Thursday, 24 January 2019

A cheap and cheerful Western Desert backboard

I decided to play another WW2 Western Desert game before getting ready for this weekend's English Civil War campaign game. Last night I prepared the tabletop. This time I wanted to try a slightly more contained game. In my previous test games I had been using all the 13 by 18 hexes, but this time reduced the size to 13 by 13 hexes. To show the edge I found a bit of wood, quite a hefty piece actually, and popped in into place.

This got me thinking about backboards, and I have noticed on a couple of blogs I follow the effective use of a backboard. Serendipitously I found a long piece of unused cardboard and though I would have a stab at creating a cheap and cheerful backboard.

A cheap and cheerful cardboard backboard
I cut the cardboard lengthways which produced to pieces of about 6 inches height. These I painted a light grey household acrylic paint as the undercoat. I then quickly used watered down blue and sand colour acrylic paints for sky and land.

The cardboard at the end of the painting process. You can tell from the shine in the photos how watered down the paints were.
Then followed up for the land with watered down: 1) sand and grey mix, 2) sand and brown mix, and finally a black and sand mix. I did not wait for these to dry before applying the next mixed colour so they merged in a bit with the other colours.

The final touch for the sky was a very watered down blue and grey mix was very roughly washed over the sky, making sure not to get too close to the hills, to leave a richer looking blue between land and sky.
The chunk of week that started of the backboard idea. If you are wondering why I have this wood lying around my wargaming room? Then over the next month you will discover its purpose.
Here are a couple of close up shots that show the painting technique used. Yes, very rough and ready and great fun to do!
The models are 6mm
The two bits of cardboard are held together with painters masking tape.


  1. It looks great. Well done! Plus you've given me an idea about how to suggest mountainous terrain on the table. Thanks!

    1. Thanks. I hope your mountainous terrain idea works out.

  2. You are a master of ingenuity! Your backdrop looks great!

  3. I think your free hand painting is outstanding! The back drop really adds to the look of the table, too.

    1. It is quite surprising how they add to the game, certainly the photos. Thank you.