New Year, New Project! DIY Space Gaming Board

It’s tough out there at the moment. And when the going gets tough, the tough go retro… but more on that in due course! In this post, we present for your delectation a quick and easy project that I actually managed to get done over the course of a day (!)

I began with our Deadzone board – for those who don’t recall this 2018 project, this was based on a 24″ x 33″ piece of scrap hardboard I had lying around. Now, the thing about hardboard is it has two sides, so I began by turning it over and spraying it black. Took about three passes with the cheap pound shop spray paint I had to hand.

None more black

Now, I’ve seen a couple of guides on how to do starfield effects using clever tricks with airbrushes or spray paints in exotic colours, but the fact is I don’t have any of that stuff to hand, and because we’re in lockdown (and Austerity January… meaning no money being spent on hobby stuff – although in deference to the extraordinary current circumstances we might bend that rule a little..) I really had no way of getting any of it.

What I did have was a big old splodgy DIY brush and some yellow, red and blue craft paint which is more than a little translucent – in fact, it’s startlingly similar to Citadel Contrast paint – so I stippled clouds of this stuff on strategic locations and feathered the edges using an old brush and some water to blend as naturally as possible back to the black background.

Not going to win any prizes yet, but stay with me…

Next up – stars! This one was fairly straightfoward after a couple of false starts – dip brush in white paint (in this instance, Dulux Jasmine White), flick bristles at board… stars! Took me a couple of goes to get the hang of spattering the paint in the right direction, so the project took a brief hiatus here while I cleaned paint off the floor, the walls, the TV and myself. Still…

Now we’re talking!

Finally – the tedious bit. For th game we wanted to play, I was going to need to separate the board into squares. So, tape measure and ruler in hand, I duly marked off 2″ squares and using a straight edge painted in the lines using the same Goblin Green Dan’s been using to base his retro Marines. I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for that colour! This took a while, but was fundamentally a simple process, and the slight translucency of the paint I like to think gives the effect of looking at a hololith-style display. Result:

And there we have it, all ready for gaming!

And the game we’re going to use it for?

Brace yourself, because we’re going aaaaaaaaaaaaaalllll the way back……..



Oh hell yes! From 1991, with expanded rules published in White Dwarf 139 (the same issue as the Blood Angels army Dan is paying tribute to) this game is intended for two or more players aged 8 and up, so even after a brew we should be able to handle it. First game was Friday via Zoom and we’ll be putting a battle report up along with an in depth review soon of this interesting little curio from GW’s distant past, ancestor of Battlefleet Gothic. Being in squares and using the little helm computers makes it a good candidate for remote gaming (in fairness, Betrayal at Calth or Deadzone or Firefight would probably have also been good candidates, but hey…) and it certainly was a blast last Friday.

Next up, we need to make some model ships!

As you can see, not exactly a visual feast! But great fun nonetheless

So there we have it, a brand new project to keep us both sane in what will hopefully be the final COVID lockdown… so wherever you are reading this, stay safe, stay thrifty, hang in there because better days are coming.


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