Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Star Wars Scenery Showcase: Hoth

Fantasy Flight Games had commissioned be to build a Hoth-themed game board for the Star Wars: Legion miniatures game. If you were at Adepticon this year, you may have seen it in person. Now that it's debuted at the show, I can show off some photos of the completed board and talk about the process I used to build everything.


Like most of my boards, it started out with a wooden table frame and insulation foam for the top. I used a blue-green colored foam rather than pink to ensure that the color wouldn't show through the paint. I used two layers of one inch foam– Trenches could be cut into the first layer, and the second layer is used to build up hills. I shaped the foam and smoothed it over with wood filler putty to create areas of gradually sloping hills and rough rocky cliffs.



The table is made up of two 3' x 3' boards. One is mostly open plains with some modular snow formations, and the other is the rebel base with a trench line and hangar opening. There wasn't room to build a whole hangar, so I made the opening and first row of speeder bays. I planned to use an image from the movie as a backdrop for the hangar, so it would look like it extended much deeper, with the Millennium Falcon in the background. More on that later...


Fantasy Flight was kind enough to send some speeders and figures that I could use to scale everything and create wrecks for the tabletop.


The snow was a bit of a challenge. I needed something that would have an appropriately fluffy texture, and would be solid enough to resist chipping and denting. The solution was a mix of Great Stuff expanding foam and gesso for the body, and generous coatings of Modge Podge and latex paint. I sprayed a line of the Great Stuff foam, then immediately poured some gesso over it while the foam was still wet. I mixed the two, which created a spreadable consistency that resembled marshmallow Fluff. I used a sponge to "stipple" it out at the edges, and as it cured, the foam puffed up just a enough to create a perfect blend of fluffy and lumpy snow.


The cured foam and gesso developed some cracks and air bubble spots, but these were easily filled and smoothed over with wall spackling compound. I used textured plastic card for the walkway planks in the trench, and adhered them to the bottom of the trench with the foam and gesso mix.


The hangar and mountainside were built up with layers of foam. A few spots were textured and painted like rock face, and the rest of the area was covered with foam and gesso "snow."



In the trenches, I used thick copper wire with a grey plastic coating for the cables. The generators and tech bits were made from vaporator pieces I had left over from the Sullust and Lothol boards I made last year.


The turrets were made from round bases and plastic cups, cut down and melted to look as though the tops were blasted off. The other details were made from styrene card and strips.


The top of the hangar was the last thing to be finished, because I needed to detail the interior.


Inside, I used foam to model the angled walls. The blast doors were made from foam core board with styrene strips covering the edges.




The crates were resin castings from parts sent by Fantasy Flight. The ceiling was made from Great Stuff foam, cured and then sliced flat. I used some wood filler to make a "stucco" texture on the overhang, resembling icicles or mini stalactites.



Since Star Wars: Legion is a licensed property, the final terrain board had to go past Lucasfilm for approval, and they didn't want the hangar image in the background. In the end I had to cover it with an inner set of shield doors. It wasn't a drastic change, but Chewbacca was pretty sad because Luke and Han still hadn't returned...

"I'm sorry, your highness.  The shield doors must be closed."




I'm really happy with how the boards turned out–



The snow was painted with alternating layers of Modge Podge and flat white latex paint. Some shading was added with thinned down Formula P3 Underbelly Blue.


The large rocky formations were made from stacked layers of insulation foam, covered with the expanding foam and gesso.




The Snowspeeders a lot of fun to make. The models themselves look great, and were a breeze to paint. I wrecked them up by using a wood burning tool to score blast marks and pitting into the hulls. To paint the speeders, I sprayed them with dark grey Duplicolor Sandable Primer, and then gave them a light dusting of Testors Modelmasters Panzer Grey, then washed the entire thing with GW Agrax Earthshade. Once that dried, I drybrushed some highlights with a lighter grey and picked out all the details. The burns and engines were drybrushed with black and dark grey.



The speeders were mounted on a piece of 1/8-inch MDF, and the snow was built up with Great Stuff foam. Once the foam cured, I textured it with the foam/ gesso mix and painted it.










The turrets were painted the same way as the speeders, using the same colors to spray, wash, and drybrush them. I added a little more brown in the recesses though.






'Til next time!


  1. What a great board, but the crashed speeders are really the best part. Great color and animation on those.

  2. Bring this board in to Family Fun Hobbies to play with one Monday night!!!

    1. I don't have it anymore. This was a commission for Fantasy Flight.

  3. I am not a Star Wars fan (I know I suck!) but even I can appreciate how good that board is.

  4. Your formula for the snow works wonders, the best I've seen so far. But it is the speeders that steal the show.


All comments are moderated. Any comments containing links will not be approved and will be marked as spam.