I have several of the FW tiles, but I honestly wanted something that was more modular. I saw the secret weapons tiles when they started their kickstarter and almost jumped in then, but I held back and waited for reviews. Reviews were pretty darn good and when I went to Adepticon this year and got to see the tiles in person. I was honestly blown away with the quality at the price point. So I started planning my table.
The 24 tiles cost me a little over 230 US with my 10% SW discount. In total I used about 100 dollars with of paint, masking material, glue, sand and acrylic finish. Total project was 20 hours of work. An air brush is essential. You could do this with spray cans, but double your time layout.
Here are most of my almost finished tiles, just short the final rust and corrosion effects that will be covered in part 2 of this tutorial. What I opted for was a mix of the two different urban systems, 16 of the Clean and 8 of the Damaged urban streets the two different patterns integrate seamlessly and give you the option of really customizing the board. The major difference between SW and GW tiles is simple, GW tiles are 2'x2' and SW tiles are 1'x1'. There are several benefits to the latter the main one being the ability to make your board look different every time. The GW tiles are also overly gothic in my opinion. Another bonus to this system over GW is you aren't stuck in 2'x2' configs. I game on a ping pong table kit for my pool table. It easily fits a 5'x9' table, which is easy with this system. So Apoc and larger games are easy to do. Secret weapon also has other tile types that fully integrate in with the urban tiles, scrapyard, rolling fields w/river, ancient city and deadzone. The last being a zone mortalis look. I see about 24 tiles of various types in the long run.
I took this photo to show how well GW terrain works with the SW system, to the right of the building is a 2'X2' FW city tile that also integrates in almost seamlessly, what is meant to represent road on the FW tiles looks more like an elevated side walk for pedestrians. A consistent color pallet helps tie the tiles together. Adding these FW tiles as accents and features, really makes this system a stand out. The GW and FW tiles do not tie well tighter honestly, these do.
I gave the tiles a quick wash with dish liquid, probably didn't need it but with the price layout it was a simple step to ensure the paint took well. I used flat gray Rustoleum paint/primer in one for the base coat. I use this paint almost exclusively on plastics now, 1/4 the price of GW, available in about 20 primer colors and it obscures NO detail. One caveat I have found, give it a solid day to dry. I think the formulation of the GW paint does produce an identical surface a little quicker. It is rare I need to prime and paint the same day though.
For the road color I tried a new product and could not be happier.
Krylon chalky finish furniture paint. Basically it finishes an extreme matte with a chalky look. Perfect for pavement. The color is anvil gray. I of course did a test plate first but was really happy with the result. Krylov is about 5 dollars a can and one can finished all the pavement sections of my 24 tiles 4'x6' set.
I found the quickest way to paint these tiles was to mask them. Don't try and run the tape edge to the curb edge, slap it on, use a flat edged plastic tool to push it firm against the curb. I used a putty trowel, then cut it with a sharp blade. I also use quality masking tape. It costs two times as much, but it never bleeds and releases more cleanly.
The result is nice hard lines.
From here I did a test tile, to see what the end result would look like. I am going cover all of these steps in the next part of the tutorial. It is an important step at this point though. I had seen several boards using the airbrush shading applied to the individual squares on the tiles. I tried it here, but did not like having the all one direction. I wanted a random look, like the individual blocks were settling in random directions, this really helps to break up the look later. I repainted this tile as I did the rest.
I tried a couple different materials to do the shading. The plastic notebook covers on my old college notebook proved to be the best and this was something headed for the garbage bin. I tear all of the covers off now and keep them for future masking projects. This process takes a little while to get the technique and get rolling but once you do, it will take you about 2-4 hours to get all of the tiles done, the end result is worth the time investment in my opinion.
When doing the tiles with 64 blocks it is best to get 4-8 going at once. Doing a town at a time and making it off, then going to the next tile, by the time you get through 8 rows, the first tile is dry.
After the shading comes the first wash. Because of the volume you need I find mixing your own to be much more cost effective. I mix sepia, burnt umber and black craft ink with matte medium and a solution to break surface tension. Basically swap the tiles down, wait about a minute and then with a horizontal swipe with a flat not balled up paper towel wipe up the excess, this will dirty up all the tile recesses. I use agrax shade on areas I want a little darker, but applied it sparingly.
I am sorry I don't have a photo of the same tile finished but this is the end result. A good layer of grime in the recesses.
I wanted to do some water effects on a couple tiles on the board. To do this you need to first add some color tones to the area that will get the water effects, I wanted a mucky water look so i used greens and browns.
Next, give the board its final highlights. I used a cool gray with a blue hue. This gives the board a huge boost in texture and defines the rocks in your water feature.
Woodland Scenics realistic water, LOVE THIS STUFF. One of the best things about it is you can add acrylic paint to it and it doesn't take a lot. I added green.
I find the best way to add water effects is with a dropper, you need control and pouring it does not achieve it. If you get bubbles the best way to pop them is a dry brush with a little poke. Some bubbles work on the boards though. Also, you don't ever need to shake your bottle of realistic water, all you do is add hundreds of bubbles.
Fished water. This stuff needs to dry for atlas 2 days. Never touch it to check it's drying, you will end up with finger prints in it. Just let it do it's thing.
In 2 days it is hard and ready to game on. The recommendation is you never go deeper than 1/2 inch. I know people do, but I never have had too. It really adds character to a gaming board though.
This is the end of part 1. I will cover traffic markings, weathering and chipping effects as well as seal coating in part 2 in a week or so. Hope you enjoyed this.