Taking advantage of some downtime and the intermittent Irish sun this week, I decided to build myself a little arena for gladiatorial bouts. The base was a cork-backed table place mat. I cut out a 20cm diameter circle with a jigsaw. I picked up some 90cm lengths of 12mm pine strips from the hardware store for £0.75 each. These were cut at 30mm intervals and then roughly sanded to bevel the edges to make each little block look like pieces of ashlar masonry.
Starting at a random point - I chose the bunny ears - the blocks were glued down, alternating over two tiers to give the brick-work affect. At the bunny ears I left an opening which was then built up into an arch. I made the archway very high (about 65mm) to accommodate larger scale miniatures as well as my 15mm gladiators.
Obviously I didn't complete the walls of the arena. I left them open as an abstract 'cut-away' to allow for easy access during play (or, if you prefer, maybe it is a ruined arena). The entire thing was painted with wood glue to aid the structural integrity, and then the floor was coated in glue again and dusted with builder's sand.
Then the sun went AWOL and I had to move inside, but not before I sprayed the entire thing dark brown.
The walls were painted to look like limestone blocks and the arena floor painted like sand to match the bases of my 15mm gladiators. Not a bad effort for two afternoons pottering. Admittedly I already had the jigsaw, table mat, sand paper, glue and paint, but still, a functional arena for £1.50 is not too bad either. :)
Now to get some gladiators out there, shedding their blood for the enjoyment of others.