If you’ve been listening to our podcasts and watching our battle reports, you may know that a few of the Purge the Alien guys went to the Michigan GT in Lansing, MI this year. Although none of us placed or won top awards, we had a hell of a lot of fun. This fun was only possible with good prep. One thing I found that really helped to make things easier while at the Michigan GT was my mobile display cart. This thing was awesome! It helped me to keep my models on display without the hassle of carrying around a big display board and making multiple trips between tables just to lug my stuff around. Instead, I just put my dead models back on top of the cart and pushed my way to the next game. It was pretty amazing and I found myself prepping for the game, rereading the packet and just becoming mentally prepared while my opponent unpacked their models, moved their stuff around, etc. Not saying there is anything wrong with this approach! I just appreciated the simplicity of the rig. So on to how I did it!
1. Purchase the Olympia Tools Collapsible Cart
This thing is awesome! It’s a three tier cart that folds up and is of high quality. Decently priced too. Only $80 on Amazon (at the time of purchase). The only problem I had was that the shelfs were a bit too short for my cooler and my Battlefoam 720 bag. Check out the cart at the below link. Oh, and did I mention it qualified for Amazon Prime free shipping 🙂
Amazon – Olympia Tools Collapsible Cart
2. Cut the Display Board Foam
For this step, you will need some 1″ thick foam, a foam cutter (if you have one, a hobby saw works too), a permanent marker and a metal ruler. Unfortunately, the top tier of the cart isn’t exactly square, therefore, you will need to cut out the notches in the cart from the foam. Luckily, most measurements were round numbers and cutting the foam was relatively easy. Test fitting sure is nice too.
3. Model the Foam
I didn’t have much time to build the display (three days!!) so it’s pretty simplistic, however, you really could go all out with this thing. I built two hills on either side and a small path in the middle for my Leman Russes to drive through. I plan on adding more details to it later like some sandbags, barbed wire, etc. But the basic hills certainly work for the time being. For modeling the foam, I used a Dremel to cut the foam and make it look like rocks. Using the wire brush tool for the Dremel did the trick. Just be careful though, it likes to get caught and cut too far into the foam! Oh, and don’t forget to test out the size of the display to make sure all of your models fit.
4. Add Some Basing
For my basing, I just simply added some basic sand. However, you can add whatever you want. Simply paint on some PVA glue and throw the sand on top. I did the whole display at once, however, I would recommend doing it in sections to make sure the glue doesn’t dry and soak into the foam before it has a chance to adhere to the glue.
5. Paint the Base
For painting the base, be sure NOT to use spray cans!!!! This will essentially melt the foam and make it all warped due to the aerosol in the can. Instead, use an airbrush to base if you have access to one as it’s a quick and easy job. Luckily for me, Shawn (another member of PTA) was kind enough to basecoat mine for me (Thanks Shawn!!). It was basecoated with 3-4 coats of Baneblade Brown. Be sure you get a few pots though as the apparently the foam really soaks up the paint. Also, be sure to paint in any other details. I painted in the cliffs Mechanicus Standard Grey in order to add some depth to the board.
6. Dry Brush the Base and Add Details
For my board, dry brushing was really the quickest and easiest option to get it looking half way decent. I dry brushed the all of the sand areas with Rakarth Flesh and the cliffs with Dawnstone. After these dry brushes were complete, I went over the whole board with White Scar to help the features blend together. This matched my bases perfectly and allowed them to blend in when placed on the board.
7. Use It!
Finally, the step where you’re rewarded for all of your hard work. Using this thing was awesome. I went out and specifically bought a cooler that would fit underneath, had plenty of space for some snacks, a gallon of water, all of my rulebooks and gaming supplies. My Battle Foam pouch even fit onto the collapsible bars in the back! This thing truly did make going to tournaments a lot easier and I plan on using it many times in the future. Hopefully you are able to build one too!