Baking sand

Today I’ve been doing something that I have no clue about – I’ve been baking – but nothing too taxing in the way of a recipe – you just take a pile of sand, put it on a baking tray and heat at 100 degrees until dry.

Hence the  title of today’s post was my wife’s idea – probably because I’ve used the oven more times today that I have in the last year I’m ashamed to say  Clearly this requires an explanation – its all about basing

My TSS terrain tiles have  travelled well too, all the way from the UK to NZ in 1999 but now they’re   looking a bit ragged and it need of an upgrade. With this in mind I thought I’d give them a complete overhaul and with a long holiday of 4 days and rain outside I decided I’d take the plunge and start.

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The first problem I found was that the sand that I thought I had in the garage wasn’t sand’, it was compost! The replacement sand I hurriedly bought was wet and that’s why it found itself in the oven.

I decided to start with the river sections first. I’d always planned to do something with that horrid painted blue polystyrene but never quite got around to it! I started with some fairly coarse grit for the river bed, this is a mix of sand and reasonably large pieces of ballast from the local model shop. Because the grit was on the large size I used undiluted PVA for this…



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With those done I’m on a roll so its the roads next.  Many of my TSS boards have fixed roads and while these have their benefits it dose limit the set up somewhat and I only have  a few plain boards. Because of this I made a decision some time ago that all terrain tiles would be plain and that roads will have to sit on top. ( A future project will be to produce more roads from Neoprene, soon I hope as I don’t have any of a suitable size for 28mm games)

I decided against cutting into the boards to remove the sculpted roads and opted to go with a thick PVA application again, hoping this would to the trick

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This project has taken a lot more time that I anticipated, its not easy to get the rest of each board painted with a brush. An attempt to use a sprayer failed miserably when the sprayer clogged so its felt a bit like a DIY job rather than an enjoyable hobby thing. I soon noticed it was a little easier and quicker if the PVA was more dilute. I also began to realise that the 2 litres of PVA glue I had wasn’t going to be enough either so as the afternoon wore on, the PVA got thinner for another reason.

Now that all happened yesterday, I began to draft the post last night but got distracted by a film on TV. Subsequently it’s now today and “today” started with a trip to the DIY store again to buy more PVA, had I bothered to think about it before hand I wouldn’t have been so ill prepared- I’ve just had count up today and there are the equivalent of 25 2′ x 2′ boards! No wonder it took me most of yesterday to get them covered. I’d have been quicker painting the outside of the house.

So today I spent some time applying a second coat in an attempt to hide those roads, one clearly wasn’t enough as you see from the picture below. I also reapplied more sand/grit mix to the boards that were a bit sparse

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Today I’ve also covered the hill sections so they’ll all look the same and had something of a frustrating afternoon working in a garage where there is now no room because of the number of wet terrain boards whilst either running outside to bring drying boards in from the showers or pick them up from where the wind had blown them!

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Part two of the project was to have been started tomorrow – applying paint, but its so humid today that the PVA won’t be dry enough but at least I had the sense to buy enough brown paint today (or at least I think I did!).

Part 3 of the project is to apply some patches of flock to the boards as in the picture below – these were hills I completed a few years ago and is the way I’d eventually like my completed boards to appear – today I used the opportunity to touch up some minor damage on these.

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Hopefully the end result will be something like the hills below only with the green terrain tiles being replaced by something like the background to a board I use for taking pictures

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Part 4 – well that’s what those unused styrene boards are for – I’d like to make a series of matching hills that will be suitable to use along the length of a table edge rather like a single ridge like at Waterloo but this has taken me so long that its going to have to wait in the queue




About valleyboynz

A Welsh wargamer living in NZ
This entry was posted in Wargaming Terrain and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Baking sand

  1. Chris Gregg says:

    You’re a brave man taking on this task but it’s looking good, well done. You can never have enough PVA – I buy it in 5 litre plastic bottles!

  2. Very industrious of you vb. I’m more the thinking type! 8O)

    A nice shot of Russians in the last photo.

    I trust you’re having a Happy New Year.

    von Peter himself

  3. valleyboynz says:

    Thanks guys, I actually managed to get some brown paint on them all this afternoon so its dry brush next, hopefully tomorrow night if I get away early enough from work

  4. Subedai says:

    Nice looking boards, like the hills. Now that you have got this far, I trust you have a supply of large decorating brushes for the paintwork! 🙂

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