Friday, 30 June 2017

Big Game Terrain Mats

Regular followers will know I have been using my current terrain boards in the dungeon since before the blog started. They draw lots of positive comments, are hard wearing and reasonably flexible. However, they have a couple of draw backs. They are not as flexible as I would like and as I game in several scales I anpm always slightly cross with the compromise around roads. They are heavy and a pain to transfer or carry about, the road structure due to the "square" construction means they are occasionally a bit limited in options. I have also been pondering what options I have for putting on larger games, it is not bad putting  4 of the squares in the back of the car but if you wanted to do a big game say 12 or 14 x 6 no chance.

So I have been looking for something else and the obvious option is Terrain base mats or cloths, which I already have for my desert terrain. After a lot of eBay and Amazon hunting I found the following.

I am always looking for a cheap option and these come it at £14.99 for the king size which is conveniently pretty close to 6x8 feet. I bought two. When they arrived they are a little on the pale side, and although they are olive green it is quite dependant on the light ? so I purchased a couple of tins of green paint and set too last weekend.
They have a sore but subtle cropped grass texture on the rear side which was the reason for getting them in the first place. As you can see they are quite big 6x8 I pinned them up to spray them.
Some blotchy dark green
Then some lighter bright green
Then on one of them I worked up one half of  the blotches into some more coherent field shapes. I am about 85 % happy at this stage but want to actually try them before I do any more work if at all....so here are some test photos quickly run of in the dungeon, this isn't using the full lighting in the dungeon, which will give a different feel altogether I suspect..

At 28 mm scale it looks and feels like cropped or grazed grass, it will work well for big countryside battles, should be fine for future ACW as it has that summer burnt feel. Possibly not as lush as it could be ?
For 6 mm eastern front it has turned out fanatastic and makes a huge difference allowing a much more flexible terrain setup as I can incorporate a more natural feel to hills and valleys and not have oversized roads. I really like this look of the Russian Steppe πŸ˜€
I messed about trying some other shots...here are a couple of fields on top of the first cloth
And a second shot showing some 20 mm Napoleonics on some hills...you get a sense of the hills here, they work brilliantly for unit based troops but not for single figure skirmish games, where they are slippery.
A wide screen shot just waiting for Russian cavalry or tanks 
Ignore the fact the colour looks completely different for the second mat it isn't but it shows what the impact is of different lighting, again I quickly put some old hills at the end and they are great ?
With the addition of hedges you can very quickly build up a countryside effect
Two final shots of the two mats spread to their 8 foot extent, they are not quite the full 8 which is a tad annoying, but close
This leaves me with a number of thoughts, I need to make some roads and I have these in hand, I can now cover a much bigger area with games potentially upto 6 x 16' with a reasonably pleasing and consistent, easy to carry base. I plan to make some more hills to go under the cloth and I am rationalising the fields which sit on the top to ensure a good overall look. I need some more hedges and want to make the ACW fences I already have to see how they look. I won't be ditching the previous basing system which will still see lots of game play in a range of  games.

26 comments:

  1. It certainly looks the part Matt.

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    1. Thanks we'll see when we get a proper battle going πŸ™‚

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  2. Matt, you are resourceful and the result is handsome. I like it!

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    1. Neccesity the mother of invention πŸ™‚

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  3. Looking good. Would figures based on two pence coins alleviate the slippery problem? They tend to be pretty solid. Or is it a hill problem?

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    1. For the small hills no, but I am looking to reduce the slope on larger hills and will test it out πŸ™‚

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  4. Looks great...and realistic!

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  5. Good find, good job, good result!

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    1. Want to test them in a proper battle before I am convinced πŸ™‚

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  6. Not only do they give a very naturalised look, but they avoid the problem with many modern fabrics of this type of being slightly reflective when photographed, throwing light back at the lens and ending up with bright patches.... good find.

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    1. They do have a little bit of that reflection but that has reduced following the the green spray which is matt , I need to try them in a full game to see the real effect πŸ™‚

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  7. Exellent work and tutorial !!!

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  8. That looks really good! What do you use for hills underneath? I've never tried a sheet covering for the table and I'm curious as to how it lays. Do you have 'baggy' areas where the sheet hangs between the hills and table (making a trampoline for the troops!) or does it lay quiet flat under its own weight?

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    1. Thanks......in the pictures I have simply put my already formed hills under the cloth, some of these are very simple dome shapes. The cloth seems to fill the gaps reasonably but there are some 'baggy' bits. These don't seem to be a problem with multibased units only with single figures. I plan to make some bigger hills from foam board which I have but I am going to experiment with the optimum angle first. I show some pictures next time I get them out πŸ™‚

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  9. I bought one, never painted it, as well its green enough for me, only problem as you say was slippy single figures, i do use it still, but ive now got a artificial grass sheet, 6mm depth grass, and its 6 by 6 which is good.

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    1. It will mainly be used for larger games so the single figure issue shouldn't be a problem....I hope anyway.

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  10. Interesting post, it looks great in the varied scales. I'm trying to work out doing a number of base boards or some sort of cloth so this is useful food for thought.
    Best Iain

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    1. Very hard to find the one solution fits all, so compromise is inevitable πŸ€”

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  11. Replies
    1. Thanks you can see them in action a couple of posts later on πŸ™‚

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