SRM’s Road to Nova Part 7: Vulgar Display (board) of Power

I’m just gonna set this fucker off and post my stan, my man, my all-time boi, Marneus Calgar:

Marneus Calgar, Credit: SRM

Marneus Calgar, Credit: SRM

I absolutely loved painting this dude, and with him I’m firmly over 2000 points. However, with enough painted for all of my games at NOVA, it was time to ice the cake, as it were, and get my army on a display board. I’ve told the story multiple times on the Badcast about how I built and painted my existing display board whilst extremely drunk in a hotel in Maine the night before a tournament in 2014. Whilst it has seen better days, Noomi seems to like it:

But first I needed to gather materials and plan. I got some tacky glue, basing sand, a corkboard, measuring tape, and some graph paper, and started mapping things out:

The plan would be to have a long road leading up to a building, at which point the floor would be tiled. The building would be magnetized for ease of transport, and it along with some hills would add some visual interest. I’d also add some scattered debris, skulls, and so on to make the field look more realistic, and I’d paint it to match the winter theme of my models’ bases. As for the roads and floor, I would remain extremely on brand and use out of production WHFB movement trays for them, because of course I would.

The building was fairly straightforward – new GW kits go together rather easily after all. Once it was done I could figure out the angle of the road and see if all my dudes fit on the board. Fortunately, they did!

I started with the interior of the building, where I used the 20mm side to represent floor tiles. Using a power drill, I sunk a few magnets into the outer edge. Later I’d sink a few more in to support the interior columns, but you get the gist. I covered them in glue and green stuff, which I had to sand down to get flush.

Meanwhile, under the columns, I twisted in big gobs of green stuff and sunk in more magnets. Once dry, I had to carve away some green stuff, but they still held:

With the footprint of the main attractions settled, I figured it would be time to work in some hills and give the board a more organic feel. I again stayed extremely on brand here and cracked open my old How to Make Wargames Terrain book that GW published in 1996.

It took a box cutter and some time, but I worked them out. I glued them down with PVA glue, which required pinning down the floppy hill on the left with a thumb tack. I also figured where I wanted the sewer to go:

I stupidly didn’t take a picture of it painted, but under the sewer I wanted some grody details. I cut out some plasticard to shape and cut up some bits to look submerged. I later painted it with a bunch of greens and contrast paints and it looks suitably murky and gross. I would paint it, stick it under the sewer grate, and leave it masked off for the rest of the painting process, but you can see the construction here:

The board was starting to come together, and it was time to add a little more interest to it. I did some weathering to the roadway, but also cut out some pavers to give it more of that war-torn feel. I also ended up cutting my hands a few times doing this, as the plastic is particularly stubborn, but live and learn, right? I dropped in a few sunken barrels and boxes from the Sector Imperialis basing kit, and also built a sort of sidewalk around the building’s foundation. There were also some nice vents and a manhole cover here, which I added to the board. The last touch on the road was to add a fallen column coming from just off-screen as it were, using the Urban Conquest bits. Now it was time to add some sand!


It would need a bit more on the hills and road edges to blend them in, but the mix of sands I’ve amassed over the years was looking good.

It was also time for the moment of truth RE: my magnets:

Hell yeah buddy, I spilled sand all over my dining room table with that one! You may have noticed the building was black but now it’s white – I used a modified version of Warhammer TV’s Warcry terrain tutorial for it, and I’m super happy with the results. When I paint another one of these I won’t go so hard on the metallics though, they were a massive pain in the butt. There’s also no fewer than 80 skulls on this damn thing.

Most importantly, Noomi likes it:


With the building done, it’s time to return to the board. Using masking tape and a few colored sprays, I got the main colors blocked out:

The roads got a healthy coat of Agrax Earthshade followed by a Celestra Grey drybrush, and I picked out the fallen columns in the same color palette as the building. The tiles were Ulthuan Grey and Incubi Darkness, washed black and drybrushed white. I filled in the lines later with watered down Rhinox Hide to clean up my messy brushwork and add definition. I also washed the recesses on the sewer grate with Agrax, and hit it up with a drybrush of Necron Compound. The board followed my basing scheme and got successive drybrushes of Steel Legion Drab, Tallarn Sand, and Karak Stone. I also did some more weathering on the building, adding dust to the bottom with the same colors of the board and black on all the blasted bits.

The last step was snow. My normal snow technique looks frankly kind of gross on large swathes of board. My fiancee thought I was growing mold cultures on my old display board, so I thought I’d try something different. This time I mixed PVA glue, snow, and Ceramite White paint into a paste which I gingerly brushed over some parts of the board.

I was careful with this stuff as it was super thick, but it came out pretty well.

I had two steps left. First, I had to paint the edges. Second, I’d have to varnish the board. For the edges, I masked off everything:

I was going to use a few pretty thick coats of satin black primer here, so to avoid it sticking to the ground I used my trusty priming box. I was pretty stocked with the results, even if I had to tidy up some interior edges:

It was a real nice day out that day, so I varnished the board and the building with Testors Dullcote. Before hitting the board with varnish, I did sprinkle some loose snow over all the white areas to give the snow a bit more volume and realism:

And here’s the board, all finished and still reeking of aerosol:

And at last, the moment of truth, where all my Ultramarines are arrayed on top of it. If I’m enough of a meta-chaser I could finish up some Aggressors by NOVA, who fortunately have room to hang out. At this point though, anything else I do is a victory lap.

If you want to see this army in person, I’ll be playing in the NOVA Narrative on the side of Humanity, and on Thursday at 2pm we’ll be at table 69 (nice) for the Badcast Beatdown 2019: Sports vs. Anime. You can buy an extremely cool and good shirt to show your allegiance, or just come dressed as your favorite sports or anime and come hang out and play a game with your fellow warhams.

See you nerds at NOVA!

  • SRM