Display Boards

Hey Folks of the Mortal Realms. There's exciting news doing the rounds. CANCON IS BACK NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!! Which means. Any goals of competitive gameplay is out the window and its time to grab the bucket list and start chasing my Hobby Goals.


Top of the list - Get on the Short list for Coolest army / Best painted and possibly bring home a hobby related prize at Cancon (or another 100+ player event with a name for having a high standard of hobby)


This is no easy Feat of course, many of Australia's best hobbyist's are usually in attendance, all with their own crazy ideas of taking home the prize. Over the next 6 months I'll be resurrecting my Slaanesh Army with some updates, along with building a brand new display board which will be our main topic of today.


Before we start looking at my early progress, Lets have a discussion about Display Boards and some of the things I've learnt over the journey. And provide a bit of a checklist to work through before you start your next project.


Why Do I want a Display Board?


A good question indeed, Why create more work then we need to when we already have an army to prepare? I can break this down into 2 Main reasons and 1 Auxiliary reason.

  1. You want to make your army stand out in the pack and provide some wow factor to the judges/other players

  2. Your Event pack forces some degree of scoring on you. Usually in the form of a minimum paint requirement with a display board providing a number of points to help reach a required total for full score.

  3. Bonus Reason. Its a handy tray for carting your army around between games and for holding your dead pile during the game

Ok. I want a Display Board, What now?


Display boards come in a lot of shapes and sizes, but if you were to pick a generic option your looking at a 2'x2' Square (approx 60cm x 60cm), your imagination and time is the only limit, although it wouldn't hurt to check with the event organiser before you get too carried away. (but yes, a floor to ceiling Pyrotechnics display with a Dragon flying through it would be AMAZING). In my opinion. I think we can break display boards down into 3 main Variants.

  1. "The Flat and Sandy" This is the most basic of Display Bases and also the most common. If your looking to tick the boxes for a minimum requirement or are looking for that handy carry option mentioned above. This is your go to option. Little more then a flat piece of MDF, a Maccas Tray or any other flat object you find. Add some PVA glue, some Sand, Paint it to match your armies bases and your done. If your feeling especially fruity you can add a grass Tuft or 2. Of course there's nothing stopping you from adding a terrain piece to add visual interest

Top Tip. Play with Textures to make it more interesting. Use a variety of different sized materials on the ground to help give it some life.


Credit: Joel Mcgrath for the Fyreslayers, and NC Dave for the Board under the Death army

  1. "The Foam Hills Special" So. your looking to go a bit spicier then a "Flat and Sandy", but you still don't have hundreds of hours to pour into going for a "Show Stopper". Enter... "The Foam Hills Special". Very similar in design to the above but we are pushing on the vertical axis to create additional visual interest for our viewers along with giving ourselves more space to get creative. Take our Flat board from earlier, cut out some Foam Board or any related product, Glue it to the Board to add some height. Then carve some interesting designs into the foam or add some random props then like our previous version, add your basing material and paint.

Top Tip. Make sure you add shape to your additional height layers. Not many mountains in this world are perfectly rectangular. Keep nature in mind and don't be afraid to get a little bit wild and non-symmetrical with your mountains.


Credit: Joel Graham for the Idoneth Board (@jc_graham)

  1. "The Show Stopper" Its time. Your full of confidence, you want to show off your skills, you want people talking about how much of a nutcase the creator of "That display over there" has to be. Sure. There's a bit of a grey area where the previous two stop being what they are and move into this category. If there's anything that locks you into this group, its the desire to demand attention. There's no typical design idea, other then the creator using every scrap of space to either tell a story or add additional detail. We've all seen those Display Boards, whether it has electronic lighting, is 4 foot tall, has a smoke machine, or simply has an astonishing level of detail, there's no hiding the fact that people will pay attention. Imagination and time are definitely the key considerations here.

Top Tips. Bigger isn't always better. The more you give yourself to work with, the more work you need to do to keep it interesting. A giant mountain painted in 2 colors with a wash and a drybrush is actually quite boring to look at. Part of chasing attention also means people will be looking for flaws (even if they don't mean to)


Credit: Found these ones online. Brilliant work. If you know their owner I'm more then happy to throw their name in here


So where to from here?


So we think we've decided on a board type. What's next? There's one other factor I like to consider and that's Functionality. Here in Australia its very common for events to be at minimum 2 hours drive away and quite often over 1000km's away. If you build a display board that you cant transport, then it sure as anything isn't much use to you. Second to this is the requirement to store it when the event is over. If your going big you may want to build sub assemblies into your design to assist. Finally, consider whether the board you are producing is to fit a specific army, or whether its universally usable for any army. Occasionally we see people build recesses for a models bases to sit cleanly in set positions and it looks very clean and well done. Just consider whether that will cause issues if you ever want to use the display board in future events with different lists/armies and how you could adapt it.

Beginnings of a new project So now I'll start talking about the early works on my project. We are going for a diorama type "Show Stopper". The goal in my mind is to product a Floating Island with a variety of Ruins built through it and a lot of overgrown plant life. Whilst I am building it with an army in mind, however I want it to be completely adaptable to other factions. Part of trying to display the models rather then losing them amongst the shrubbery is to create a few "Display sections" Where key models can be placed alone to stand out amongst the rest of the piece.


I have drawn inspiration from several videos I've been watching on Youtube with more of the diorama and model railway themes along with combining the idea with locations I've seen on video games. The core concept for my piece stems from a video by Creative Cuts on Youtube. Creative Cuts - YouTube and am looking to reimagine his Floating Island Diorama, even though production will be done very differently.






I've also been scouring myminifactory to find an appropriate set of Ruins to build into my base. Managed to find a really large and detailed set of Ruins by GameScape3d 3D Printable Citadel Ruins by GameScape3D (myminifactory.com)


Over 7 GB of misc files. Wall Sections, Floors, Stairs. Just the thing to be able to mix and match to create my own world.




Next job is to stock pile some materials and get a basic shape going. As we potentially need to transport this to an event over 8 hours away, weight needs to be a consideration and the core of our project will be made from Foam insulation board which will be glued together then carved down to create our base shape. The Foam board is stocked at my local Bunnings, and in the grand scheme wasn't that expensive.




Once the Glue is set (I used typical PVA / White Glue), Its time to start creating the Shape. First priority in my mind is making sure I keep things visually interesting, which means keeping rectangular/square edges to a minimum. I'm expecting this to take a few stages of cutting down, adding detail to build back up, then cutting down again until we find the sweet spot. So all decent offcuts of foam are being saved for future purposes.



So there we go, 1 week down, 6 months to go. We have a basic shape and that is where things are currently up to. Next steps are to start 3d Printing some of those Ruined Sections and setting up their position on the board and getting a feel for how the different Ruins will connect together over various heights. Once that is complete we can keep adjusting the main shape to suit as well as start giving our landscape a more natural feel.


If there's one single thing I love about display boards, When your feeling worn out from painting endless armies and its becoming a chore. Getting nuts with a project like this is very refreshing and a great palette cleanser.


Stay tuned for next time as I hopefully stop the Printer from giving me a headache (I really love technology) and we start churning out some of those fantastic Ruins pieces.


Thanks for reading Spooky Luke



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