It's not often I call directly on the readership of BLMA
for help but this is one of those few occasions. It must be abundantly clear by now I recently started working on a 6mm WWII North African Desert project
. I'm making good progress with the painting (I love this scale!) but one thing I'm missing at this stage is a suitable wargaming surface. I don't have a dedicated wargames table but instead make use of the dinning table with a grass wargames mat thrown over it. Now of course I'm looking around for a Desert themed wargaming mat...but finding one is proving harder than I thought.
Here are some of the ones I'm looking at but if anyone can point me towards an alternative that would be great. Incidentally I want a 6'x4' mat and would rather buy a mat as I don't really have the facilities (or the skill) to make one.
|Woodland Scenics Readygrass Desert - This has a vinyl backing with a painted sandy covering on the top. It is thin, flexible and light but judging from the sample I bought it sheds its covering easily. I don't want to invest in a mat only for it to be as bald as me after just a few games. |
|TerrainMat Desert - A strong vinyl backing and supposedly tough surface covering, this range comes in a wide variety of surface options. The Desert range comes in three colours. The downside is it seems very expensive and some reviewers have expressed doubts about its durability.|
|Javis - Thus far I have only been able to find the 24"x48" mat online and I'm not sure it comes in larger sizes. Also the 'rocks' appear too big for my 6mm figures and look likely to shed from the mat.|
|Mat-O-War - Billed as indestructible and coming in a range of colours including desert beige this looks like a good option. Despite being heralded for a return to stock by Antenocitis Workshop back in September they haven't materialised. |
So does anyone have any feedback about these option, or can you suggest a suitable alternative. Money is a factor obviously but I'm not averse to paying out for a good quality mat that will last a few years. Right now I'd just like to have a proper choice and I can worry about the cost later!
S&A Scenics in Lancashire do nice felt cloths that are good for draping over polystyrene to make decent hills. They come in different colours, and are affordable. The desert cloth is very yellow shade of sandy, so you'd maybe need to distress it a bit by chucking paint and stuff at it, but it should look good.ReplyDelete
Good suggestion...hadn't seen that one in my searches and its cheap enough that if its not suitable I won't weep over the wasted expense. I'll bare it in mind, thanks!Delete
A tough choice, only the one from Javis seems to be unusable for your scale.ReplyDelete
Have you ever thought of building your own mat?
(Here a tutorial, unfortunately in German only, but I think you'll get the idea. http://www.ulmer-strategen.de/Spieltisch-Matte.htm )
That's a good tutorial and the language barrier isn't a problem with it... I just haven't got the space to do something like this. Maybe in the summer when the weather gets better* I could try this in the garden.Delete
(*Who am I kidding? This is Britain, it never stops bloody raining!)
Thanks for the idea though.
I'd forget the Woddland Scenics one Lee. If it's anything like their grass mats then it'll shed it's coating continually. Looking at the above options then the last one sounds the best to me.... typically it's out of stock though.ReplyDelete
I bought one of the 'Project sheets' which is about 10"x16" to photograph my miniatures on. I've only used it once and its already shedding sand all over the place and has a couple of bald patches.Delete
They are expensive but the Terrainmats ones, are the best I've seen.ReplyDelete
I am very tempted by these, but the one I want will end up costing me about £60... that's a lot of dosh for a product I won't see until it arrives. I'm still at the "talking myself into it" stage and need convincing one way or the other, hence this post and my request for advice.Delete
I've got a Terrain Mat and it is very nice, but I found it less than durable. It a kind of resin embedded with flock and, whilst nice, it creases like a bugger. I glued mine to a board in the end defeating the point of a roll up mat :( They look nice, but I'd save your cash and make your own. I am for Moderns Afghanistan. It's a bit of work but I think it will be worth it in the end. I couldn't find a suitable alternative.Delete
I'd go with Terrain Mat but with your money you could probably import sand from the original area!ReplyDelete
Now that's an idea....Delete
Do you need a textured terrain mat? You can get really far with a cheap beige bedsheet and spray paint in a couple shades of brown.ReplyDelete
I have considered this, although in my case I was eyeing up a pair of beige curtains! At £15 this is by far the cheapest option.Delete
I'm with Bill - just get down to your nearest C&H Fabrics - find a piece of material that's approximately the right colour/texture and buy the required size.... after that it's up to you - you could embelish with a couple of cans of spray paint to break up the single colour, or just scatter builders sharp sand before your game... it'll be easy to clean up afterwards - just gathering the entire cloth take outside and shake..ReplyDelete
Alternatively - have you considered a length of carpet, or carpet tiles?ReplyDelete
I've used carpet tiles before (in fact waaay back when I first started wargaming some 28 years ago). They look good but are heavy and bulky and I don't have a lot of storage space. I did look at some again last week but I don't think this is the way I want to go.Delete
Oh the options you've shown I would go with number 3 above.
However, I agree with the DIY approaches of others. I get my game mats from the local fabric shop - for land games this means checking out the felts or fleeces. I don't know how it works your side of the pond but in Canada the fabric stores have weekly sales that offer big discounts of the "official full price" to frequent shopper members. I wait til the right stuff is on sale, and take my wife and her membership card along. She's a sewer and a quilter so we're there fairly regularly anyway, and it's a pretty easy sale on my part to get her to take me.
