Sunday, 17 November 2013

Tutorial: Make Your Own Attack Wing Board/Carry Case

Attack Wing is a fantastic game by its own right. If you’re a Star Trek fan, there is nothing greater than immersing yourself in that universe by taking command of your own fleet and engaging your enemy. The ability to play the game on any 3’x3’ square is great, but playing on your kitchen table can get tiresome. There are options to purchase vinyl or other surfaces to play on, but they can cost you over $50, and are not without their flaws. Today I hope to show you an affordable, fast, and fun method to paint your very own space scene, such as the one below!

... the final frontier!
NOTE: while I do have a bit of a background in the arts, I had never attempted anything like this before. Let me assure you, you do not need to be ‘artsy’ to make a fantastic looking scene with minimal practice!

To complete this project, the following materials will be required:
  • Two 2'x4' wood panels. I used MDF from Home Depot for ~$5 each. Thickness isn't important, but you want it thick enough to not deflect too much. Also, the thicker it is the more expensive it gets ...
  • Glossy Spray Paint. The more colours the better, but Black and White are essential. I'd advise a couple cans of glossy black. While you don't need expensive spray paint, the cheaper cans will have a less even spray.
  • A circular object for your planet(s).If you are making multiple planets, you will need multiple circular objects. I picked up a pot lid of a decent diameter from a thrift shop for cheap. The lid of a spray paint can is convenient for your moon(s). You can also use a penny for smaller celestial bodies!
  • Scrap magazine pages.
  • Painters tape.
  • Mask and rubber gloves.

Clear up a space you can spray paint in. Wind can be an issue, so using a garage space would be ideal. You also want good ventilation - you know, for health reasons and stuff.


Step 1: Place the two 2’x4’ wood panels flush against each other, such that you have a 4’x4’ board. You place them together so your space scene won’t be inconsistent. You’ll now want to measure out your 3’x3’ play area so that it is centered in the two boards. Use painters tape to outline the play area – we want this border to not be painted on, making it easy to identify the border of your play area.

Step 2: Choose the colours you want for your planet(s) and moon(s). You’ll need at least two colours, and complimentary ones work best – I used red and yellow for some, blue and green and purple for others. Mentally map out where you want the planet(s) and moon(s) to be located. Starting with the planet, spray the colours you want on top of one another in the general area you want the planet to be. You want the area covered with paint to be larger than the circular object you’re using for your planet.

Note: This is not my photo. I didn't have the foresight to take 'in progress' pics! Credit at end of article.
Step 3: With the paint still wet, you want to take a magazine page and place it flat on top of the spray painted areas. You can crumple up the magazine page in advance or leave it flat – it’ll just affect the pattern created. Pull the page off and the colours should have mixed in an interesting pattern. You can do this numerous times, adding more paint as you go along, until you are satisfied with the result. It may not look fantastic right now, but it’ll all come together…

Again, not my photo ...
 Step 4: Repeat the above process for as many planets and moons you’d like. I’d recommend not creating too many celestial bodies – sometimes less is more!

Step 5: Using black spray paint, we want to paint a ‘dark side’ of the planet. Use your circular object to get an idea of where the final placement and size of the planet will be, then freehand paint a curved line on one side of the planet. Repeat the process for each planet/moon, but make sure to place the dark side on the same side for each planet/moon to make it appear as if they have a common light source, like a nearby star.

Step 6: Repeat the same process using white paint, on the opposite side of the planet. This will be the light side of the planet!

Step 7: Now the circular objects to shape your planet and moon come out. Place the circular objects firmly over your spray painted areas, ensuring it includes some of the dark side and some of the light side of your planet.

Step 8: Paint everything black, ensuring you get all around the circular objects representing your celestial bodies. If you don’t want an all-black space background, start with some blue, red, and yellow, and lightly paint different sections of your board. This is best done by holding the spray paint can a little further away from the board. Then fill in the rest of the board with black, overlapping the coloured sections of space.

Step 9: Now we can make some stars. With your rubber gloves on, simply spray a decent amount of white paint on your fingertips and ‘flick’ it over the board. Try to distribute the stars evenly, unless you want a darker region of space. Don’t worry about making mistakes; you can always paint over them with black. If you’d like to add ‘comets’, this can be easily done by turning the spray paint can upside down, placing the nozzle on the board, and gently tap the top of the can.

Step 10: The reveal! Take your circular objects off the board, revealing your planets and moons! Also, remove the painters tape to reveal the border of your play area. Now you have an awesome looking space scene, with a 1’ border around the outside for your cards and tokens!

My first attempt. I used an old tin pie-plate for the planet, hence its uneven and non-spherical shape!

My second attempt before removing painters tape.

With a bit of experimentation and imagination you can add lots of little features to this scene. . If you’re not happy with your first results, simply flip the boards and paint another one! To finish my board, I’m planning on putting a 1" wooden border along the bottom, and hinges on this border so it can swing open and shut and include storage space for your fleet inside the board!

If you'd rather not make your own board, I'm more than willing to take commissions for the cost of materials. It only takes about 30 minutes for me to complete a board now. Just leave your email and a note in the comments and I'll get back to you!

Playing on the new board!

Some helpful links:


  1. Thanks to Brent for posting this up!

  2. Nice project.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up! We're looking in to making this blog more visible to search engines ...