Friday, 23 March 2012

Isandlwana backdrop

I needed a backdrop for a future project I am doing for part of the battle of Isandlwana. I considered painting the mountain of Isandlwana on a sheet of board but decided in the end to make it out of some polystyrene that I had lying around.

 As my table is only 7 x 5 foot and the backdrop would be running along the length of the table I didn't want it coming out to far into the table and taking up valuable playing area. The piece of polystyrene also dictated how big the backdrop was going to be and by scale it turned out to be a tiny little hill.

The measurements for the backdrop are 4 foot long in two 2 foot sections, 9.5 inches high (could have done with being a little taller but it was all the polystyrene I had at the time) and the base was only 4 inches deep. I didn't want the base coming out to far as the table was only 5 foot wide.

It was constructed using polystyrene shaped roughly to the size I wanted, wooden chips/bark from the garden centre was then glued onto the surface and when dried, the gaps were filled in with tile grout. I then covered with PVA glue in appropriate places and sprinkled small stones and sand onto this. When dried paint and flock to match table surface. 

In the last picture you can see how narrow the depth of the base is with the side on shot.
I will need to purchase quite a few tents and wagons at Salute in April to give it the right look of the British camp at Isandlwana. I have also finished making the donga for this project which I will show in a future post.


  1. Great work Sir! That looks really effective and I especially love the final photograph showing the width. A wonderful illusion.

  2. Great work .. amazing what a bit of optical illusion effect will do . I llok forward to seeing the final camp .

  3. Well the darn thing looks just brill so far!!


  4. That looks great. Very very effective.

  5. wow, like a hollywood set backdrop - great work.

  6. Great looking backdrop and table!

  7. That's gorgeous. I really like the forced perspective. Well done.

  8. Looks like a film set! Excellent

  9. Gosh, Silver Whistle - how on earth did I miss this? What a wonderful idea for a backdrop - great construction, and a great committment to making your game look fantastic. I can't wait to see it in action!

  10. Another fine looking piece of work!

  11. I have just been pointed in your direction by Mad Guru on TMP, I am astounded by the level of detail.

    Question as I am UK based where did you get the Bark from all I can find is mulch. I have a NWF project that you have inspired me to try something a bit different with

    1. Hi Si and thanks for the kind remarks.
      Sorry for the delay in replying but I have just returned from family summer holidays.
      I also have been on the hunt for decent bark, having checked out the big DIY stores and local garden centre. The bark I used was from a local garden centre but I was not that happy with it as it was more mulch than bark and I had to try and pick the best bits and dry them out before using. I know you can get the big bags of bark in this country because a few years ago I used some to cover a garden path but I can't remember where I purchased it from.
      Let me know if you come across some and look forward to seeing your NWF project develop