Sunday, 20 February 2011

The portable wargame: Setting up the terrain

Having finished my foamcore hills, I wanted to see what the vinyl chessboard would look like with some terrain set up on it. The results do not look too bad.

One thing was very quickly apparent ... the foamcore hills were not tall enough, so I laid one on top of the other to make them twice as thick. This looked a lot better, but it does mean that I am going to have to make any future hills out of two or three thicknesses of foamcore glued together before they are painted.

The buildings are all from one of the numerous wooden 'Town in a bag' sets that I have bought over recent years, and the trees are made by Essex Miniatures. The trees are unusual in that the trunks and branches are cast from white metal and the foliage appears to be wire wool that has been soaked in some form of modelling plaster before being painted. The resultant trees are quite robust in comparison with most model trees used by wargamers, and each one is unique.

The figures – which I have included so as to give some idea of how big the various terrain items are – were manufactured by Peter Laing.

12 comments:

  1. I really like the overall look. If there is room for the unit bases, I would suggest cutting the 2nd contour just slightly smaller than the base to suggest contours.

    Are the tan squares as pale as they look in the photos?
    -Ross

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  2. Very pleasing to the eye - well done. There's something of Novara meets Toy Town in the look.

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  3. Ross Mac,

    I like the idea of making each layer of the hill slightly smaller than the one below it. It will give a better impression of contours and the figure bases should still have enough room to fit on top of the hills.

    The tan is quite light (and the green quite dark) but it is not as light in real-life as it appears in the photographs. I think it is the effect of the spotlights I am using to light my wargames/toy room.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Conrad Kinch,

    I must admit that I pleased with the look of the whole thing. 'Novara meets Toy Town' sums it up very nicely indeed!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Looks good. Good idea from Ross about the countours.

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  6. Bob,
    I second Ross Mac's idea. Further, I would suggest making several kinds of hill pieces:

    1. a one-square knoll/kopje with a vaguely circular/irregular shape to fit within one square to portray a small knoll or kopje;

    2. some pieces with slightly wavy/irregular edges on one, two or three sides, that can be placed side by side to create larger areas of rising ground; and

    3. a few solid square pieces to be used as the plateaux on top of large sreas, surrounded by pieces like 2 above to indicate the slopes.

    More work, but the end result would be more aesthetically pleasing than the plain squares.

    Arthur

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  7. Looks great Bob,

    The Peter Laing figures seem to suit the size of the squares and the terrain particularly well.

    As I also have shed-loads of them for the same period, I can see us having some interesting match-ups. ;-)

    Tone

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  8. Bob,

    Rather than have to mess around with multiple layers of foamcore, you should look around for foamcore which is as thick as 3 pieces put together. (They sell it in craft stores here.)

    In either case, I was thinking you could try making the edges a bit irregular, slanting the edges in a bit at the top; this would be much easier with the thicker type of foamcore. Whether it would be worth the fuss is another matter.

    You could also try some hills which are 2 or 3 squares big (the latter arranged in a row and/or an L-shape).

    Always prepared to think of things for someone else to work on,

    Chris

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  9. Tim Gow, Arthur1815, and Chris,

    Wow! In the face of this combined level of agreement, I will have to do as I am told!

    Seriously though, thanks for the ideas. If the opportunity arises, I will try to make some different types of hills over the forthcoming week.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Tone,

    I must admit that I am rather pleased with the way the whole set-up looked.

    I remember that you bought some of the Peter Laing figures at the same time that I did, and if you have any cavalry, I would love to buy a few from you.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Bob,

    An alternative to foamboard, that I've used to create stepped terrain for the school wargame club, is cork tile, available from DIY stores. It can be cut quite easily with a craft knife or heavy duty scissors.

    Arthur

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  12. Arthur1815,

    An excellent idea!

    I have some cork floor tiles somewhere in my wargames room, and I will see if I can find them tomorrow. I may even have some thick cork mats (the sort used under hot pots in the kitchen) and they would be even better.

    All the best,

    Bob

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