Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Viking Shore Part 2 - The Shore


Hello All!  It's been awhile, I know I know I know.

I shall reward your patience with lots of pictures.  Every blog reader likes pictures.  

In the last post, I built a Viking Longship  and remarked that I had no coast or river bank to put it on.  So after all that work, the Vikings remained quite lame.  "We have a ship, I PROM-mise."  

In this post, I solve that problem by building some edge-of-the-waterfront terrain.  This was an ambitious project mainly for 2 reasons; 

1: I really don't know what I am doing; I just copy others off the internet.

2: Since my hobby time has been squished to the wee hours of the night and only one special nights, perhaps it was the wrong time to take on a large terrain project.  

But I do enjoy making terrain;  especially when it comes out looking half decent.  I suppose I could of posted WIP shots along the way instead of leaving the blog silent; but I wanted it all in one post for the sake of completeness.  Also, I had a really bad paper cut that prevented typing.  

Shore line terrain

I wasn't so much going for a beach but more for a the bank of some large navigable river.  I know I called this series of posts "The Viking Shore' and that implies a beach but I don't like the beach.  It's sandy, the water is freezing, the air is hot, and I sunburn easily.  

Where do trout keep their money? In the River Bank of course.  

I made two sections of River bank.
Each one is a little over 2 and half feet long, and around 9" deep.

I know rivers are more realistic if brown or gray colored.
But I life my water blue.  Blue like my dreams of the Caribbean;
Where the waters are warm and the beeches nude.

Lets see some close ups shaaaallll we?

I made two of these so that one can be used on a smaller skirmish table or both together on a larger table.

Both together on the 6' side of a 6'x4'.
There's enough room there for 2 Viking Lonships.
(Sing it now! To the tune of Moon River)
"Fooooore-shadow!  Hinting at what comes next.."

No Longer Lame Vikings

As mentioned, the WHOLE POINT of making the river bank is really just have a place for the Longship to sit on the table to attract Lady Viking groupies.  Let's see how that turned out:

kinda like that, But I can set the scene better.

"We're here.
Let's go steal stuff."


Construction pics of the River Bank

Here is a brief phot essay on the making of the terrain.  Notice that I stopped calling it shore and am now calling it a river bank.  That's called a transition.  It's what writers do.  

I took the last pieces of hardboard that I had lying around and cut them to shape
and beveled the edges.  Then I primed them black on both sides to prevent warping (I'm not sure if that really helps, it's just something I read about and in the habit of doing).
Then I cut some foam board to strips to make the rough shape of the bank.

Then I used wall spackle/filler to build up the bank to the foam board.
I added some undulations on top of the foamboard as well as
strategically placing some rock molds

River bank covered with ground texture.  Mainly fine ballast and coffee grounds.
Same thing I used on my forest terrain.
Also add small rocks around the larger rock outcropping.

After everything is dry, painted the bank as one does.
I thought painting the bank before I bothered with the water would be alright.

Construction pics of the Water 

Creating the water effects was a process I copied from the internet using toilet paper (we're not hoarding this stuff anymore right?  Pandemic is over right?).  If you type in 'toilet paper + glue = realistic ocean water" into google there is a nice man from Sweden named Marklin with an excellent video.  It's for his model railroad.  It's amazing what you can find on the internet and how smart people are.  I love the internet.  .

Back to making wargaming terrain

If you care to watch the video, Marklin does a much better job of laying out the steps but start with..

put down a layer of glue only slightly watered down.


On top of the glue place strips of TP.  Go over it with a brush dipped in the gluey water.
Add layers as necessary to get good coverage.
I was going for just a wavy ripple effect versus an actual tide.
To get it, I used the brush to dab and push and basically just be fussy with the stuff
until I thought it looked right.

Here's how they looked when everything was dry.
I used an exacto knife to slice off any excess TP hanging off the edges.
You can see that in spots where the TP was thin that the black primer shows through.
That didn't happen to the Marklin!  I must of messed up.   
I was however pleased that the ripples in the TP were very solid.

Now it's time to paint the water.
This was a little nerve racking because I've never tried to paint water before.
Luckily, I was kinda super duper smart about it all:
(even a blind chicken will peck a kernel of corn once in awhile.)
using some cardboard, I had made a practice piece.
First I used to to practice putting on the TP (shown on left)
and now it would make good practice for the painting (on the right).

Paint the water using a wet blending method.
I had to look it up too.
I tried to make the water at the back of the piece look deeper by being darker.

Let the paint dry.
To get the glossy affect that water has, I coated the water sections
with gloss varnish.  A good idea stolen from the internet.

Looks like this when it dries.  Add more coats of varnish if necessary
though I found one coat sufficient.

Last step not pictured:  when everything is dry again - add flock to taste.
And there we have it.  I hope you found the process as exciting to read as it was to write.  
Maybe just mildly entertaining?

Plans are for Suckers

I was just thinking about how two months ago, I had zero plans about doing anything like this.  Wasn't even in my brain that I'd be embarking on creating a dark ages shore.  The whole project just kinda sprung out of nowhere.  I think it's one of the joys of our hobby that you can just go where the inclination / inspiration takes you.  It's a fun little hobby really.  Or is that's just an excuse for being distracted.  I waaaaas planning on doing some AWI stuff.  


'The Big Move' as I am now calling it; is progressing slowly.  We're much more in the phase where we are just trying to pack up stuff and put it in to storage than we are in the phase of looking for the next place to live.  We. Have. SO. MUCH. Stuff.  Least I get some exercise by moving the boxes.  I oughta have arms as big as tree trunks by the time this is over.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for leaving a comment.  I appreciate it.  Won't be over a month till my next post.  PROM-mise.


