Building a Display Board

By: Kitbasha Jay

This week boys and girls we’re going to be building a display board. I had some terrain supplies kicking around the workshop this week and decided to just get creative for the sake of creativity. I have broken up a large amount of cork over the past couple weeks to make the scenic bases tutorial we did on the channel. With all those random left overs I thought I would build a display tray just for fun.

The display tray is one of the last elements we think of adding to an army. We spend most of our focus on the miniatures, and rightly so. After this we want awesome terrain to play on. So that naturally becomes the second priority. After we have these things in place, it really completes an army to have it displayed on an awesome scenic tray.

This week I want to show you all how easy it is to make a simple display tray for your army with very little effort and materials. The next time you go to a tournament your army will look that much better. Trust me. It’ll help your presentation scores a lot.

The first thing we need is a board. In this case I had a small piece of 3/4″ MDF left over from a past project. This particular piece is roughly 18″x19″ and so was too small to use for anything else. I figured it would make the perfect base for a display tray. Not to large but small enough that it can be transported easily.

Once I have my base I decided to take a broken plastic container that I had cracked a while ago by accidentally squishing it too hard. Cheap dollarstore plastic…so I figured it would make the perfect shape for a hidden bunker.

After hot gluing the container to the board where I wanted it I took the remaining cork I had from our little scenic bases tutorial. I glued all the pieces in a wall that I built up around the bunker leaving parts of it exposed.

I also used the cork to create a small ditch in front of the bunker to add a little more personality to the piece. I figured I can use the clear resin I had left over from the swamp I built for the Jungle Fever Table to create a river. Once I had all my cork pieces glued where I wanted them I painted the entirety of the cork with PVA glue to ensure that it will remain solid for painting on top of.

Cork with PVA coating

This took about 24 hours to properly harden. Once it was fully dry I then apply spackle. I used the spackle to coat the bunker so that it appears to be concrete. The same way we did in our Jungle Bunker Tutorial.

I also use it to smooth out the transition between layers of cork and the MDF base. This creates the illusion of dirt build up on top of the rock layers. I also wiped some random lumps of it around the base to create an uneven appearance across the surface of the piece.

Display board after spackling

I left this for another 24 hours to dry, just to make sure that it was fully solid before applying the sand. Once it was fully hardened I applied a layer of PVA glue to the entirety of the display board. On top of this was sprinkled a generous coating of play sand.

Display board after play sand

Pro Tip: Place a sheet of parcel paper or a drop cloth under your piece before you sprinkle the sand. Once you shake the display board off, all the loose sand that shakes loose can be easily collected in the paper and funnelled back into the bag of play sand to be used again.

You won’t be able to paint the entire board with glue before applying your sand. By the time you’ve painted the opposite corner you started in, the original corner will be dry. Divide and Conquer. You may have to do 4 or 5 applications before you cover the entire piece in sand. I think I did this one in roughly quarters. So about 4 tries to get it fully covered.

Again I waited 24 hours for the glue to dry and it was time to start painting. Just as we’ve done in the past, I painted the entire piece with a thick base coat of Espresso rust paint. This is my security blanket. I love using rust paint because it seals everything in nicely and provides the board with a nice durable layer that I can begin to build on top of.

Display board with basecoat

But that will have to be saved for Wednesday. I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson for today. As you can see it’s really not difficult at all to make an awesome looking display board for your miniatures. On Wednesday I’ll show you some simple ways to paint and finish this piece. Also a few weeks from now there will be a YouTube video on the display board on our channel. So stay tuned for that.

Do you guys use display boards? If you don’t, will you now that you’ve seen how simple it can be? If so, what techniques do you use? What awesome stuff have you guys created? Let me know by dropping a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Until our next Encounter!

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