[Surprise Attack!] Portable Game Table, Part Two: Beautificationing

What’s up, slats! 
When we left off last time we’d just finished building a few 1 foot by 4 foot pieces of pink board, and a couple clampy pieces to hold it all together. Looks like butt, now let’s make it better. 

Before we go any further with this, go ahead and trim off some of the ends of the pink parts so they slide into the clampy bits better. 
No one’s got a joke about that? Seriously? Fucking lame, guys and gals. I’m a little dissapointed. I thought this was a party not a wake.

You’re also going to want to brush some household latex primer on any parts that aren’t factory pre-primed. Then spray or brush on black paint all over the bad mutha. Shouldn’t take too long.

Okay, now we need to figure out what this board is actually going to look like. If you’re balling on a budget check out Wargames Vault’s Dave Graffam section and look for his “Spaceport Tiles” download. I won’t give you a link to the exact destination because he has a lot of cool stuff you should browse through, but I will tell you the price: $1.95. That ain’t bad. You get three different types of tile, but the beauty is the PDF files have customizable layers so you can change the colors and add little vents and symbols and whatnot. Super cool. Have a look.

Slightly more expensive at $11.50 is Worldworks Games’  “Streets of Titan” set. The Worldworks stuff is a different beast: You don’t get to customize three tiles, you get about 50 tiles which aren’t customizable but can be arranged in different setups to make sci-fi city streets. It’s a dark sci-fi, not shiny, think along the lines of Blade Runner. That’s awesome, it will perfectly fit my industrial terrain binge from last month.

If shiny sci-fi is more your thing they offer a modern city street download, and what’s really cool about this one is there’s three varieties: “Clean”, “Abandoned”, and “Apocalypse”. These all come in the same download, so you’re not paying extra or some bullshit like that. All of them come with versions that have grids, or no grids, and all kinds of papercraft scenery elements that I don’t have the patience to cut out, but maybe you do.

Not to go on a random tangent, but I thought it’s worth mentioning real quick that if you’re one of the weirdos who thinks Hawk Wargames charges too much for their Drop Zone Commander terrain here’s an easy remedy: Five different download versions of skyscrapers. Yeah, it’s scaled for 28mm but print at 40 or 50% and you’re solid. Just promise me you’ll shoot at them with some machine guns because, seriously, we have no clue what will happen and we’re more than a little curious. Take some videos for us.

So I printed off 64 tiles of the Titan set and cut them out with a 6″ by 6″ square Flames of War artillery template. This is a tedious, mindless, and lengthy task so I recommend watching some Netflix at the same time or you’ll lose a few sanity points and have nothing left when Cthulhu rises. You don’t want that. Then I layered the pink board with spray adhesive (Loctite works best and you won’t even need a whole can) and stuck the tiles to them. Don’t worry too much about designing the perfect realistic background: It’s mostly going to be covered by terrain, so just get a nice backdrop. The board went for a few test drives at my house and the local game store, Hobbit Hobbies.

Shiny objects are great for distracting worthy foes.

Then my two year old did what two year olds do and ripped a bunch of the tiles off. This was the same week he pushed my open minis case off the table and chipped a bunch of my sexy new Infinity figures.

By the fickle blessings of some Dark God of Chaos, he is still alive.

Trying to find a silver lining in this catastrophe, I decided to experiment with different techniques of applying and sealing the tiles. I printed off a bunch of the spaceport tiles on cardstock, again, cut out 64 of them, again, and brushed the board down with lacquer from the hardware store.

I stuck them on, let them dry, then brushed more layers of lacquer on.

They looked pretty good, but after drying the corners started curling up.

So I tried a quick repair job by gluing the corners that curled up and letting them dry with a weight on them. This was taking far too long and, for reasons I will reveal at a later date, I needed the table ready before forever came around. Also I’m conducting experiments here so I just wanted to try a bunch of random shit. See below.

So I printed and cut 64 tiles…again…I know what you’re thinking and the answer is “Yes, I print these at work”. The nice bonus of this is that we have a laser printer so the colors don’t run when they get wet. This time I used regular paper instead of cardstock and soaked the tiles in a bucket of lacquer, then applied them to the board like they were wallpaper. This worked really well except for the part where they were still see through in some spots even after they dried. Oh, fudge.

I realized I would have to take things to the next level. Time to get hella extreme to the max, dawg.

I stayed late at work and printed off a set of the Titan/Blade Runner tiles and cut them out, then taped them together on the floor of my office. Note that there are four assembled and taped pieces pushed together here when the picure was taken, it’s not actually one big square. This will make sense in later pictures and, yes, I know I’m a big dummy for photographing it like this.

Anyways, I took my four subcomponent pieces and put them through the giant laminator we use for maps. What? You say you don’t have a giant laminator for maps at your house? Shame on you. Until you do, there’s always Staples/Office Depot/Whatever. Anyways, when you’ve done that go ahead and spray the picture side with a quick blast of dullcote to take the sheen off it, it looks weird if you don’t.

I took my laminated pieces and flipped them upside down. Now you can get a better idea of what they actually look like.

I sprayed the backside with black spraypaint. This is because no matter how awesome you are at taping you’re going to have tiny cracks between tiles and the pink of the board will show through. Spraypaint the whole thing, I only stopped because it started raining out of nowhere. It does that a lot here in North Carolina.

Oh shit! Rain! Put the camera down and bring me indoors!

After this I put the pieces on the boards and taped them down. Once I assembled the board and made sure everything lined up okay I re-taped any pieces that needed to be adjusted and lifted up one end of the pieces away from the board. I spread out some liquid nails on the boards and pressed the laminated pieces on to it. Once it dried I lifted up the other end and did the same thing. DON’T lift the entire laminated piece and glue it at once or you’ll move it out of alignment. One unexpected benefit of laminating the tiles is that you can draw on them with dry-erase markers to mark deployment zones etc… and just wipe it off when you want it gone. Genius. Another bit of genius, you may have noticed there’s two sides to the boards? Well I did one side as dark industrial, and the other side is sci-fi spaceport tiles. If I want a different background I just flip the table over. You may be wondering why the bolts sticking out of one side don’t gouge the table when I do that: It’s because I put rubberized screw protectors on them, available at any local hardware store.

That’s all there is to it. Here’s some shots of the new table in action along with the fruits of last month’s Great Terrain Binge of 2014. Collective opinions of it are that it looks “fucking badass, dude” so it’s worth having a go at it if you’re in the market for a new table, or just want one you can toss in your car and bring down to the store because those stupid Magic nerds are hogging all the good ones. They’ll get their comeuppance, mark my words.

We’re big on plaid in these parts.

This week on KHOP Pirate Radio, we bring you this Black Sabbath homage and winner of the Awesome Song//Horrible Video Contest. This is the actual, no shit, official music video provided by the record label. Enjoy it…while not enjoying it?…I’m so confused right now…

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