In this welcome to the hobby, I’ll introduce some techniques for building and painting a basic board section for Collision. For the basics article, we won’t be doing any texturing, carving, or using tiles in the assembly of the board section, and we’ll go with a very simple color scheme. This style of board is the easiest to build and paint, and I recommend it for beginner hobbyists, or for someone that wants a 3D board but doesn’t want to put a ton of time into building one. I’ll show how to build one fourth of a board section, so if you want to have an entire board to use for a small battle in collision, you will need four sections like this one to make up a full board. Building board sections in fourths makes for extremely modular boards and easier storage and transportation, so I highly recommend it.

Gather your supplies! for this project you’ll need 1″ thick insulation foam (often comes in blue, pink, or in this case green, either of which will work), a fresh hobby knife blade, something to use as a 4.5″x6″ base, some house primer, some brushes, spray paints, acrylic paints, hot glue, and a hot glue gun.

First major step is to measure and mark what sizes and shapes you’ll need to cut into the foam for your base elevation. you want to create some elevation variety with your boards, but avoid having extreme elevation shifts on your base board because it will make playing on said board miserable. I decided to go with only elevation levels 1 and 2 for this part. For elevation levels that span the whole board, you can just trace it onto the foam like so.

Since I’m using pre-cut fiberglass as a base for my board sections, I scored the surface with a carving tool so that the glue would hold a bit better. If you are using cardboard or Masonite as a base instead, you can go ahead and skip this step.

Next you need to get some hot glue on the base to glue your elevation levels down with. I generally apply it an inch away from each of the edges so that the excess doesn’t flow out the sides. When you press your foam onto the base, make sure to use plenty of pressure to that the hot glue doesn’t cause the foam to expand away from the base. I chose hot glue so that it would set quickly, but you can use other adhesives instead (not super glue, which can react and melt through the foam).

Once I have my 2nd elevation level secured to my board, I went ahead and got my primer ready to go. Spray paints have a nasty habit of melting foam, and a coat of house primer or house paint generally does the trick at preventing the spray paint from melting your terrain.

Once my board is dry, its time to break out the spray paint. I used some black and brown spray paints I had on hand, but unfortunately I used paints that have a satin finish instead of a matte finish, so the board will end up looking slightly glossy until I use a matte clear coat in the end. I sprayed all of the sides with black, and then sprayed just the top surface with brown.

Using a ruler, I drew the 1.5″x1.5″ grid onto the surface of the board with will serve as guidelines for painting the chess-board pattern on with. I discovered that my 2nd elevation level is a little on the small side, but it won’t be detrimental.

Then using a lighter brown paint, I painted every-other square a lighter color. This can do wonders for making the distances easier to count, and can add a ton to the look and feel of the board.

Finally I touched up the colors, and used black paint to paint on the dividing lines again, and sprayed the board with a matte clear coat to prevent scratching. I put a miniature on the board for a size comparison.

That concludes the board basics article, next I’ll cover building a similar board section except with resin tiles. later this week I hope to cover some other terrain building techniques, and how to draw board sections instead of build them.

-Ian Douglass