Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Travel Size Collapsible Terrain for 3mm Scale Gaming

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  • #166163
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    So I have a lot of really great terrain options in the house but most of it doesn’t travel well. Bringing around my full set of GeoHex terrain when I travel is kind of a tour de force, and other options like game mats take up too much space on the destination tabletop. But an idea came to me as it were in a moment of aberration, and as I have some days off now that the job I’m on is shutting down for the holidays, I’m taking a crack at it.

    The basis is laser cut 1 1/2” hex plates from GameCraft Miniatures. These are all cut from MDF, probably some kind of textured panel board, and arrive looking like this:


    Nevertheless they fit perfectly on my coffee table with a nice margin for rulebook s and dice, so I was off and running.

    First step in preparation was a double coat of flat black primer to smooth the surface out and protect it, and to give the hexes a nice, heavy edge.


    Then the tedious part, masking off the edges. I like a nice dark line around the edge of my board so to me the effort was worth it.


    Then the topper goes on. I was originally going to use flock and glue but flock tends to get everywhere with crumbs and such, so for my base I wanted something tighter and more durable for travel – quite literally I have some friends a few states over and would like to be able to bring along minis for pickup games without taking over their whole home when I visit. So the texture I got from a sand-impregnated spray paint. Its color is a kind of milky tan which isn’t so great, and it has very poor color coverage, but it gets the texture on very nicely and dries enough to top coat in about two hours. On top of the texture I put a mix of two green colors for a nice mottled look. The whole surface is very tight, and the hexes fade to bare visibility, making them useful for locating terrain features, setup areas, etc, but not so heavy that they dominate gameplay. I’m very happy with the result!



    So far so good!

    #166164
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Coolness!!!!

    #166167
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    Very effective!

    #166175
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Looks good, and frankly I think it’s more practical than flock for a lot of uses

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #166192
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Thanks guys!  The biggest benefit for me is that I can add flat and (generally) disposable terrain bits like roads and rivers printed on paper, tape them down for the game, and yet have them not damage the boards underneath.  Pretty neat benefit.  The top coat is listed as “satin” finish and this morning I saw that it has a very slight sheen to it.  I’m ambivalent about whether I’ll take a flat lacquer to it to knock the sheen down or just leave it – frankly the eggshell sheen doesn’t seem that troublesome.

    #166193
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Grass after rain has a sheen anyway 🙂

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #166210
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    Those boards are neat and complicates my life next year 🙂

    I’ve used the sand spray before but never thought about over painting it – hmmm…

     

     

    #166223
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Hahah, yeah I went for the low-impact version on this project, or I knew I would never finish it.  The sand spray, though, I can’t imagine how else I’d use it if not topcoating it with another color.  Its color coverage is just terrible – I barely got this 2×2 board done with a full can.  Not an efficient product.

    #166224
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    Have to agree, I did use a tin on a similar sized canvas board for my “portable VSF wargame” based in the desert. It was a right pain if you touch it as you cannot fill the dint in!

    How did the middle hex lines go? I tried scribing lines in MDF by hand but to no luck – they just got filled in by the spray – not sure if the laser cutting folk I use (Warbases) can etch very deep to get over this issue…

    Have you seen this Mud, Blood and Steel post with hexes on top of hexes? I have asked Santa for a pile of these resin ones to play with next year.  The rivers are designed to sit on the top of other tiles but the roads and plain ones are full depth. No real test plan yet though 🙂

    #166225
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Complete with Clanger I see?

    Yeah some of my boards have barely visible hexes still on them but as you say the sprays fill them in pretty effectively – you’d need a wider and slightly deeper hex line.  But I’m playing measured games and the hexes are mainly just to define terrain areas, so I’m actually okay with it.  I’m taking off the masking on the rest of the boards right now, so far so good!

    #166226
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    Hope it goes well with the rest – well worth the effort to get neat edges.

    I’m sure I read “the hexes fade to bare visibility” – I think (blush)…

    #166227
    Mr. Average
    Participant


    The full board, all parts completed.

    #166282
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Preparing a small Dirtside II scenario as an inaugural game. At 3mm scale, naturally.

    #166285
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    Nice – love the forests.

    #166286
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Mike made those for me. They’re amazing!

    And this is the initial setup for the defense of San Joaquín Colony by the United Nations:

    #166291
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Looks good

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #166295
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Beautiful end of year project, Mat!

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #166320
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Mike made those for me. They’re amazing!

    Thank you!

    #166538
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    The next phase of the project now begins.

    It’s too damp to finish testuring and painting my board extensions (I’m taking the board up to about 20″ x 30″).  But the first parts for my mountainous/hilly terrain arrived in the form of some Hirst Arts castings I got someone to make for me.  The hexagonal units match the boards perfectly.  I actually even like the color of the plain plaster – I am not sure these need anything beyond a little bit of turf on the top surfaces.

    #166539
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    These have a nicely epic feel I think – like either a protean dolomite from a colony world in an earlier state of evolution, or an epic rocky terrain of a fantasy land. Either way, nice pieces. I bout them as fully done casts mainly because I didn’t want to be saddled with raw materials in the house, especially during winter when messes in the garage are much harder to clean up.

    #166543
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    They look interesting.

    I had been thinking of plain tiles on top of the base hexes but I’ll await your next post 🙂

    #166784
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    The craggy hills of the North Country, now underway. I had not been thinking to permanently attach them to the base plates. Rather, I had in mind to use cardboard to keep the bottom of the hill together but just make them fully modular. However, the sturdiness gained from the base plate is really significant, and so I’m thinking twice now – the casts are in dental plaster and are pretty weighty, so I’d fear that without a nice thick base mounting they might tend to break under their own weight. Anyway, with a snowstorm coming there won’t be any more spraying for a few more days, enough time to consider my next move here. Going to flock the tops of the hills though either way, for a proper Bandlands-y  landscape.

    #166852
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I ultimately took the plunge on keeping the hills totally modular. I assembled a set from the parts in my first casting, and I got a surprising amount of territory out of it.


    Using tacky glue I’m now assembling the parts. I also picked up some self-adhesive black felt to back them with. The result is a nice, chunky bit of hill terrain that won’t slide on these boards. Good progress!



    #166877
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    Nice result – the felt is a good idea and should help to keep marks off the ‘grass’.

    I wonder if the sides / tops will get dusty long term – did you varnish them at all?

    #166883
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I think it’s mainly a matter of how I store them that will determine if they’re dusty or not.  I didn’t seal them, however – I like how they were cast, in grey hydrocal, and so didn’t see a need to paint them, since the color is integral to the material.  I’m just gluing up the last two hills, then I’m going to add some vegetation, and that’ll be it.  I have another set of these cast pieces on the way, which will basically allow me to cover my whole table in rocky hills if I want to, to simulate fights in mountainous alien terrain, or in the badlands stronghold of an Ork-Tsar.

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