Grind Stone Arena—Part 1
by James "Delgrieve" Bothwell
The light jack was a smoldering pile of metal and the way was open to the goal. The last remaining heavy moved into position as the enemy 'jacks moved in. It was all or nothing now...
Here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a Grind Arena. You can find rules on how to play Grind in Privateer Press' No Quarter #10 magazine. My idea behind this project was to make a simple modular arena that can be broken down for ease of storage and transportation.
1/2" Thick High Density Ping/Blue Foam
1" Thick High Density Pink/Blue Foam
Step 1: Since a Grind Arena measures 3' x 3' I decided to divide mine up into nine 1' x 1' sections using a ruler and Sharpie pen for the measurements (1A).
Step 2: Use a hobby knife to cut the 1' x 1' sections. NOTE: I like to use the hobby knife instead of my wire foam cutter on pieces like this since I am needing fairly square boards. Remember to change out your blades often as they dull very quickly when used on foam. I wanted to make each section "its own piece" so I decided to add a rock border effect around each one. I used a Sharpie to draw 1" squares in each corner and then a 1/2" border around the edges. I sectioned the border off into 1" sections. Using your hobby knife at a 45 degree angle cut slits in areas you measured out to make the groves to five the look of the individual stones. Use the hobby knife to cut out some cracks in the sections—not too many though. And finally use that garden stone to give each board some distress marks. Press and roll it the sections at random and angles to get to the rock effect (2A).
Step 3: Once you have the nine sections made, take three sections and add the goals and catch in each board. Use your compass to measure, then cut the round openings. NOTE: I took the section of foam I removed from the drop point and cut it in half edgewise and put back into the hole. It did this since I didn't feel this section would have a deep hole like the goals (3A).
Step 4: Use your compass to draw the 2" column pieces I used my foam cutter since I wasn't as picky as to how uneven the edges looked—you will need 6 of these pieces. As with the sections above use your hobby knife to tri the hard edges and to make cracks and other wear. Use the tooth picks to attach three sections together. You can use a bit of white glue to five them an additional bond. don't forget to take your garden stone to properly rough up the pieces. They are pretty stable and I like the option to move them so I don't permanently rough up the pieces. They are pretty stable ad I like the option to move them so I don't permanently attach them to the board (4A).
Step 5: For painting of large pieces I like to use inexpensive craft paints. For this project I am using a Black Pewter Gray (one of my favorite stone colors) and Antique White. Cover each piece black with a large brush. Be sure to get in all of the cracks. Once it dries touch up the places that were missed on the initial coverage. After the touch up dries lay on a heavy or wet dry brush of the Gray. Be sure to let some of the black show through to give the defect of several layers. Finally add some Antique White to the gray and lightly go over the edges, lines and cracks of the pieces to give the additional look of depth (5A, 5B, 5C & 5D).
Now your are ready to play! For the next installment I plan on adding a few more removable sections with pit and traps as well as a border to finish the piece.