Rivet Wars is this cool new miniatures game by Ted Terranova, It’s an alt-World War I game featuring cute little soldiers “Rivets” and technology stuck somewhere between 1914 and steampunk. If you know me at all, you can imagine my excitement.

The figures are really cute and terrifically detailed, but I didn’t want to get all excited about them, and not have an awesome (or at least as awesome as I could build) table to play on.

As we’ve waited 11 months to get the game, I’ve known that I HAD to build this table. That said, I started it 12 days ago.

Rivetwars trench table

Here’s the breakdown of how I built it



Here’s the raw foam sheets. I used both a 1/2 inch and 1 inch boards. I went with the pink stuff, as it’s fairly stiff, and the blue Dow foam isn’t available here in Arizona.

IMG_3350Rivetwars uses a 25 cm board, broken into 9 grids. I made this wood template to keep me organized, and to make the trenches more even.


Basic tools of course… a pencil and a big blade utility knife.


Big piles of foam. If you can, get somebody to give you a hand, because at this scale, they’re a pain in the ass to move around. I got my foam at HomeDepot.


Eventually I settled on 1 inch and 1/2 inch sheets. My plan was to use the 1 inch stuff as the base, and use the 1/2 stuff for the trench work. Having not seen the figures when I started, I just had to guess on the best trench depth. In the game itself, the trenches have degraded to simple ditches with “duckboards” on them to help the troops move. Myself, I LOVE trenches, so I compromised and had less deep trenches.


Lemme tell you, using the chop-saw to make my tiles somewhat square was a life saver. I started cutting mine by hand, and they weren’t square at all.


I cut every tile twice… cut, and then rotate 90 degrees so that it would be more square. Watch those fingers. I didn’t lose any, but as the blade got hot, it started grabbing tiles.


The tile stock is building up. You can see the fence that I made so that I didn’t have to keep measuring the cuts.


Big pile of tiles. I made a list of what I was trying to build, so that I didn’t accidentally build to many L’s or not enough trenches. My table is HUGE (maybe too big) for this game, but I’m okay with that. Eventually, I’d like to get my gaming group of 5 playing, so we’ll need the space.


Here you can see the basic trench build.


I need 28 to cover my tabletop, but eventually made 38 so that I could have the most possible variety of layouts.


More trenches. I was excited at this point, but worried that the tiles would look too “perfect”. WWI was a dirty and messy affair.


Decided to go in and chop up this trench dead end, so that it had some visual interest. I ended up glueing the foam together with hot glue, because of time constraints. I needed to get this table done fast, as I work for myself drawing weird stuff. If I’m not drawing, I’m not making a living!


I made straight trenches, Ls, Xs, dead ends, and plain no-man’s land tiles.


To make the tile floors feel less mechanical I used this paint scraper to blast out the foam. This thing is brutal. I only hit my finger once.


It spins along the foam, eating it up.


You can do the exact same thing with a fork, but it will take a lot of time. This took just a few moments for each tile.


Makes a huge mess. I tried to contain it with garbage bags, but it was no use. I ended up just sweeping every so often to get the pink bits cleaned up.


Here are the tiles scraped, and then wire brushed to take down the texture. (And to round the top edges of the trenches.)


I also started digging in a few craters. I went over most of the tiles with a heat gun, just to melt the surfaces so they weren’t so mechanical.


It’s winter here in Arizona, so I worked outside. It’s probably the reason that I have the first Rivetwars trench table I’ve seen… the rest of the country was blasted by winter snow storms. Not here.


Here’s a little bunker with removable top. A trench in the back leads to it.


Here’s the top/back of that bunker. Now that I have the figures, I need to put a step up for them to be able to see out of the window.


Wire brushes do a great job of distressing the foam. I was half tempted to use some of this scraping, but ultimately I just went with sand texture over it all, hiding all of this cool scratching. Thing is, it does help the glue stick, so it wasn’t a total waste.


More heat gun on the foam.

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Craters are cool, but I didn’t want to go crazy with them. I have some plain no-man’s land tiles too. But, these crater tiles will be awesome when we get our Rivetwars Battle of Brighton expansion. (Biplanes!)


