Hobby Focus – Hoth Mortalis Gaming Board

40k comes to Hoth!

As Massaen and myself spoke about on the last Objective Secured podcast, I thought I’d throw some work in progress and finished shots of my new 4′ x 4′ Hoth Mortalis gaming board.


Inspiration and Planning

Well, the inspiration is quite clear from the title, being like most 30 something year old males, I was raised on a steady diet of Star Wars films. The Rebel’s Echo Base on the Ice world Hoth with it’s twisting narrow corridors carved out of ice seemed like a perfect setting for a low point skirmish game. The idea of doing a Zone Mortalis board has been floating around in my head for a while, and I’d had many ideas about how to make my own rather than buy Forgeworld’s epic tiles! So I thought I’d have a go using the blue foam that I’ve used before for other Obsec terrain.

As with any decent sized terrain project it’s always worth sketching out ideas first on paper. After that it’s time to start transferring them to the 2’x4′ 12mm thick MDF boards. After I’d sketched out the placement of the walls it was on to cutting the blue foam to fit, I actually made some small adjustments to the plans on one side here as one corridor was a little too open.


Painting and Filling

After cutting all the foam and getting everything laid out it was on to painting. First up was a general undercoat of blue acrylic mixed with PVA glue which added some rigidity and helped seal the foam. Once that was all dry the foam was glued down using contact cement (specifically formulated to be used with blue foam). When that was all set it was time to add some details and pieces to the walls and floors. Next it was on to using poly filler to the joints and intersections along with sections of the floors.

Painting and adding Snow

Using the method shown in Forgeworld’s Imperial Armour Model Masterclass Vol1  it was on to building up layers of basing and snow effects. This was done with a thick mix of PVA glue, blue paint, filler and sand/grit which was applied then sprayed with a mix of 50/50 PVA glue and water to soften it down and also add to it’s rigidity. These layers usually took approximately 24hours to fully dry. After 3 layers it was starting to come together nicely! Next I picked up a cheap white undercoat spray can and starting misting the paint all over the corridors, using this method means the blue undercoat is still visible but also starts to soften up the whole board. Then it was on to the snow effects, this was achieved by sprinkling bicarbonate soda all over the base then spraying hairspray over it to stiffen and fix it in place. Doing 3-4 layers of hairspray over the entire board also gives it a very hard finish and means a tough and fairly durable gaming surface! I think I actually went back over the whole and misted some white undercoat after this stage too.


Finishing up

Next it was on to finishing off the details and adding some extras to the board. I used Seraphim Sepia wash to the tops of the walls and parts of the floors to give some definition to the board. After that I used some Ryza Rust and Nihilakh Oxide on the panels and metal areas to give it a weathered and beaten look…as if the base was abandoned during a large scale ground assault…

Finally, I finished off by painting the tops of the walls black which adds a nice finish to the board and makes it easier to see what’s going on in pictures and videos!


I’ll be adding some doors and internal computer/comm stations at some point in the future. But for now it’s basically finished and playable!

If you have any questions get in touch!