My Display Board “Sophie’s Garage”

This is my first post in a LONG time, but I think it was time to dust off this old blog. And I felt this was definitely worth sharing: My display board won two awards at my local Armies On Parade.

 

DISPLAY BOARD HISTORY

The story for this display board starts at my first tournament over two years ago. I showed up to my first tournament with no display board at all. At that tournament, I displayed my army in the plastic tub I brought it in.  I didn’t even know that display boards were at thing!

My “display board” from my first tournament in 2016

In 2017, I also attended the same Lords of War Tournament again: The 40k Classic. I had idea of using a a tool holder as some sort of castle. The castle was well-received.  I used the “game mat” from the 8th edition “First Strike” starter kit , and although it served is purpose, it was bit of a “cop out”. The castle had a digital photo frame that played “Imperial propaganda”, but someone said seeing the buttons broke the suspension of disbelief. And someone suggested the “castle” needed more detail.

My “display board” circa 2017.

BUILDING MY 2018 DISPLAY BOARD

The highlight of my 2018 was going to be the Astronomi-con event.  I liked that it emphasized the hobby elements rather than just competitive tournament play. The event had a lot of points for narrative and display, and thus, I needed to get going on a display board.

I started with this early prototype for a display board that folded into a case, and gave height.

Prototype for my 2018 display board

I enjoy playing with a lot of tanks, so I wanted my display board to have roads. My first thought was to have some sort of tunnel on the lower level. The lower level later became a garage, which seemed vehicle appropriate.

The prototype also had a sort of bridge, but that didn’t make it into the final design.

A lot of display boards are made from styrofoam, but I didn’t have a foam cutter, and I was told that spray paints would dissolve foam. And since I’m much more familiar with wood, I started with a big slap of 1/2″ thick MDF. I cut the pieces in the store using the circular saw, but my calculations didn’t account for the thickness. So I had to do some rougher cuts with a handsaw.

Assembled display board base

There was another piece I made to extend the lower level.

The board had hinges I took off of a dollar store box. The top was meant to fold over for nice transport. But, because of my imprecise cuts, it didn’t fit quite well. I later filled in the gaps in the build with wood filler.

The display board in its closed state. I later fixed the imperfections in the fitting with wood filler.

With the base built, it was time to start decorating and adding the theme. I added cork board as the roads. They have a kind of texture that already simulates asphalt. I made the “sidewalks” with plasticard, and then used a spray paint for the even texture. I did a thick coat of paint over the cork boards.

Painting the display board.

The MDF wood looked kind of cheap. I decided to try to stain the wood. I had NEVER done this before, but found that it produced a wonderfully rich-looking effect. It was a messy process, and I’m glad I wore gloves! And, the wood filler I used to cover the imperfections made it look like it was meant to be.

After adding a gel-coat stain. I think it looks really rich now!

As some of my readers know, I like to add a lot of electronics to my tanks. I wanted my display board to have some too. This board was going to feature a lot of lights. I also wanted the option to power it from a plug, which was a first for me. And, I added a fuse for the first time, because I didn’t want this board to catch on fire if I did something wrong.

Last thing to do was dress it up. I printed some photos of “diamond steel” for the floors of the garage. And then printed A LOT of “Imperial Propaganda” photos I found on the internet. I scaled them to guardsman size, and put them all over the board. The posters probably got a lot of attention at a recent tournament I went to. There was a sticker of Saint Celestine in a chibi-style by The Great Geraldo. And, I added some graffiti touches that were kind of meta-meme worthy like “Cadian Stands” and “Rowboat Girlyman”.

Propaganda posters abound!

So, why is it called Sophie’s Garage? The garage part should be obvious. And Sophie is what my wife and I are going to name our first daughter, who’s due in about a month.

Sophie’s Garage sign. And yes, that’s the 40th Birthday Grombrindal in the window brandishing a beer

Even though the model has nothing to do with the army, I really liked the work I did  on the 40th birthday White Dwarf Model (Grombrindal), so he seemed to make a nice cameo behind the glass.

When I was preparing my board a couple of nights before Armies On Parade, my wife noted that it looked kind of like a military parade for a fascist dictatorship. I thought that seemed thematically rather appropriate, considering that Warhammer 40k’s Imperium of Man could be considered quite dystopian.

Experimenting with the layout of models on my display board a few days before Armies On Parade

At the last minute, I printed out a couple of slips of paper that said: “Push the buttons. They light up and make sounds!” I think that may have been one of the most important additions, because people were apparently really impressed that my tanks had electronics in them.

I submitted my display board featuring A LOT of tanks to the Armies On Parade event at my local Games Workshop location at Heartland Town Centre.  My wife helped me set it up, and I liked the layout even more.

My display board as presented at Armies On Parade 2018

 

There were a lot of great entries. I was proud that I won two certificates:

  • MONSTERS AND MACHINES
  • BEST THEMED ARMY
With my wife and my display board after winning in the “Monsters and Machines” and “Best Themed Entry” categories of Armies on Parade 2018 at Games Workshop Heartland Town Centre

There were some really good entries, so I’m not surprised I didn’t win a medal. But winning two categories made me feel pretty happy with my work.

Winners from Armies on Parade 2018 at Games Workshop Heartland Town Centre

 

Only one year until the next Armies On Parade. Should I just tune up my board a little? Or something completely new?

I know my painting will probably never rival that of really good players; I need to keep with my strengths of electronics and tricks. Perhaps a board with a water feature? Like real water with a waterfall and an electronic water pump? And steam? And better use of the LED’s?

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