Monday, March 14, 2011

Experimenting with terrain

I have always had mixed feelings with felt as wargame terrain. Yes, it is cheap, and I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I always perceived it as being... cheap, in fact? Compared with the precious miniatures we deploye, and the often beautiful buildings and structures on our tables, felt never looked quite right to me.
Or maybe it was just a matter of execution. Some friends seem to be very easygoing and not too concerned about the silliness of some of their felt patches on the tabletop. But, after all, it is not the material, but what you make with it, right? So, I decided to experiment a little bit with felt myself, and I am glad to report that I am very pleased by the result.
I started with patches of brownish ochra felt, in order to recreate the effect of a summer field. Here's how it looks like.

Happy with what I see, I push the idea further, working with patches of dark green felt in order to recreate the effect of woods. I need more trees, and some bushes to do justice to the concept, but I was also pleased by the first stab in this direction. I am not a fan yet of the thin stripes of dark green used to underscore bushes along a road, or maybe a little countryside creek running across the ope fields, but overall, I am confident I can improve on that front, too.

Since I was on a roll, I embarked in the most ambitious project: to use thin stripes of green felt, of the very same type as my background terrain, to model the banks of a small river. Here the goal is to show some roughness and three-dimensional effect around the edges of the flowing water, something that I have never been able to accomplish in the past. I need to do better work with some glue here, but I was again very pleased by my first attempt.

This is a very rough first stroke at the whole idea, but I am won over. I think felt will become a recurrent trick out of my terrain bag. I just LOVE the effect on the river banks. I thought the corn fields were nice, and they did not feel cheap at all. And I see some potential is the dark green patches for thick woods and forests.
Overall, a productive evening.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Years ago I found some very thin indoor/outdoor carpet that came on a large roller in the store. You could buy as much or little as you wanted.

It was a medium dark slightly mottled green on one side and a light mottled green on the underside . . . and it cut easily with ordinary scissors.

I still use it much as you are using the felt. Darker side up to define woods (with trees, of course); and lighter side up to define brushy areas (with some lichen). It works great and doesn't have the "solid color" look of felt.

-- Jeff

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

The big advantage of felt (besides the fact that it is available in all sorts of colours) is that it tends to 'stick' to itself just enought not to move around on a felt cloth during a wargame, but is easy to remove when the game is over.

All the best,


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Hi desto - I concur with Bluebear - a long time ago at work they were replacing all the carpets (a wonderful grassy green colour) and I snaffled at least a dozen tiles and I use them to break up the flatness of my table... carpet tiles are an endless source of good terrain... some time ago I found a cheap front door mat in a mud brown colour that had a grooved surface - ideal for ploughed fields!

Hal Thinglum said...

Where did you get your roads? Nice looking terrain. Hal Thinglum