woensdag 5 november 2014

The Quest for Dirt (Roads)

For my gaming table I have scenery like houses and trees, a couple of Hotz mats and a box of Modern felt roads, again by Hotz. What I am lacking are simple dirt roads (and cobbled roads, but those are not such a priority right now).

I made some years agao, simply drybruhsed underside of hardboard pieces cut into road shapes. Worked ok but didn't properly plan it, and as I have no gaming group the project languised till I gave it all away.

A (not so) quick tour gives me the following options to do roads on the Wargames table.

I made a post on TMP, the Guild and LAF to see what people use for their roads and the results sofar are pretty diverse. More on that later*

My requirements for a dirt track are simple:
-Preferably light weight
-Visually looks like a road (ok, duh, but hear me out)
-Suitable for 20mm
-Prepainted or coloured preferable

So, starting with felt. I have modern tarmac roads from Hotz and they do a fine job. Lightweight, not too expensive and covers a lot of ground with a basic set. For dirt roads this would need to be  in a shade of brown. As far as I know noone makes this atm, so I would have to cut brown felt myself. I can get 3mm brown felt for 15 euros for a square metre, and you can get a lot of road bits from that. But weher i like the tarmac cause it is flat like the real thing, plain brown felt isn't really what I'm looking for. Though as an intermediate, it will have to do. Might look better when I aiirbrush it a bit (when I finally do buy one that is)

Latex, sofar I have found TSS (under QRF) doing precouloured 2 inc wide later roads aimed at 15mm, and EWM doing 6cm wide dirt ruts in brown, paint yourself, latex roads. But their price differences are pretty big, 45 Pounds for a starterset at EWM, but the same amount of roads costs 20-25 Pounds from QRF, though, it has to be said, the EWM looks nicer. You get what you pay for.

Caulk. For the DIYer in me. Rather cheap to make, if a bit messy, flexible too. I've seen very nice
ones and plenty of not so nice ones. I don't know, not convinced.

Resin ones, Battlefront does them, but like any scenic piece they make they seem to be limited editions. I do like them, they come reccomended, but at the Crisis show this weekend I saw, amongst all of the shops selling (or is it dumping when you give 20-30% discount?) 1 box of regular roads, 1 box of crossroads and a gazillion boxes or cratered roads. Weight is also an issue. So sorry, but no.

Tape. Right, useful for the smaller scales, but I'm going for looks, and this doens;t have it. Pass.

Hardboard. Been there, looks nice, but weighs a ton when bunched up. Really easy to make though.

Sand. Learned that trick from Piers Brand, just a small box of sand makes any kind of dirt road you want, and after your game you just dump it back in the box again. At the moment still my preferred method to be honest.

 And finally, I'm not sure if Fat Frank on Ebay does these things in latex as well or caulk or something else. But his offerings seem rather nice too.

I have plenty of time to think about it :)

* Sofar I have received 50 replies to my question. Drawing them on your mat with pastels was a new one for me, roofing shingles are mentioned a lot but they look way too rough to me. Using coffee grinds says one reply.....to each his own, but I can't see that working. Felt is mentioned a lot too. Interesting results!

1 opmerking:

  1. I've gone most of the ways you describe over the years.
    Started with felt, looks rough and cheap.
    Made roads by applying caulk to strips cut from cheap dollar store tea towels, then painted. They look ok and you can iron them if they get wrinkled.
    Bought a box of FoW resin roads. Nice, but heavy and rather pricey, and while the tank tracks make them look convincing for WW2, they prevent them from being used for earlier periods.
    Sand is a good temporary solution, and I will be experimenting with pastels for 6mm Napoleonics. I've seen some brilliant looking tables done in pastels for small scale gaming.
    Looking forward to seeing what you decide on.