I've no experience with the other brands, but I'm very happy with my desert Mat-o-War - durable and takes a shape very well.ReplyDelete
Matowar is now availible in http://www.thehobbyden.com/
It´s the best option, better than a carpet.
For me the terrainmats are the best, but they are expensive. I was going to buy one, but finally I saw the german tutorial and I decided to make my own mat.
Here you have the new author´s blog, in english with a better tutorial and a german forum where many people used that technique.
Thanks for the link to Hobby Den. Not seen this company before but I'll certainly put them on my radar from now on.Delete
Here is the absolute best DIY solution I have seen on the webs:ReplyDelete
I've tried it myself, and the result is super portable and storable(rolls up) and infinitely customizable (for size, color, and scale.) I will say that the quality of the end-product depends on the quality of the flock you use, so its worth investing in a decent variety-- but other than that, its dirt cheap.
The only real problem is that some of the scatter is a little loose-- but I think that's just because I didn't use enough water in my paste mix. But I think this might be solved with a coat of pva/water mix.
I'll be doing a post on my experience soon, if you want to keep an eye out on my blog: mdarrow.blogspot.com
Ha. Way to steal my thunder, Paaor! XDReplyDelete
I´ll be waiting that post with your experiences.
That's a great tutorial and if I had a suitable workspace (a garage / shed / workshop) I'd happily make my own mat. But my workspace is the family room and I'm pretty sure the wife wouldn't be impressed if I started painting a 6x4 sheet with smelly resin and paint on the dining table!Delete
I'm for the bead sheet option. I used a beige one, and sprinkled it with fine beige sand. You can show contours really well by applying sand on the slopes of dunes(made by felt or something)ReplyDelete
We used it for our last 6mm desert game, and it looks surprisingly good.
Will try to have a battle report up soon
Ehr, BED sheet....Delete
(why can't I see those errors before I click send...)
I have a Terrain Mat terrain mat (ahem, option 3 in your list) and can confirm all the points above: very good, very expensive. However, it also sheds quite a lot and after a while the black backing cloth starts showing through, especially if there are any creases.ReplyDelete
Were I to buy another one, or if my current mat gets too dilapidated, I'd have a serious look at these:
They're just about as expensive as the Terrain Mat ones, but according to the blurb they have the flock and stuff actually embedded in the material. If that's in any way true, they should not shed as much.
Interesting....I've only seen these at the smaller 2x2 size but I downloaded their brochure and they do mats up to 6'x8'. But they are pretty expensive (like you say, up there with terrainmat). Hmmmm Its another option to think about but it is a big investment for a lone wargamer. Thanks for the link, I'll keep em in mind as I decide.Delete
Option 1 will work if you spray it with an aerosol matt varnish before use giving two coats, will seal the fibres to the under surface and will extend its life and avoid the shedding problem.ReplyDelete
Not sure about that one with the rocks on it - particularly for 6mm gaming.ReplyDelete
I have a Monday Knight productions "desert" game mat. It is 4x6 and normally sells for $52. Could be yours for $35 plus shipping at cost. It is brand new, still in the wrapper...ReplyDelete
mark at scalecreep dot com
Hey, I forgot the spanish solution, maybe the best :)ReplyDelete
The quality it´s amazing but... a litte expensive.
Try our local Hobbycraft for a sheet or two of coloured felt, the same as I use when taking model photos. It might do as a short term solutionReplyDelete
I saw a Bachmann yellow grass scenic mat in my local railway model shop today. It covers 8' x 4' for around £12 and looks OK. Monocrome-ish, but it's yellow and quite acceptable.ReplyDelete
Google bachmann scenic mats yellow straw or have a look here:
I purchased a mat from here... http://www.hotzmats.com/felt_purchase_mat.htmlReplyDelete
It was plain of course without hexes printed on it.
That Baueda link gives a UK address, but has an Italian phone dialling code.ReplyDelete
The price list is incomplete, its 180 somethings or other for a metric 6 x 4 and they seem to go out of their way to tell you that you are lucky to be able ot order one from them! Typical eytie businessmen!
I dont think £60 is a lot to pay for a good quality mat, and I did seriously consider Terrainmat recently. The materials must cost at least half of that, and each mat must take a good few hours to make, so that must put the guys time very economical. Not even the price of a dinner for two night out, and no smell, mess or inconvenience.
I did see a couple of good DIY mats on Youtube using vinyl upholstry material as a base, with mastic and paint for surface.
In the end a friend gave me a present of a pre=fabricated 'Borodino in a box'. It is a 6x4 bedsheet with roads, woods and fields, rivers etc glued on in felt. The hills were outlined on the sheet in marker and made from polystyrene to place on the laid out sheet. He added in a couple of redoubts, trees and model houses and slipped it all into a curver lidded box and hey presto, I have a mobile instant terrain for my Adler 6mm troops.
Its OK, and has given a few good games, but I suspect a decent terrain mat will look better, and with 6mm scale terrain is imortant.
If you want to see the sheet in action, have a look at EMWargames on Yahoo groups.