The way the miniatures are painted, the way the display board is constructed, even the details themselves, all play a role in creating a convincing theme. The theme is vital for creating greater immersion.
Most army display boards come with a commission miniature project, allowing us to build and design at the same time. However, even when that’s not the case, it’s still perfectly doable!
Key Project Requirements
- The display board needed to break down for traveling,
- the setting was post apocalyptic “nuclear winter”,
- and a specific color palette of blue greys and reds.
Planning and Theme
We began with simple concept sketches.
Sketches help us visualize and helps the client see what we are imagining. Our ideas are built around World War 2 battle scenes from various movies.
The theme encapsulates that sense of struggle, exhaustion, and determination/desperation.
We presented three different sketches: trenches, oil field power generators and a bombed city.
The first up is the trenches, which suited the Death Korps WW1 design theme. It presented the opportunity to frame the army with raised ridges, establish different levels of viewing and create interesting ground details for basing.
The second sketch was the generators, which is a much simpler, open ground concept. The focus would be the generators themselves, using pieces of space marine drop pods. This one has the weakest theme.
The third concept was the bombed city, our favorite, and the one the client chose!
The main focus of this design was the bridge and the feeling of a city that had been retaken. Our primary inspiration is of course “Saving Private Ryan”(1:54).
With the scene decided, it was time to start building!
Building the Army Display Board
In order to start the build we first had to have the army built. Having the army built let us plan the layout and see how everything fit.
Having the models in place also let’s us examine the space and see how big or small the various buildings and terrain elements can be. This is important because all the models will have pre-determined recessed slots to plug into.
The bridge is the main focal point of the board and all other elements needed to support that.
We kept many of the buildings smaller up front and larger in the back to help draw the viewers eye up and down the board itself.
After layout, we began building cut out trays for each group of miniatures. It’s easier to cut circles in these trays than into the foam itself.
Additionally, it allowed us to remove them as needed while we worked on the terrain.
When it came to the design logic of the buildings, we relied on Val’s experience as an architectural designer for the short film “Lord Inquisitor”.
By using these design elements we were able to more accurately create buildings that would most likely fit into the 40k universe.
After getting the basic building shapes and terrain formed, we begin adding ground texture and working the cutout trays seamlessly into the scene.
The Water Effects
When it comes to water ways, the groundwork underneath can be just as important as the resin itself!
Using a mix of sizes, shapes and details creates a more realistic underbody.
You can see in this view how the water looks much more complex because of all the details and shapes under and around it.
Painting the Miniatures and Display Board
Now that the board was built and the models fit into the scene it was time to lay down the color, starting with the miniatures themselves…
The client requested blue greys for the Krieg and red Mechanicum colors for the Imperial Knights. Because this is a winter world, we tried to dull the red and use a cooler less orangey version of it.
We used a cool greenish blue colour for the lenses, to help add more cool wintery feeling to them.
We integrated the reds of the knights into the clothing of the troops and used cool greens to make the various blacks, greys and beiges feel colder.
From there we continued the use of cool greys and reds into the board itself finalizing and blending everything by adding snow.
Modular Display Board
But this thing is so impractical you say!? That’s why we made it modular, so it can be deconstructed!
The board is two pieces, and each major terrain element can be removed reducing the height, while enabling their use as terrain during games! Bonus!
As you can imagine, this project took a lot of work, easily 100+ hours to complete. We hope this helps illustrate the thought, work, and skills put into crafting these awesome display boards.
We thoroughly enjoy working on these kinds of projects. These projects are ever inspired by Lord of the Rings movie sets, and the awesome works of Brandon Palmer @ GMM Studios
Pictures Not Enough? Watch the Video!
This is a project we completed while we were subcontracting projects from White Metal Games. Our friends at Spikey Bits did a video covering the final work that you can watch here: