New gaming surface in progress

As I briefly indicated some time ago, I would discontinue the use of the modular board layout that has been serving me for quite some time (which, by the way, in it’s stripped form is becoming a sort of giveaway). Meanwhile, I thought through my gaming needs and came into conclusion that versatile summer game mat with generic enough terrain would be perfect. Yes, I know that it may cause rising eyebrows in some planned battles in Impetus, although most took place in lush parts of the world). Size of the mat would be smallish due to space requirements because it should fit around the kitchen table with some creative extension. This put the size to 1000mm x 1500mm (~3.2″ x ~4.9″), which I think is quite adequate for 6mm games that I am able to set up.

New game mat2Construction of the mat was rather simple. Rather liberal application of acrylic caulk mixed with some brown shade that happened to be around followed by few days of drying and then very liberal application of watered down PVA glue and static grass. This step was followed by yet another layer and so on until grass looked all right. After that there was some fine turf flock in various colors, ranging from yellow to nearly black and everything was fixed on place with acrylic Folk Art sealer. At the moment only part of the mat is more or less ready in any level of rudimentary detail, and I work one segment at the time for additional details.

For generic features I chose to fix certain things on the mat such as fields and roads – I know that especially latter may become an issue at later time. It is very unlikely I will recreate larger historical battles as such – or if I do, then some alternative road network thinking is needed. In any case, I thought it for some time and always ended up in a problem relate to the the size of the battleground and historical settings. In any case, DSLB is not suitable for fighting very large battles, and for smaller separated incidents, road networks tend not to be that extensive. Besides, current layout allows one to think that the scale is aesthetically satisfactory.

New game mat1

French infantry and cavalry racing down in Italian countryside. 6mm Napoleonics just for scale of things.

Because I sort of loathe terrain pieces such as hills that look like staircases and do not reflect anything from reality, I elected to prepare the table with cork layer, and all hills that are build underneath the mat, are cork pieces (in fact, since hills are rather bigger than the available surface, perhaps better to say elevation differences) Reason for that is to use the trees to fix the mat and hill contours nicely. Each tree (and later some other features) have pin attached, and that sets relatively tightly in the cork underneath, but not as much as not to allow tree removal, when passing units so require.

For forests I elected to use large canopies of clump foliage and bases to represent the wooded area and holding the tree trunks. These are very much work in progress and will get back to them at due time.

Once I have the table ready – and first fight on it, will post more. Meanwhile, time to make some more individual trees.

This entry was posted in Drums and Shakos Large Battles, Impetus, Scenery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to New gaming surface in progress

  1. It certainly looks great!

  2. arkiegamer says:

    That looks VERY nice. Well done!

    I think you’ll be happy with the caulk mat, and tree-pins. I use the same method, and it’s served me well for quite some time.

    • Tichy says:

      Thanks. It is very much work in progress still at this stage. Have you ever tried to pin other items to the mat than trees? Bushes, fences, rock formations and such minor details that clutter nature quite liberally?

      • arkiegamer says:

        I use scatter terrain for that stuff.

        That said, I have thought about making fences and stone walls pinnable, because they tend to get disrupted during play, and it would be nice to not have a visible base for those elements.

        I’m sure any of the things you listed could be made pinnable, with a little thought.

  3. Jon Freitag says:

    Outstanding solution to a gamer’s layout problems. I really like the rolling nature of the hills.
    What are you using for the base layer for the mat?

    • Tichy says:

      Thanks for your comment. I pondered between a canvas and felt and ended up with thick felt. That’s for two reasons really. Canvases I checked would have been way too cloth like, and I was’t sure if that would give me nice gentle rolling hills I’m after. Another reason is that I had very thick (3-4mm) dark greenish felt laying around for years.

      Perhaps not so obvious drawback is that while felt allows some elevation changes, there is limit for it. When looking areas around one to two miles square, reality is that the hills are usually not that dramatic (mountain regions excluded).

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