Monday, March 15, 2010

My Helmand Project Part 2

(Note: to see all the posts for this project in the order they were published, click on "HELMAND PROJECT" in the CONTENTS menu on the left of the blog.)

MY HELMAND PROJECT - Phase 1 - Create a Desert Gaming Table

The 5mm mdf is cheap and light to move around but still thick enough not to warp or fray. I can then arrange these boards to create the size of the gaming area I want to use. Using 6 boards and arranging them 3 across by 2 deep results in a 6' x 4' playing area. A great size for 6mm Napoleonics. 4 boards set up 2 x 2 results in 4' x 4' for Ambush Alley.

I grab a 1200 x 600 sheet from Bunnings and I measure in from the top and the side and march exactly 600mm in from the left and then another 600mm in from that line. The boards are often slightly larger than 1200 x 600 so it works well enough. Then I use a t-square that is 1m in length to make sure I have a perfect 90o line at the 600mm and 1200mm mark from the left edge. I then do the same to mark a line 600mm down from the top edge. I also use the T-square to check these originating edges are dead straight. Next I clamp down a piece of timber, also perfectly straight 200mm on the left of the 1200mm line and clamp it in place. I then set my circular saw to 200mm so the blade rests on the outside of the 1200mm line but if it was going, would rub out the 1200mm line drawn in pencil. I run this saw all the way along my clamped piece of timber, performing a "dry run" of the cut I was about to make. When all looks good, I plug in the saw and cut away. I then repeat the process at the 600mm line, turn the mdf 90o to the left and repeat the process for the final line on both of the 600mm wide sections. A quick consult with the measuring tape and "voila", 2 x near perfect pieces of 5mm mdf cut square to 2' x 2'. 5mm mdf is cheap and I always keep a few on hand in case I stuff anything up.

Using Matisse craft paint called "Caromello":
rolled on using a small tray, a generous pour of paint, and a small craft roller brush:
I paint each of my 600 x 600 boards a coat of golden earth colour as shown below:
Once this dry, I roll the same roller brush into a lighter colour, this time Matisse's "Pale Beige":
The Pale Beige is added as a dry brush but quite generously.  Make sure you brush is all directions.  I use stars about 10cm in diameter and overlap them all until the whole board is masses of them all overlapped:
The whole point of this system to make the board appear to have texture when it is actually dead flat:
The end goal is that less than 50% of this base board will be shown anyhow but the time all the scenic items are added.

This same colour combination will be used for all the scenic items as everything is covered in the dust of this colour.

This Pale Beige paint will also be used to create a wash that will be applied to all the figures, vehicles and buildings.

And so Phase 1 is now complete.

Lets move now to Phase 2 being Creating Scenics.

... to be continued ...


Dogui said...

Looking quite promising. I also thought about using 60x60cm boards, specially for ease of transport when showing the game away from home. And keeping the surface smooth lets you do the other side of each board a different color, for winter gaming, fantasy, or even naval and space.

David said...

Exactly. Because they are on 5mm or actually 6mm mdf, they are thick enough to not warp but light enough to transport. Especially with only a coat of paint on both sides instead of glue and flock and/or sand and God knows what else. That's why I build up the contours using foamboard. This adds very little to the overall weight of the board.