instead of sand. It will be more expensive than regular sand you can find almost anywhere outdoors, but this will insure the safety of your models and be easier to move on. It also has the side benefit of making your boards a bit lighter.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3


    Might also be able to use flour instead of sand. That way it could be spread around like sand would, and should give a nice texture. I\'d do the glue first, then go over with the flour, letting it clump a bit. Then I\'d seal it before trying to paint it. Course, I\'m just talking off the top of my head here.

    I\'d almost do the same with flock. Maybe try to wet it down so it isn\'t as \"poofy\".

  4. #4


    Shop around on the net I am sure you can get sand coloured static grass, Woodland Scenics do a static grass in a wild honey colour that might even suit what you are after.

  5. #5


    you could seel the foam then rough coat it


  6. #6
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Wet & Dry paper glued onto the Polystyrene.
    Gives a good surface and is relativley easy to cut.

  7. #7


    I\'ve only seen this once at a store in London Ontario (about 2 hours north of here) and it wasn\'t a table with nearly as much detail. This store had taken all of their tables and covered them with a thick layer of varnish of some sort. The tables were covered with some form of texture then painted, then this varnish or whatever was on top and was so thick that it made the tables smooth. It made sliding minis very easy and I would assume would make the tables near indestructable. Now it didn\'t look amazing, but really didn\'t look bad either. I just don\'t know how it would work on a more varried texture.

  8. #8


    go to a model railway shop and by lots of scatter.
    once it\'s glued on and the glue is dry make a pva cement mix (pva watered down so that it is as thin as water) and spray it all over the scatter.
    then paint using house paints as they are dirt cheap.

    it\'s how loads of people make decent quality boards that are robust and won\'t break the bank.

  9. #9


    seeing that you are making it for a tau army i assume you have relatively easy access to gw

    why don\'t u try and cover the board with pva so that spary doesn\'t destroy it and cover it with gw spray rough coat

    http://uk.games-workshop.com/storefront/store.uk?do=Individual&code=99209999028&orignav=30 0810

    you can only get this in the uk so u may not be able to get it but if you can i think it would be worth a look/try

  10. #10


    rough coat is expensive, you can cover a far parger area with scatter bought from modellers.
    far cheeper than gw\'s flock as well.

  11. #11


    You could also just rough up the foam and glue small scaterrings of sand and rocks to make it look more deserty.

  12. #12


    I don\'t know if you can get this in Denmark, but you may want to try an online distributor? Used this a few times, with great results.

    Krylon® Make It Stone!® Textured Paints

    We just based our foam w/ non-corrosive spray primer; used the Krylon on top (about 2 thin coats); then got a couple of big brushes, a small can of cheap house paint, beer and let the drybrushing commence!! Good luck and great modeling!


  13. #13


    Thanks guys, you\'re awesome. It\'s great to have so much advice to pick and choose from, so I think I will make my first experiments within the next week or so.

    Being somewhat economically inclined (ie cheap) I tend towards generulpoleaxe\'s idea and hope that the flock won\'t harden too much with the PVA added on top. However, I think I will also go see the local painters and Arts&Crafts and see if they have something like Krylon (thanks, Citizen V). The only problem there is that I will have to fill some small irregularities in the board that I had expected the sand to cover. And then there is the small matter of the price, of course.

    Thanks a lot for the advice.

  14. #14


    Originally posted by Citizen V
    I don\'t know if you can get this in Denmark, but you may want to try an online distributor? Used this a few times, with great results.

    Krylon� Make It Stone!� Textured Paints

    We just based our foam w/ non-corrosive spray primer; used the Krylon on top (about 2 thin coats); then got a couple of big brushes, a small can of cheap house paint, beer and let the drybrushing commence!! Good luck and great modeling!

    This idea is Teh WINNAR!!!! I used to use this stuff all the time. I only had one problem with it, and that was that it wasn\'t textured enough for what I wanted. By the sound of it, that\'s actually what you\'re looking for!

    This \"make it stone\" stuff should go over real easy. Just be sure to seal the foam with a thin coat of PVA first.

  15. #15


    yeah i have used the fake stone stuff in the past. it doesn\'t leave it especially textured but the flecks make it look more textured than it is, it doesn\'t set rock hard and it doesn\'t melt the polystyrene iirc (although i would check it first!!)

  16. #16


    lot of good advise there - looking forward to seeing the result.

  17. #17


    This might be too little too late, but in-scale, sand would be pretty smooth. I\'ve just used an irregular surface (contoured GS) to represent beach sand on a mini\'s base. Painted right, it is convincing. So I\'d say go with the \"smooth\" options :)

  18. #18


    Ok, an update:

    I have made my first experiment on a separate hill that is supposed to complement the board. I tried to go for a smooth option so went for a Krylony idea with a mixture of ordinary wall paint and filler - ie homemade textured paint. I had already sanded the sides of the hills so they were relatively smooth, but I didn\'t bother to do anything about the top which in the end turned out to be quite a mistake. Here\'s the result:

    I think the sides came out all right, but the lines of the foam are too visible on the top. Still, let me know what you think and please say so if you have any ideas that may keep me from having to sand the entire board (I\'ll end up with foam lungs if there\'s any such thing.)

  19. #19


    To get a sand look with out the foam showing through, you can cover the board with PVA and then apply a layer of toilet tissue. See the link below for what it looks like, on 2 of 9 pages.

    http://www.flamesofwar.com/Default.aspx?tabid=126&forumid=52&tpage=2&view=Top ic&postid=128624

  20. #20


    if you want to coat the pink foam use wood glue. After it drys you can paint it or add some type of flocking. After that you can seal it with any type of sealent with out it ruining the foam.

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