Friday, July 4, 2014

I Declare Independence from Terrain Mats!

 Happy July Fourth Everyone!  The weathers isn't all that great this morning on the Chesapeake so I decided to work on a gaming project.  Today, I've decided to Declare Independence from Terrain mats! and the flat ground they provide - I'm taking another run at building sectional terrain!  Here are my objectives:

2ftx2ft sections that have undulating ground on one side and a flat sea for naval gaming on the other.  The plan is to build the sections by taking 1/4 inch plywood and framing the underside with 1x2 lumber.  I'll fit polystyrene foam (pink insulation panels) on the inside of the frame and the carve it to represent terrain changes.

 The first step is building the panel. which require the 2ftx2ft section of plywood and and 8 ft 1x2 cut into 2, 24 inch pieces and 2, 22.5 inch pieces.  It's all very easy but remember to alway measure your plywood panels as sometimes the dimensions may not exactly be 24" per side - especially if you get pre-cut sections.

The next step is putting in some 1/2 inch spacers that the 1" polystyrene will sit on - I've got a bunch of one inch thick polystyrene on hand and the 1x2's are 1.5 inches high - hence the spacers.

 I've glued the spacers in place and used some common workshop "weights" to hold them down along with my trusty gallon jug of waterproof wood glue.  If you're a sailboater like me and sail wooden boats you need A LOT of wood glue!

 After a few hours of assembly and sanding (I hate sanding, but hate splinters even more) there are for assembled 2x2 sections.  I also built a 1x4 ft spacer panel so I can match these up to Ernie's terrain for our upcoming Historicon game - imagine a pair of 28mm scaled ironclads dueling on these - they will be in less than two weeks!
A fifth 2x2 section was built as a test for a river section.  The river will meanders more than is implied by the reinforcing panel down the middle.  The plywood just flexes to much with a gap in the frame so the brace holds it in place.

Next up - staining the wood.

This is my second attempt at building sectional terrain.  I build so larger 2x5 panels in Sep of 2012 that were OK but they never get used.  The draw backs of the larger sections is that I can only work on them in the garage and it's hard to store them (which makes the wife mad).  In fact I've only used them twice.  The smaller 2 foot sections will fit under my game table and I've got enough room to store an inventory of 22 panels.  More over they'll fit on my painting desk which will make adding detailed terrain features both easier and more enjoyable.


Neil Scott said...

look forward to seeing more

DeanM said...

You certainly have the skills to turn these into wonderful pieces, Miles. Sculpted terrain is visually superior to any terrain mat - that said, it does take storage/transport requirements far exceeding mats. Looking forward to seeing the results in any case. Best, Dean

Curt C said...

A great start Miles and I know from your previous work that the finished product will be excellent. I look forward to seeing its progress.

jmilesr said...

Thanks for the comments. This will be a project that should last at least through the fall

Maybe even up to the next Painting Challenge!