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

  1.             The display board needed to break down for traveling,
  2.             the setting was post apocalyptic “nuclear winter”,
  3.             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.

Trenches Display Board Concept Drawing

Trenches Concept

 

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.

Power Generators on Open Field

Power Generators Concept

 

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).

Bombed City Concept

Bombed City Concept, The Winner!

 

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.

Miniatures placed to examine layout

Miniatures placed to examine layout

 

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.

Miniature base trays

Miniature base trays

 

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.

Building basic structure and design

Building basic structure and design

 

After getting the basic building shapes and terrain formed, we begin adding ground texture and working the cutout trays seamlessly into the scene.

Adding ground texture

Adding ground texture

 

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.

Varied Texture Creates More Realistic Groundwork

Varied Texture Creates More Realistic Groundwork

 

You can see in this view how the water looks much more complex because of all the details and shapes under and around it.

Resin Water Over Textured Ground

Resin Water Over Textured Ground

 

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.

3 magnetized Imperial Knights

3 magnetized Imperial Knights

 

We used a cool greenish blue colour for the lenses, to help add more cool wintery feeling to them.

Cold green coloured lenses for added contrast

Cold green coloured lenses for added contrast

 

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.

The HQ amongst his robotic peers

The HQ amongst his robotic peers

 

Simple Black red and silver troops

Simple Black red and silver troops

 

From there we continued the use of cool greys and reds into the board itself finalizing and blending everything by adding snow.

First layers of colour

First layers of colour on the groundwork

 

First layers of colour on the groundwork

Another angle

 

Visualizing the scene with colours and half finished miniatures in place

Visualizing the scene with colours and half finished miniatures in place

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!

Display board comes apart for easy transportation

Display board comes apart for easy transportation

 

Removable buildings, can be used for terrain in games

All terrain elements are removable!

Final Thoughts

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

Wear and tear, muddied snow and the guard advance

Wear and tear, muddied snow and the guard advance

 

Wounded soldier reaching up

Whats a struggle without a desperate, dying guardsmen!?

 

Details like the broken pipe really add excitement to bases

Details like the broken pipe really add excitement to bases

 

The simple details of a rock

The simple details of a rock

 

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: