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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Square hills

The next exemplar battle I am going to fight so that it can be featured in THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book will use a 10cm square grid. I had marked the corners of the 10cm grid squares on an 80cm/32" square piece of green felt cloth to form an 8 x 8 grid before I realised that I needed some suitable hills.

After looking at various options, I decided to buy some ready-made 10cm square wooden boxes. (They are 10cm /4" x 10cm/4" x 3cm/1.2".)


The ones that I bought have lift-off lids, and the lids (which are 10cm/4" x 10cm/4" x 1.5cm/0.6") can be used on their own to represent low hills.


The boxes will need to be sealed with a couple of coats of PVA and then painted in a shade of green that is reasonably close to the colour of the felt cloth.

14 comments:

  1. Bob,
    What a good idea for a square gridded game!

    I was also going to suggest that if you painted the bottom of the box a suitable foliage-green shade it could double as a forest and you could place troops deployed therein inside the box - but from your photographs the box looks too low, alas!

    Similarly, suitable elevations along the sides and a mixture of rectangles on the top to suggest thatch/slate/tiles as appropriate and you would have a built up area.

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

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    1. I just cut up a load of old chipboard shelves, wardrobes and cupboards with a power jigsaw (you can see them in action here: https://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-bridges-of-cropredy.html). The downside, compared with Bob's solution is that they aren't all exactly square, and they are rather heavy.

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    2. Power tools are so much fun. I tend to mess around with expanded polystyrene which is messy, but light, and easier to work with. Of course, wooden blocks have a venerable history in wargaming.

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    3. Arthur,

      I like the idea of using boxes like this to create woods that you can place figures in. It's certainly something to look into.

      I have experimented with modelling two-dimensional buildings to represent built-up areas, and Chris Kemp took my idea and used it to great effect to build cityscapes for his World War II battles.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. Trebian,

      I might well have used chipboard or MDF to make hills if I had had any to hand and I could be trusted to use a suitable power tool to cut it up!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    5. Stephen Briddon,

      I don't have a good history with power tools ... and my wife banned my use of expended polystyrene after I built a model boat to win a prize on a cruise some years ago. The bits got everywhere ... and didn't stay on our cabin balcony!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. My own method you will have seen: hillish looking hills that just about fills the grid area. I sort of figure that if there is minimal overlap into the adjacent grid area, it is not enough to make that 'hill'.

    Gor largish hills I carved up sheets of expamded polystyrene into shapes very roughly conforming to the grid areas (hexes only, so far) and marked the grid areas on them. I didn't worry my head about pin-point accuracy, just so long as I got the right effect.

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    1. I noticed your comment about expanded polystyrene. Good point. One really needs a hot-wire to shape polystyrene properly without mess, and I don't have one, either.

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    2. Archduke Piccolo,

      I'm hoping that once they are painted, the hills will fit in with the rest of the terrain. I think that just using the lids will look better than using the whole box unless I want to create the look of a high range of hills.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      I used to have a hot-wire cutter, and when it worked - which was infrequently - it did a good job. However, it frequently stopped working mid cut because the wire got stuck or broke ... and the quality of the expanded polystyrene also seemed to affect its efficiency. In the end I gave up using it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. You could, of course use the lid for low contours and the rest of the box for higher contours, especially on the edge or corner of the battlefield.


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    5. Archduke Piccolo,

      That is one of the options I am looking at.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    I have made hills for the portable set ups from foam with felt glued onto it and tucked underneath. They have served me well.
    Alan

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    Replies
    1. Tradgardmastare (Alan),

      I'd not thought of using foam. I did try to find some cork to cut to size, but nowhere locally had any suitable thicknesses on sale, hence the decision to use wooden boxes.

      All the best,

      Bob

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