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Building Another Battle Board: The Flip Side

With the other side completed, and my spackle tests finished, I put together my sandy wasteland.

The wasteland/desert side of my finished battleboard and the test pieces I turned into a trio of dune scatter terrain.

The foundation of this whole board is a mix of lightweight spackle (drywall filler), fine sand, PVA glue (Elmer’s washable), and desert sand acrylic paint. Luckily my wife uses lots of this stuff for her etsy store, so I used a half full gallon bucket along with about a third of a bottle of glue, two 1 oz. acrylic paint tubes, and an 8 oz. container of sand. With some latex gloves on, I mixed them all together until roughly even. Then, I smeared it on the board, forming a few dunes. Then I used my fingers to tamp down on the mix to create rough, repeating waving lines. Lastly, I stuck in some tiles, stone bricks, boulders, seashell, roasted eggshell, a Reaper Bones cow skull, and some lost treasures.

Alternate view of the sand, showing a buried shell and a tiny bush clinging to life.

I gave that a few days to dry, to make sure even the dunes were dry all the way through. Desert Sand was used for another base coat to even out everything and make sure some of the spots that weren’t mixed well enough got color too. The detail bits got based in their respective colors. Next I made a mix of a brown and black wash to drown everything in. Once that dried, I drybrushed everything with light colors to bring out the highlights.

Side view of the wasteland board

With the painting done, I mixed up a big solo cup of glue, desert sand paint, a bit of water, and a splash of dish soap. This would be my flocking glue mix. With that applied over everything except the detail bits, I coated the whole thing in fine sand. It took 16 oz of sand to cover it all, but after a day of drying, half of it shook back off. I also glued down the tiny foliage at this point. I wish I had painted the cow skull then attached it at this point as well, but live and learn, right? A light drybrushing to bring out some of the highlights again, and it was done. This step also helps knock off any sand that didn’t come off just by shaking it.

Second side view

Three coats of spray polyacrylic to seal everything for rough gameplay finished this project up nicely. Now it will be useful for wastelands, deserts, and even as a racetrack for my gaslands stuff.

My spackle tests turned into scatter terrain.

Before I committed to mixing up that big bucket of spackle, I did a tiny test first in a little quart jar of the stuff. What I learned from this test was to do all my painting before flocking with sand first, as some areas won’t take the glue and sand well leaving you with gaps in the wash/highlighted areas. Also, I made the mistake of painting the rim black, and touching them up with desert sand is noticeable compared to the rest of the piece.

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