Friday, July 7, 2017

Foam Board Tabletop Terrain Part 1 of 2

Tabletop Terrain Part 1

Today at work I found some 2 inch thick green foam board. What can I use that for? Of course! Tabletop terrain with a grid. Now it won't be as useful as the Paizo fold up flip mats or the Chessex wet erase battlemat but it should look cool. So how do I make one? First we'll need some tools.

Razor Knife (the kind with a really long blade)
Drywall square (or any square thats at least 2ft. long)
Finetip Sharpie Marker
Cigarrette Lighter
Hot Knife (I got one at Michaels for $16)
Unfaced Foamboard (usually found near the building insulation at your local hardware store)
Paint & Paint Brushes

Lets get started. First use the square to cut the foamboard into a 2ft. x 2ft. square. It doesn't have to be perfect. You're not going to win any awards for making a perfect square. Make multiple passes with the knife and keep the blade at a low angle. This took me 10 minutes


Next we need to make some lines for the 1 inch grid. Use the Sharpie to draw lines.


Use the square to mark and draw lines every inch and after 14 minutes you should have a grid that looks like this.


Now we can move on to the Hot Knife. I probably shouldn't have to mention this but don't touch the blade while its turned on. The Hot Knife is essentially a soldering iron with an X-acto knife blade attachment. The blade is very hot. Also, don't touch metal objects with the blade while its turned on. I found out that when starting the cut, you should pull the blade somewhat fast and as you get about 6 inches across you can start to slow down. The blade is really hot at first but as it contacts the foam it will lose some heat requiring you to move slower. So go ahead and follow the lines you drew with the Hot Knife. Agian, don't worry about staying perfectly on the lines. In fact, I think it looks better when it's not perfect. This took me another 15 minutes.


We can move on to treating the edges of the board now. I saw this video on Youtube and decided to give it a try. Thanks to the dude over at Drunkens & Dragons we can just use a cigarette lighter on the edges to make it look icy. At 3 minutes per side this process should take 12 to 15 minutes, maybe longer to let the lighter cool down a little.


After roughly an hour's worth of work you should have a good start to a home made gridded board.


One last thing. Dont get this shit unless you have a hot wire cutter. It flakes apart and makes an unberable mess of everything.

Next time I'll go through how I paint my new battle board.