Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Scenery
Tags: , , , ,

Hello everyone,

Well today I began preparing the Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Boards for painting.  Before I go into what preparation I’ve done, let me just consolidate some of the concerns that I’ve had with these boards that I’d like to overcome before I commence painting them.  The first one is that they are hollow and although are made out of a material (I dont know what it is) that seems to be quite strong, I always like to make sure things are over engineered so that if they are put to the test there will be no doubt about their performance.  The other issue I want to attempt to overcome is the bowing on the Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Shattered Plaza foundation.

So this post is going to be in three sections.  The first part will deal effectively with what I did to strengthen the board sections, the second part will describe my approach to mitigating the bow in the Shattered Plaza foundation and finally, the last part of this post will detail my plans on how I’m going to approach painting these massive board sections.  So go grab a cuppa, get comfy and we’ll begin.

My plan to strengthen the board sections involves using an expandable foam to fill in the back of the board.  Thus giving it a solid back that means should pressure be applied to the top of the board (like someone leaning over it) the board wont flex and potentially crack.  So off I went to my local Barnes and picked up some expandable foam and a few other bits an pieces from a local hardward shop.  You can see what I’m going to use in the picture below.

Basically the plan is to use a piece of MDF with 10-14 20mm holes drilled into it to cover the back of the board and held in place with clamps while the expandable foam is poured into the holes and allowed to do its thing.  Once the foam has set, I remove the MDF and poof! the board is now a solid piece of foam and unknown FW casting material…


Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 1 via www.thepaintingbunker.comA few of the items above is the expandable foam (grows 5 X its volume) a 605 x 605mm piece of 9mm MDF, a 20mm drill bit, some paddle pop sticks for stirring, a few cups to mix in, a set of scales to get the quantities right and some Vaseline to apply to the side of the MDF that’s exposed to the foam so it won’t stick.  I did the math on how much foam I’d need to do one board (I just wanted to test one to determine weather or not I should do more in the future).  The math went like this.  1ml = 1cm2, so 60cm X 60cm (the size of the board) X 2cm (the approximate height of the board at the highest point) = 7200cm2 or 7.2L  From there, I divided it by 5 (the foam expands 5 times its starting mass).  This left me with about 1.45L.  So I got 2 x 1kg worth of foam mix to do the first board section.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 2 via

So I marked up the board and drilled 12-ish 20mm holes around the place.  These would act as both a pour location, and also a vent for the foam to expand into.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 3 via

This is a picture of the board with all its holes drilled into it.  If I had my time over, I would have put four more in it.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 4 via

Next I applied the vaseline to the board.  I used vaseline because its viscose enough not to be absorbed into the MDF, and also should hopefully prevent the foam sticking to the MDF, therefore allowing me to remove the board once the foam has set.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 5 via

I put a fairly liberal amount of vaseline on to the board to ensure I’d have no complications when it comes time to remove it


Before I went and actually poured the whole amount of the foam onto the board, I made up a small amount to test that the vaseline would actually stop it from adhering to the MDF.


Great success!  All going according to plan


So I clamped the MDF onto the Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board ready to pour the foam.


I mixed the foam up in 6 x 200ml batches (both resin and catalysts).  The foam has a very short time between when its mixed and when it start to expand.  20 sec in fact.  So I had to be quick.  I did most of the pouring from the edges and worked my way into the middle.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 11 via

You can see in this picture that the foam is starting to expand out of the holes… my plan seems to be working.  After 15mins I removed the MDF board to find this…

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 12 via

A little bit disappointed with the results to be honest.  I see two problems.  The first is the amount of foam required to do this.  It would cost in excess of $500 to do all eight sections.  The other is the inconsistency of the result.  As you can see, in some areas its risen up to the backing board, but in other areas its not even covering the entire surface area.  Another small issue I encountered was the heat generated as a result of the curing process.  It did get me worried for a while there, but in the end it was all good.

I won’t be doing this for the other 7 sections because of the cost involved.  If it weren’t so expensive, I would as this board section now is very tough, I could easily drive a car over it and I doubt there would be any noticeable damage, seriously.  A great learn though, and I’m glad I went through with it as it’s given me some useful insights into other applications for this process.

Ok, onwards.  How to deal with the bow in the Shattered Plaza.

My remedy for this is quite simple really, stick a piece of 6mm MDF thats roughly the size of the Plaza foundation to the underside of the section so that the large, thin flat expanse has something to reinforce it from underneath therefore giving it greater rigidity.  So lets get started, below is what I used for this part of the project.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 13 via

You can see in the picture a pice of 300mm x 250mm x 6mm MDF, some “liquid nails” (this stuff is strong as!), and a chalking gun.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 14 via

All I did was simply apply a liberal amount of liquid nails to the MDF and placed it in the centre of the underside of the Plaza

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 15 via

I then placed a box on the MDF, so that when I inverted it, the board section would be suspended.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 16  via

Then when I turned it upside down, placed some weight on it so that a firm bond could be achieved.  Simple.  They say simple plans are often the best… well, this is testament to that adage.

So now that those two aspects of the preparation stage have been dealt with, lets look at actually painting this model.

My plan for painting the boards is going to be in 5 stages.

  • Preparation (undercoating etc)
  • Roads
  • Random details (Rhino, Rapier ect)
  • Building plinths (foundations)
  •  Tie in the details

Lets look at stage one, Preparation.  Now, as some of you may remember, I had a few problems with paint coming off my first attempt at painting a Forge World Realm of Battle board section.   I attributed this to my over enthusiasm at the time and not giving the board section a thorough wash, and using an inappropriate undercoat.  I wont make the same mistake twice.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 17 via

I started off by giving each piece a very thorough scrubbing with warm soapy water, rinse with pressurised water and then leaving it in the shade to dry.  I felt this was a bit was a major error I made last time.  Although I did wash my first board section, it was nowhere near as vigourous as this time around.

Forge World Realm of Battle Cityscape Board Preparation 18 via

Next, I gave every piece a good undercoat with this product.  Its actually an automotive paint, which is design to “key” a plastic surface so that the paint has something better to adhere to.  It was a little disconcerting using it, as it comes out clear, so I had to be very careful and really pay attention to what I was doing so I didn’t over spray or under-spray any areas.

So thats that, everything is now prepared and undercoated.  I plan on giving the second stage, the roads a good whack over weekend, so perhaps I’ll have a post by Sunday or Monday with some actual colour to show you.

Thanks for dropping in,


  1. Rob Harvatt says:

    Looking awesome my friend! I would use expandable foam in a can it’s used for filling holes in walls and such, cost wise about $10 -15 per can , so all 8 boards will set you back about $40 to do! And this stuff sets solid as well!
    Cheers Rob

    • John says:

      I actually looked at that having used it previously to fill in vinyl kits. I did the numbers and it seemed to come out more than that. Maybe I’ll look into it again tho

  2. Sean Mitchell says:

    Hi John, although you found a solution to the rigidity issue. I have seen sellys expandafoam (space invader) in a spray can might be worth checking out.

  3. Mick Keep says:

    Liquid Nails never fails – simple yet effective. Good to see you got it sorted, cant wait for some progress shots

  4. cvtuttle says:

    Ah you did exactly what I was thinking with the bowed section. Ok great. If that worked for you, it’s going to work great for me!

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