Terrain Making – After making the initial 3'x3' city block board with 3"x3" squares I decided that I needed to go all out and do a 4'x6' table. Between the two smaller near future boards I've been working on I have enough buildings to populate a larger area. I've always wanted to do a full city so I decided now is the time to do it. Having been successful with the smaller board I have a good grasp of what works and what doesn't. I made a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up a 1" thick sheet of insulation foam to act as the topper for my 4'x6' table. A quick stop at Michael's for some clean sheets of foam core and I was ready to go.
After trimming the insulation foam to fit within my tabletop I then measured out a 3"x3" grid over the entire surface. Once the grid was in place I moved the buildings I have around on the board until I was happy with the layout. My goal was to have some straight road sections without have a clear shot straight across the board. From prior experience, city blocks set up on a standard grid make for boring battlefields as their are to many "kill zones" that allow over watchers or snipers to control to much of the board. With the layout I settled on there are enough blind spots to offer cover from the various sniper nests.
The tedious part of the job took me two nights of cutting 3"x3" squares of foam core. While I probably could have just painted the grid on to these I find having the physical separation of the individual blocks to be more visually pleasing. Once I cut them all to size I set off with a large bottle of tacky glue and began gluing down the foam core to the insulation foam base. This process took another night of tedious work but the final result fit exactly what I had in mind.
I then cut out storm drains from granny grate and glued them in place at various points along the street sections. Little details like this help to bring the whole city to life. I opted to not include sewer drain covers at this time. I may change my mind before painting begins but right now I don't think I want to add them.
Once everything had dried overnight I took the sheet out to the garage and began applying the sand texture. For this I use a gallon of wood glue. I've found that wood glue adheres to the foam pretty good and dries solid enough to withstand the rigors of gaming. Working in sections I paint the glue down with a wide brush and then liberally coat the glue with sand. More is better at this point, you want to have the sand piled on thick enough so it will sink into the sand and give you the texture you want.
After this dries for a few days (you have to be sure the glue has set otherwise you'll get weird marks in the final texture) I use a shop vac to remove the excess sand. If you're smart and clean the shop vac prior to vacuuming the sand you'll be able to salvage the excess for the next project.
After everything dried I painted the whole board with Behr Premium Paint + Primer. I find this covers well, is durable and comes in colors that match my other paints. After the base coat I went in with my airbrush and painted everything else. Starting with black I slowly worked up highlights to get a decent transition for the concrete slabs. Overall I'm happy with the results thus far.