So, I set out to produce a table surface worthy of a climactic vehicle battle. To that end, I printed out a giant picture of a 40k space cruiser. And the idea for the big print out didn't come from me either, really. It came from my time with the Minions, and their copious use of Kinko's finesse. It just goes to show you the old teacher mantra that is said over and over in the smoke-filled corners of teacher's lounges: "Don't re-invent the wheel. Rob ideas and techniques from other people."
It was relatively simple to do. I took a simple 40k cruiser picture like the one below, printed it out, and then took it to Kinko's and had it blown up to poster size. Using their poster maker cost me about $20 and some change, so it was cheap and expensive. Is $20 a ton of money? Not really, but it might be pretty steep considering that you are doing this for a one-shot affair.
Now, the giant picture could simply serve as the battlemap for the game! Simple, easy, and very impressive on the table. The funniest thing was, when we started playing, I had to explain that the picture was still not to scale. An actual cruiser to scale with the minis would have actually been larger than even the printout.
Now, these pictures of the actual game (forgot my camera), but some staging to give you an idea of what it would have looked like. There are no squares on the improvised battlemat, so old-fashioned measuring tape worked just fine. Yes, you'll see some chaos raiders there. Those were stand-ins for ork fighta-bommas. Didn't have the money to spring for a squadron of real ones.