This post is a quick “how to” make small islands for your naval games, these were made to use with my 1/3000 WW2 ships.
These islands are not based on any “real / actual” islands they are just put together to look reasonable on the table for my games.
Below is a simple almost stage by stage guide to how I make them, I hope you find this useful.
1 – I used a piece of hardboard I had taken off the back of some old cupboard I was throwing away, my basic tools for this was a Stanley knife with a few new blades and some sheets of sandpaper, please use whatever method you are happy with to cut the hardboard, use the tools you are more familiar with, and please be safe.
2 – I cut out some shapes which would eventually look a little like islands.
3 – These pieces I then cut a sloping edge all around so they would look something like a beach or at least and edge going down into the water.
4 – These I then sanded down to make everything smooth and neat.
5 – Then using off cuts of polystyrene I cut rough shapes that looked something like small mountain ranges, I then scored the hardboard with the Stanley knife ( but only the middle areas, not to close to the edges ) so that the pieces of polystyrene would have something to stick to.
6 – Once I was happy with the basic shapes of the mountains I stuck them all down with loads of PVA glue.
7 – 8 Once these were dry ( I left these over night to make sure they were really dry ) I then mixed some PVA glue with ready mixed Polyfilla, the amounts used for this were about 2 parts filler to 1 part glue, the finished gloop was just thin enough to brush onto the islands using a large old artists brush this allowed me give a good texture over the island which would dry brush up really well, this should also be thick enough to fill any gaps that you see.
9 – Once the filler covering has dried, again I left mine over night to make sure it was dry and hard, it was time to paint. I use cheap B&Q sample pots for jobs like this and the colour I used was slate grey, this makes a great fairly dark grey undercoat.
Once this was dry I used a dark wash over everything, this is a mix I make myself from cheap black acrylic paint and water, this is much cheaper than using expensive small pots of washes or something similar.
10 – Then once this was dry I got an old brush I use for dry brushing and hit all the raised areas on the islands with a light grey, then the final painting step was a very light dry brushing of white just around the very tips of the mountains.
11 – The last stage is putting all the trees on the islands, now this is fun!! First I cut cheap kitchen scourers into hundreds of small pieces, these would be the trees on the islands.
I then used tweezers and superglued these in place one at a time, once these were dry I went over them with the dark wash I used earlier, then I gave them a very light dry brushing of a light green just catching the very top edges of the trees, finally I hit the whole lot with a light dusting of matt varnish to seal them and protect them.
And that’s it, all done and ready to use in your games, this method can be used on bigger scale islands, I did similar ones to use in games of Man-O-War and Uncharted Seas, but as they were slightly bigger I had to do a little more work with the trees, but it did allow for some extra details like sandy beaches and coves and the odd building or two.
So I hope you find this useful.