I'm sure many readers will recognise this scenario, particularly if you make your own wargames terrain. You're working on a new project and you have a sudden moment of clarity when you see yourself from the outside and recognise the absolute absurdity of what your doing. I had one of those moments over the weekend and I'm still chuckling about it days later. I'm my case it all came about because the night before I was having trouble getting off to sleep and my mind just wouldn't shut down. There I was in the wee small hours, trying to get to sleep, when I had an idea; what if I shaved my teddy bear?
OK, don't call the men in white coats just yet, hear me out first. I've recently play tested The Men Who Would Be Kings with my 6mm Zulu war collection and rapidly came to the conclusion that I need more terrain for my Zulu's to hide in. One type of terrain that I need is something to represent long grass and/or Mealie fields (ie Maize, derived from the Afrikaans word ) but I wasn't sure how to represent this on the games table. So the next day there I am sitting at my workbench with a set of hair trimmers shaving some test pieces of teddy bear fur. That's when the absolute absurdity of the moment struck me. My family already think I'm a little touched in the head, this just confirmed it for them!
Once shaved to the correct length I wanted these test pieces to be coloured dark green rather than the original golden brown of the fur. My first idea was to soak the pieces in a green ink wash but all this did was dye the backing cloth and not the fur itself. After several hours drying on my wife's cake rack (don't tell her!) I ended up dry brushing the fur with a dark green acrylic paint. This worked much better than the ink wash and dried in a fraction of the time. Lesson learned for next time. The green looks much more natural and the reduction in colour contrast means they will blend much more naturally into my existing wargames mat. Now that they are finished I'm not sure they look like Mealie but they certainly look like tall grass.
|iNgobamakhosi Zulu's hiding in the long grass.|
I made these sections in 'wild' irregular shapes but when I get more fur I'll be making a much wider selection of shapes and sizes.
Addendum: I have now sourced some more fur fabric from the Interweb so I'll definitely be making more of these. The stuff I have ordered is shorter pile so I shouldn't have to shave it, which will save some time. It's probably for the best. My kids are already looking at me like they are weighing up the options for my care!