  1. Looks good Stew and worth the effort, at least the Vikings have somewhere to land their boat now. And I love the fact that the hobby allows you to do what you want who cares as long as you enjoy it πŸ‘ good luck with those AWI πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks Matt!
      Yes, the Vikings are happy and now I’m happy coming up with scenarios / excuses for putting it all out on the table.
      I was never one to take this hobby too seriously. πŸ˜€

  2. A great idea well executed. Also impressed at the size of the pieces and the fact that they don't look like they have suffered any warping.

    1. Thanks Norm! Yes, for the moment I don’t see any warping. (Quickly goes and checks again) yep, no warping. But I’m thinking that’s more due to luck than design. πŸ˜€

  3. Very nice method stolen/ borrowed from the Internet! I'm sure you'll get a lot of use out of it and always good to deviate from the plan when you get to have fun, I'm meant to be painting Napoleonics but I've made a really good start on a dark age village!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain! I tend to not take hobby plans too seriously unless I’m committed to hosting a game at a convention.
      I’m pretty happy with how it came out. And I’m pretty pleased to have my own unique terrain.
      I’ll be pleased to see your dark age village. Come to think of it; I need a dark age village. πŸ˜€

  4. 1. TP water (there's a phrase I hadn't imagined using this morning) turned out great, and it's nice that the lads have a place to park their boat.

    2. What kind of monster goes around peeling the bark off beech trees?

    3. Plans are for suckers, indeed. I have arrived at a point in my life where my hobby is the one place I get to indulge my whimsy, and I applaud anyone who takes the "if it feels good, do it" approach to fun.

    4. Having spent a considerable amount of my life moving every few years, I deeply sympathize with the "having stuff" challenge. Now you get the fun process of purging stuff, moving the rump, and then discovering that a) half the stuff you kept is still in a box a year later, and half the stuff you purged turns out to require urgent replacing. Good times ;)

    1. Thanks Fire! It is an odd turn of phrase isn’t it?
      Just the other day I found several boxes in the garage from our last move that we’ve never opened. I thought it Obvious stuff to throw away but the wife thought differently....πŸ˜€

  5. Looks great, and even though you said how big it was early on, I was surprised when I saw it in the action shots later on.


    anyway, you could probably add another section of riverbank, and then span a whole table edge!

    Good luck with packing and moving things to storage. (and subsequent looking for somewhere to live/waiting for market to stabilize (hopefully AFTER you sell!))

    1. Chuckle chuckle snort...!

      I am thinking that one day I’ll make another piece to join the two at the corner. πŸ˜€

  6. That's flippin brill mate! For an off-the-cuff effort, it came out so good.

    Good luck with the packing and storing. Always nice to do it in bits than all at once. I expect pics of these supposed popeye arms!

    1. Thanks a lot Dai. That’s a response I liked to read. πŸ˜€
      Why rush the joys of moving all at once when you could drag it out over many months... lol.

  7. Crazy (and challenging) time to be a home buyer! Lovely shoreline: an invaluable piece of terrain that will set you up for any number of scenarios--agree on the blue waters: good call!

    1. Thanks Ed. We’ll see how it all will work out.
      Blue water forever! πŸ˜€

  8. This is a terrific piece, Stew! I am not sure how the housing market is in your area but ours is CRAZY hot. Seems many are fleeing the west coast and moving inland prompted by a switch to telecommuting. Good luck in the house hunting.

    1. Thanks Jonathan!
      In some ways it doesn’t matter what the market is like right now as we’re not really in the position to sell yet. Maybe in a month or two. πŸ˜€

  9. Very nice looking river banks Stew, Vikings in the Caribbean could be a fun "what if?" scenario. :)

    1. Thanks A lot Tony. They might of made their way there. They probably enjoyed the nude beaches. πŸ˜€

  10. The aquatic terrain came out really well. I don't know if its realistic (and I don't care!) but the brightness of the water really makes it eye catching. Cold water before the industrial age had to have been pretty bright and blue looking or at least that's my thinking. The scenic pictures with the vikings and boat were excellent! I hope your move goes well! I've still got another week before I move I'd say. If people didn't know better, I think that we might be accused of moving slowly so as to try and squeeze more hobbying in before hand :D

    1. Thanks Jeff. I like the blue water too; I’m gonna double down and say that the blue water IS realistic bc this would be long before industrial pollution. πŸ˜€
      In truth, the move is going much more slowly than I would like but it’s our own fault really.

  11. Fantastic piece of water terrain Stew and it could even be a shore...not all seashore lines have a sandy beach attached! Good luck with the house hunting, from some of the earlier comments, sounds like house prices etc in your area are a bit like NZ at the moment...we have far too few available and its pushed the average price up to around one million dollars, with an average annual income of around $60k....it's crazy!

    1. Thanks Kieth! I guess it could be a shore but I’m been trained my whole life to think of the sea line as being Sunday beaches or tall rocky cliffs. πŸ˜€
      What the housing market is gonna be doing about two months from now when we actually will be close to being ready to sell our house is what I’m really interested in.

  12. Very effective and perfect for your Longship. Really sets the scene.

  13. I've had a very nice Gripping Beast longship that's been sitting complete for years that needs a piece of terrain like this. Great work Stew, I shall be taking inspiration from this in not ripping it off completely! All the best Andy

    1. Thanks very much Andy. I appreciate you leaving a comment. πŸ˜€
      You should totally rip it off; it’s essentially what I did. We stand on the shoulders of giants.