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Life’s a Beach: Operation Getting the Horn Part II

A hectic day yesterday as the terrain build took centre stage.  Having decided on the layout I headed across to our local B&Q to get the material for the boards.  I consulted my chum and arch terrain builder, Jim Ibbotson from Evesham, to ask him how he made his supplementary terrain boards for his Citadel boards, only to discover that he never had as the 10mm thickness presented real issues.  He recommended that I went with two types of wood, MDF backing with a hardboard top to reduce the danger of warping.  In the event, two 8′ by 4′ sheets of 6mm MDF and 3mm hardboard cost me about £20 and that included having them sliced up on the big machine.  Despite having allegedly gone metric in 1971, most wood in the UK is still produced in Imperial sizes, so one would think that I’d get eight 24″ square boards from the sheets.  However, the blade of the cutter removes around a third of an inch with each cut, so in the end I went with boards 24″ by 18″for this project.


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The net result of this is that I have a lot of surplus wood, but it will, I am sure, come in useful at some point and twenty quid was not a huge spend.

So, thus equipped, I joined the MDF sections to the hardboard with PVA glue.  I placed a heavy weight on them and they dried pretty quickly.  Where any gaps were present I shoved in some runny Superglue and stood on the boards for ten minutes to compress them fully.  The true power of Lard!  The two sections were 9mm rather than the 10mm of the Citadel boards, but my thoughts were that the coats of paint on the beach would take care of that discrepancy.

Okay, next step was to sort out some small sand dunes to the rear of the beach.  I wanted just 4″ of beach so these were to be pretty small.  I used blue high density polystyrene which I cut up with the bread knife when the missus wasn’t looking.  I then added this to the boards with my trusty hot glue gun.

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These bits were pretty rough, but a quick sand down with a sanding block (sandpaper would be equally good) saw them smooth out nicely.  Sharp-eyed readers may note that there are 32 Arab slavers being undercoated in the background.  Thanks to Number II daughter for taking the snap with her shadow in it and (clearly) distorting the image to make me look fat!

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With that done, I used some fast-drying Polyfilla to smooth these out even more.  As can be seen, I simply piped this on straight from the tube.

IMG_3426 As readers may recall from my Imaginations series of articles, this stuff dries quickly.  I got a pot of water and immediately began smoothing out the filler so I got a nice smooth transition from the polystyrene and the boards.  Dab off any surplus water with a bit of kitchen roll as wood and water do not make fine bed-fellows.  We need to avoid warping at every stage or the whole lot may as well go in the bin now.

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With that done, I then piped on some thin lies of filler which I just wanted to give the beach some texture to represent the way the waves had left their mark.  Again, I used water to smooth this out.

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Once that had dried, I added some sand and gravel to give it some more texture.  This was simply put in place with some PVA glue. You can see the beach area of all three boards here.

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When that was dry, I tipped off the surplus gravel and sand and painted the beach area with some B&Q Textured Paint.  This was also recommended to me by Young Jim.  You can see it here with HMS Chlamydia’s Cutter standing just off in the surf.  I used two coats of textured paint on the land-side, with just one coat where the water meets the sea.

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And that was that for the day as we had a big game of Chain of Command laid on at the club.  I ordered some additional supplies, namely a big sheet of blue foam 3″ thick and a couple of smaller sheets 1″ thick along with some more Humbrol spray paint.  The Styrofoam was a BIG expense, just shy of fifty quid whilst the textured paint was twenty knicker for a vast tub which will last me years, whereas some PROPER Yacht varnish, i.e. not the water based crap they sell you in the local DIY store, was just £12 for a litre.   Thus far the project has rocked in at £115 in total, but I can’t see it costing me anything much more than that as most of what I plan will come from my spares box.  Right, onwards and upwards, there is much to be done!

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4 Responses

  1. Phil Taylor says:

    Great stuff – who makes the cutter? Looking forward to the next update.

  2. Big Rich says:

    Phil, it’s a conversion of a toy rowing boat. Fatty did it. It’s a lovely model, ideal for running onto the beach and attacking naughty people.

  3. quick tip with the textured paint, is paint it on and immediately sprinkle on sand, then leave to dry and remove the excess. it just adds a bit more textuye to the paint

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