My modular terrain boards are home made, since they were first produced over 50 years ago and predate any commercial boards. They are based on 8mm polystyrene sheets stuck onto 3mm hardboard backing. Most are 12 inches square and they all have the polystyrene side cut into river or stream sections and the hardboard side blank. I create a layout of river and stream sections, then flip the rest of the boards over to fill in with blank terrain. The whole system can be seen here.
I also have some half size terrain boards, which are useful for creating more complex river shapes.
I decided that I needed some waterside terrain to represent estuaries and coasts. I started by cutting boards to the right size and undercoating both sides of them. I used card tubes from the centre of kitchen paper rolls as spacers, to stop the board sticking to the newspaper on my table whilst painting them (confession – that was Plan B when my first attempt did stick to the newspaper).
I painted the back (rough) side of the board with my normal green terrain emulsion paint.
I then cut out suitable waterside terrain shapes and stuck these to the smooth side of the base board, using PVA glue (since my normal glue will melt polystyrene).
I then painted the land part of the board, using green for the ground and brown for the banks. The water is green, with light green swirled on top before it dries, then light blue swirled on top of that, again before it dries.
There are some entirely water sections (just 3mm hardboard with no polystyrene) and some half size sections, both of waterside and pure water. All of the water is then coated in five layers of clear varnish, slopped on to give an uneven rippled effect.
The sections which are pure water are painted as that on both sides, but one side has a variety of sandbanks painted onto them. some small ones and others more complex shapes designed to be fitted together. The sandbanks are layers of dark brown, light brown and yellow, with a blue wash over them, then the five layers of varnish.
I will use these waterside terrain sections to create scenarios of the capture of HMS Hazard in Montrose Harbour, the action on the River Forth (when the Royal Navy attempted to stop the Jacobites ferrying their siege guns across the river), the Dornoch Firth assault by the Jacobites (a very professional amphibious assault in three waves) and the skirmish of the Tongue (where the captured HMS Hazard, now renamed as “Le Prince Charles” was run aground whilst delivering £13,000 in gold, worth £25 million today, to the Jacobites).