The Road to Hell – 28mm Roads for Modern (Zombie) Wargames

Can you build a modern road for tabletop zombie games in just a few days?
As stated in my previous post, 4 days prior to our Salute-n-zombie-table-top-gamingathon weekend I foolishly decided that I needed a road for ‘On The Road’ scenario for our play-test game of Iron Ivan Games ‘No More Room In Hell.’ As if I didn’t have enough to do already.
The scenario features a road running the length of a 4’ by 4’ table, jammed packed with, to quote the book ‘as much rubble and destroyed cars as your toy box can provide.’ I didn’t have the rubble but that wasn't what I pictured in my head and I had a shed-load of cars. I just needed the road.
Kinda like this? Image from
The Idea
The concept was to build, as quickly as possible, a road that could be laid over any gaming surface (city, woodland or desert) that ran the width of the table and looked as much like the World Works Games roads as possible. I really like the WWG roads, however, having got increasingly interested in the hobby side of things I wanted to try and replicate that look as much as possible with a 3D road. Challenging, but seeing the superb standards that many bloggers are showing in their modern basing I thought it was a simple matter of translating the skills to a bigger scale. i.e. treat the roads like bases - long, thing, giant bases.
The Sketch
No sketches actually, but plenty of scribbled calculations. After a few tweaks and adjustments I settled on making the roads approximately 4 inches wide with 12 inch and 24 inch section lengths. To allow for a double width road across a 4’ by 4’ table. I made 10 feet all in all, giving a little extra for creating other city-wide layouts.
The Realisation
6mm MDF was the material of choice. It is about the thinnest I find I can make terrain pieces and keep warping within reasonable limits.
I cut four 24 inch and two 12 inch sections. I covered one side in PVA glue, brushing in the direction of the road, then added sand, sprinkled through a sieve. Note: It is recommended that you don't use the sieve from your kitchen. I did. I had to buy a new one right away.  Whoops - Dog-house!

Sand covered road sections - Pink undersheet optional

Once the PVA was dry I sprayed the roads with Halfords Matt Black Acrylic undercoat. I used a relatively light coat to help fix the sand.
Spray-painting underway.
When the spray paint dried I painted the whole thing with a coat of diluted black house paint, about 1:4 mix of paint to water. This was to fully seal the sand and soak into any parts that regular painting wouldn’t reach.
Dry-brushing followed with a ½ inch brush with long bristles using Games Workshop Fortress Grey and Space Wolves Grey. I then air-brushed patches, tyre marks and a darkened centre-line on each section using Miniatures Paints #86 - Umber.
Airbrushed centre-lines.
Yellow edging and white centre-lines were added by hand using various acrylic paints, using a ruler as a guide. Then came a few oil stains added with Windsor and Newton Nut Brown Ink.

Someone needs a top-up.
Next, small cracks were painted and highlighted using acrylic paint.

That'll need some attention before the frost hits.

A coat of acrylic spray varnish was added and, once that was dry, flock and a few Army Painter grass tufts and static grass were added to finish off the look.

Army Painter - Grass Tufts
The Result
I am pretty pleased with the final result, especially considering the relatively short time it took to finish. In conclusion, yes, you can build a modern road for tabletop zombie games in just a few days.

The finshed road - 4 days flat.
I didn’t add the flock or the tufts until after the game it was made for (I only bought the tufts at Salute, the day before we played the scenario - The battle report is to follow). There was a small amount of warping in the 24 inch pieces, tolerable but I’d like to find a way to fix it if I can. The airbrush helped considerably with the ‘grubby’ feel. It’s a new purchase and I have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it has been to use. More on the airbrush next time.


  1. Wow! What can I say? Adam, you have excelled yourself here! Take a bow, sir, as these are first rate. I just love your attention to detail like the cracks in the road, the oil spills and tufts of grass. Most excellent!

    I'm really looking forward to seeing them in action. Bring on the batrep!

  2. Those are amazing, better than anything I've seen before, brilliant work.

  3. I am sooo stealing this idea! Good work, it looks really great! Looking forward to the battle reort mate

  4. Bryan - Thank you Sir. I am pleased with how they turned out. The detail was essentially copied from the WWG roads. One more post and then a BatRep. :)

    Fran - Many thanks. Finishing these and seeing all the awesome terrain at Salute has given me incentive to do something even more ambitious. I can't wait.

    Lord Siwoc - Go for it sir. That's what this community if for. Cheers.

  5. This is really good, what a great creative burst !! the road has come up really well, if this was food and you were serving it up, I would eat it !!(that sounds strange), good work and keep it coming.

  6. Thank you The Exraordinarii. It's all about the eye-candy feast as far as I am concerned. Tuck in! :)

  7. Brilliant work! I've been thinking of something similar, but was considering 6 or 7 inch widths - do you find a 4" road was wide enough?

  8. Thanks Colin. I did ponder the width issue for some time. It is a toss up between playability and being able to get terrain on the table. 4" is just about wide enough to play but in scale terms is far to narrow. Most city-centre roads, even in the UK, are about 3 or 4 car widths, allowing for at least one lane of parked traffic. Tough one. 2" is the narrowest I would recommend for one lane though. If I was doing this for a display game, I'd make it least 3 lanes wide per section. Hope that helps.

  9. I'd never have even given a thought to the small details on something like this. Bravo!

  10. Damn, this great stuff. I've been thinking about doing this since I saw Whitefaces roads, and now these brilliant puppies. Gotta get my arse in gear. Thanks for the know-how.

  11. Having been lucky enough to play (and pee!) on theses, the photos don't really do justice to how good they are. Top Tip though Ad, any waterbased paint will cause warpage in longer pieces. You'll either have to use shorter lengths or seal first with a cheap can of primer/sealer - can be difficult due to how porous mdf is.
    Try wetting the undersides and then restack flat under something heavy to flatten out any on the existing roads.
    I would suggest the use of 3mm ply for future efforts, harder to cut and more expensive but won't warp.

  12. Cheers Matt. Darn H20! Will definietly be trying the flattening trick. Might have to go Ply with that 'HUGE' table concept that I mentioned to you.

  13. LTL - Thank you sir. Whiteface's road are indeed superb. The devil is in the detail. Go for it, and bear in mind other's comments about other materials and avoiding warping. You're welcome.

  14. DocStout - Thank you sir. That's where the devil the little details.

    Zombie - (Awesomely cool name by the way) What better than a zombie road movie!?

  15. Wow, I love these roads! I do like my own roads, but your roads are just perfect.
    I'd really like to play a Mad Max / Car Wars scenario on them.
    On the warping: I used 3mm PVC hard foam and had no problems with warping.

    Whiteface / Oliver

  16. Oliver - Glad you like them. A great compliment coming from you sir. I'm pretty sure that Matt and I will use them for somehting like 'Outrider' from Thanks for the PVC hard foam tip, much appreciated.

  17. I used cork floor tyles for my roads, no warping

  18. Cheers shintokamikaze, good to know.