Street life

March 13, 2014

One of my all time greatest challenges when designing an urban board has been the creation of the city streets. Fixed or modular? Plastic, sandpaper, cardboard, felt? Should I paint in road markings? Maybe print out graphics and stick them to something? Seriously, plenty of projects have fallen on the wayside because I haven’t been able to figure out a good way to make all the streets before enthusiasm for the project has waned. As I don’t want my Pacific Rim project to go down that road, something had to be done.

I took a trip down to a hardware store. I had a plan to buy some vinyl flooring mat, if I could find a suitable texture or print. On my way to the flooring section, I happened to pass through the wallpaper section, and there were some pretty nice designs there, including one that had a suitable grey colour and some lovely texturing. I ended up buying a roll, which is approximately 10 times more than I’ll probably ever need in my wargaming life. The texture might be a bit large for 2-3mm scale, but then again pretty much anything apart from sandpaper is. This also allows me to use the wallpaper for building streets for 28mm as well. The wallpaper is surprisingly durable, and any small wear simply shows up as small white spots which don’t look out of place with the texture.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Now I had a roll of wallpaper looking an awful lot like blacktop, but nothing to attach it to. The smart guy that I am, I marched into the fiberboard section and bought some thin fiberboard. I then got home, cut the fiberboard into two smaller sections, taped the edges, glued some wallpaper on and had a perfect playing field! Or rather, would’ve had if I had remembered a little something called “warping”. As it was, I ended up with a wonky piece of fiberboard, which I simply binned rather than try and spend time to straighten it.

Next I turned to an old favourite of mine, blue insulation foam. I had used this to build a Blood Bowl pitch and most of an Aliens game board (which I really should finish one of these days), so it was a familiar material. I picked up a leftover piece, tried gluing some wallpaper to it with PVA glue and well…

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

…it turned out lovely, actually. What did we learn here? Find something that works (blue foam) and stick (wallpaper) to it. With this, I’ve bought a few sheets of Finnfoam which is our local brand of insulation foam. We’ll see what comes out of this! Comments welcome as always.


  1. Its always the obvious in your face stuff that we forget to use. Look forward to seeing how it comes out. Sand paper is another non expensive surface that you could use.


    • Thanks for the comment! I’ve been thinking about sand paper, but I’m a little woried about knocking minis down on it. The finest grades shouldn’t be too much of a problem though, as they’re almost paper smooth.


  2. […] the edges of a 60 x 120 cm Finnfoam sheet with blue masking tape, and then gluing wallpaper (see this post) to it. The operation went fairly smoothly – literally – as there were only a few small […]


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