Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Building A NOVA Display Board Step By Step

This year I needed a simple, lightweight display board that would show off my DKoK army well. The DKoK force is so large that I needed to maximize space. To that end, I decided that less was more, and simplified the design. this board cost probably less than $30 dollars to make. This board was fairly easy to build, and if you avoid some of the traps I fell into it can look really good. 

Step 1: Cut pink foam to the desired dimensions using home depot wooden yard sticks as a frame. 

Step 2: Use a wire brush scrape the detail into the board

Step 3: Make a slurry of magic merlin plaster and coat the entire board thinly. This will dry hard to the touch in 30 minutes. All of the details need to be added now. Add sand, small rocks, balsa wood, jerry cans, oil barrels, and chains as necessary. I just pushed these into the wet plaster.

Step 4: Without priming, mix alcohol with weathering powders and paint on the gunk. I used two types of SWM rust colors, as well as their green color. These were essentially wet mixed.

Step 5: Dust the entire board with weathering pigments. Again, this was done with no primer. Once the board was coated in pigments I dumped a lot of alcohol on the board to set the pigments and get them to run. 

Step 6: Dust the board with the mid-tone pigment and highlight pigments. I used SWM green earth and SWM yellow earth to do this. I dusted yellow earth along the embankment.

Step 7: Steal a pot from the kitchen and melt woodland scenics realistic water in it. It comes in little pellets. Pour the water onto the display board and let it cool. I used popsicle sticks to spread the edges of the water/plastic out so a raised lip was not formed. I also poured the mixture into the craters. This is where all hell broke loose. The craters melted and the water started eating through the display board. One you are happy with the water, using a cooking torch I heated the surface to remove bubbles. It was at this point that I noticed that the debris in the river had started to melt, and that paint had come off large sections of it.

Lessons Learned: Use resin for the water, and don't dump so much alcohol on the board that it requires napkins to soak up.


  1. Thanks for the pathfinder, John, so that the rest of us know what to watch out for. :-)

    And just remember, all of those "mistakes" make 'features', not 'bugs'.

  2. NOVA Judges: "Flaming melted debris and the smell of melted foam? Holy crap - it's a display board in all five senses!!!!"

    How very DKOK too :P

  3. Replies
    1. Why yes, I did. I have a lovely one painted up for the capitol pallet.

  4. This is a great guide John. I'm going to try and steal some of these techniques from you for future boards :)

  5. grate blog like the way you have set the layout on it and the way you listed the steps to show how the board was built. found this page with a link on fb

    1. really Facebook? I'd love to check it out if you have the link.