SAGA – How to make a river.

A river provides an exciting feature to a battlefield, both visually and mechanically in terms of rules. The Book of Battles comes with such new rules for rivers and includes a scenario that focuses around one. Here’s a quick run through of how I made mine.

Firstly a river can be no wider than M and no narrower than S. It is also recommended it be kept linear. I decided to size 4 tiles of 3mm MDF at 5×12″. This gave me the option to place either a 3′ or 4′ river respective of the standard 3×4′ SAGA battlefield. I built up the banks of the river using 2 part wood filler, then once dry textured with fine sand and the odd bundle of pebbles, both glued down with a liberal spread of PVA. This was then left to fully dry for 24 hours.

Next I primed all 4 tiles with an acrylic burnt sienna brown. I wanted to achieve a clayish undertone to the river banks. I applied a thick careless coat so to get into all the nooks and crannies, but was sure to not leave any buildup of paint that would hide the texture given by the sand. This was again left to dry for 24 hours.

The following stage I based the banks in a 50/50 acrylic mix of burnt sienna and burnt umber and the pebbles in a medium grey. For the river I applied very thick waving coats of dull green, mixed with a little grey and blue. Running the brush down the whole length of the river, creating buildups of paint that would give the impression of flowing water. Once again leave to dry for 24 hours.

The next stage was quick and simple. I dry brushed the banks with a tannish sand and the pebbles with a light grey followed by a white. The river I gave a 50/50 black/water wash, concentrating mostly on the very edges to give a shadowed bank. You should probably know by now how long I left it to dry.

Next up the water effects. A thickish coat of PVA was applied to the river. Don’t worry, this will dry transparent! Again apply like the paint on the river before, waving coats brushing the PVA down the whole length of the river. Leave to dry for …..? Wrong! 48 hours. You want make sure that PVA is fully set.

Finally I finished off with a some flock. And there we have it. 4 river tiles. I hope this can give you some ideas and inspiration for your own rivers.