My buddy Andrew came over, and helped me texture these dang things. I used 4 different grits of sand, to make a richer earth base. (Fine sand, cat litter, ground walnut shells, and small pebbles.)


More views of the grit. It wasn’t looking half bad to my eyes, and the wood glue ended up making a very hard shell.


Here’s that turret again.


We poured finer sand into all of the craters to make it look a bit different. (Disintegrated!)


More tiles. You can see where I left room for some possible stairs to get out.


Sand inside of the crater.


Classic dead end. I also made one that makes a ramp OUT of the trenches.



I was starting to get excited, as this was coming together really, really fast. I was probably on day 4 here. But then, I started to add the planking for the duckboard trenches.


Dear lord, the planking is a lot of work. I used a whole shoebox full of popsicle sticks. At least they’re cheap and strong. But man, I never thought that it was going to end. In the background you can see a triumphant arch that I’m working on.


I finally got my Rivetwars game, and was excited to see how the figures fit into my trenches. I’m really happy that they can see out to fight.


I needed some encouragement, so I brought in the tiles and set them up so I could see everything with the figures and vehicles. This was pretty exciting for me. I purchased some sandbags, as I didn’t want to take a bunch of time to do even MORE work.


A cool view of our massive table. In the foreground you can see a building that I’m also working on. AND you can see the turrets. I decided for the most modular options to NOT build the turrets into the table itself.


I like the view from the trench. (But not enough to buy a time machine to actually fight in the war.)


Side view of the tile construction.


I, and Andrew, ended up making tons of these popsicle planks. I wore a glove as my hands would occasionally bleed from the splinters.


These are the long planks for the duckboard floors.


Finally, PAINTING!


I used interior flat house paint left over from my Hirstarts gothic dungeon.


Painting the planks was a huge pain, as it was tough to get the paint in there behind the planks. I guess you could paint the earth first, and then add the planks, but that also sounded like a pain.


I ended up thinning my housepaint just a little too much. It was good, but I still had to go back and hit some of it again with more paint.


I’m a messy bastard.


Tilting the tiles helped a little to get the paint to flow behind the planks.
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Here are some of the little bunkers I made. I tried to make them look like they’ve been in an 80 year war.


Basic grey house paint. I painted them with a wood glue wash a couple of times, to make them sturdy and strong.


Sloppy bunker. But, it’s starting to look more like concrete, which is why I used a different texture for it.


Base coat layer one. Exhausting.


I did all of the painting in one day. It was almost 80, so I got a lot of sun. However, the photos got blasted out with all of that sun.

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Here you can see the drybrushing of the middle tone. It’s a mukey babypoop yellow-brown. Here, I overdid it a bit, but the highlight color can fix that.


Starting to look a bit better.


A better wood-grain texture. I tried to place a lot of the textured wood face up, so I’d have more to work with.


Middle tone drybrush. My texture is probably a bit heavy, but I needed something to bring interest to the surface.

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Here’s the paint formula for my base brown. Walmart Glidden flat interior.

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Finally, drybrushing of the highlight is complete. I figured that I needed some exaggeration, since with were playing indoors with less bright light than the sun.


There’s still a lot of work to do. I need to add details, and some color variation. It’s monochrome right now… needs some grass, logs, and other crud to add some color.


I’ve never build a trench table before. I tried to make a warhammer hex table years ago, but it was a disaster, as it was tough to get the hexes perfect. (They weren’t.)


These aren’t perfect either, but for my game, it’ll be just fine.

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I’m adding gloss medium to spots on the table to make it look wet and muddy in places.

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I’ve been dragging around that miniatures case for years. It’s great, but it’s a really ugly color. Need to paint my game room one of these days.

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I can’t wait to actually play this game! But first, I have to paint the figures!


These are a few of my extra tiles that aren’t currently on the table. There are 10 of these. I figured that if I wanted them, I’d better just do them from the start.


A monowheel rolling down a trench makes me happy.

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Here you can see some of the gloss medium on the planks there. I add brown acrylic ink to dirty it up. Just started doing that.

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Anyway, that’s my Rivet Wars table so far. Still much to do, but at least it’s at a point where I can share.

And yeah, I added a crud-load of photos, but what the heck. It’s here if you need it.

– Daniel

PS, if you want to see what else I do, check out SteamCrow.com