Sunday, September 7, 2014

Battlefield Modeling on a Budget.

I have been a table top war gamer since 2004. I started out with 15mm Flames of War.
From the beginning we  realized the need for scenery for the table top. Rivers, roads, forests and hills have been utilized for some really amazing and fun scenarios.
Also over time I realized something even more important. None of my models will ever be museum quality nor will my battlefields win any design awards, but I never let it stop me.

The important thing is that you have fun and enjoy doing it. I consider myself an above average novice when it comes to modeling. With this said, I bring to you this article of how to "model on the cheap."

This post is dedicated to all the gamers out there with limited skill and funds, but limitless love for the hobby.

My game mat.

My game mat is a green denim material cut straight off the material rack from Wal-mart.
I folded the edges under and had them sewed to keep the material from unraveling.
It is best to know the measurement of your game table. make sure the game mat has "over hang" off your table.  Over hang can always be folded up and tucked under the mat.


I have taken a few pieces of thick cardboard material and used Elmer's Paper Glue to attach the foam inserts in layers on the board. The foam layers are the backing that has come with most blister packaged models.
These "hills" are now tucked under the game mat to give some detail to the battlefield.
(this is the reason for the game mat being bigger than the table.)

Foam backing used as "hills."

Adding two or more hills under the game mat gives the impression of a "ridge line."

Woods/ Forests

I purchased a few tree packs from my local hobby store. The trees are from "Woodland Scenics" The specialize in rail road scale model products. They work well with table top war games as well.

Next I take some brown cloth material cut to fit a few inches larger than the piece of cardboard.
I take the tree "stands" and glue them to the cardboard in a zig zag pattern.

The support stand from the tree pack sitting on the cardboard base.

Next I used hot glue and leave a fine bead along the edge of the cardboard.
I place the piece of brown clothe over the cardboard.

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Then using an X-acto knife I cut holes in the material so the tree "stands" poke through.
Then I glue the material around the tree stand sealing it.

When it is time for the battle, I place the woods on the table and put the trees in the stands. Instant forest.
When the battle is done. Take the trees from the stand and store them separately. No more worries about broken trees.

Roads/ Rivers.

I take a piece of brown clothe, measure and mark them in strips at 1 1/2" wide. I cut the strips and use pins to fold 1/4" under on each side so that there is a 1" wide strip of material.
using a sewing machine i sew the folded edges to keep them from unraveling. The same method can be used for streams and rivers of different lengths and widths.

Example of a 2" road used in larger scale war gaming.

Example of a 1" wide road.

Game table is ready, just add Armies.

I would like to take this time to thank my friend Erik Blankenship. After our first deployment
to Iraq, he and I saved each others lives by picking up the hobby of war gaming.

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