Monday, March 3, 2014

Building a permanent Waterloo table

Got the shits with my terrain recently and I figured I would go ahead and build a table for Waterloo even if it ended up being permanent or not something I was happy with. The reason is that I have not moved forward for months and months so doing something is better than nothing I think.

So here I go.

I already had a map marked out from tracing a map from the Waterloo Companion. I have it scaled to the 15mm grandscale for my Empire gaming even though I have 6mm figures.

I worked out that 6mm = approx 1.8m in height and so 3.33mm of contouring would be required for every 1m of height on the map. This would be an expensive exercise because Waterloo goes from 100m above sea level to 140m in some places meaning it would require up to 133mm of modelling. Using 5mm foamboard would mean I would need 27 x sheets of foam to reach 140m contours with each 10m contour line being 33mm or 7 x 5mm foam sheets. Ouch!

Not only that but the steepness of these contours would be strange when compared to the 15mm ground scale of 1.5mm per 1m which I have been working on to date. To be the same as the height would mean that 40m gradient needs 60mm of foam sheets. Each 10m contour line would need 15mm of foam or 3 x 5mm foam sheets. That sounds better. So this is what I went with.

Now the map shows 10m major contours with minor contours at +2.5, +5.0 and +7.5m between each 10m major contour. I only needed 3 contours INCLUDING the major contour so I chose to go with the +5.0, +7.5 and the following major contour.

This means I will be modelling the flat MDF board as the 100m level. Then 105m, 107.5m, 110m, 115m, 117.5m, 120m and so on up to 140m and will require 12 x sheets of 5mm foam board. Not too bad! Plus economy can be achieved because some of the higher contours are small and multiples may be achieved per sheet.

As I was building this 1st 2 x 2 square section, I worked out ways of saving time and foam board as well by cutting the 2 x minor contours into the same sheet as the major contour and using spare bits underneath the +7.5 and 1m contour lines. This left gaps but with the plaster later it should work out fine.

So here it is in pictures:

Trace the map including major and minor contours into tracing paper

Draw a grid to the ground scale used on the table. I also took this time to highlight roads in pink and darken the major contours.

A close up of the 2 x 2 section I will work on. The area forward and right of La Belle Alliance 

Mark out the 2 x 2 mdf board 

Mark the grid on 5mm foamboard sheet

Draw contours on the foamboard

This shows the 2 x 2 mdf board which is the 100m contour line with the 120m contour line placed on top. I then added small legs to the 120m to make it sit at the correct height above the 100m board. This is so the boards to the right, which will be lower, match up accordingly.

This shows the 1st minor contour of 125m in place and glued. You will notice the 120m sheet is above the mdf board because of the "legs" I put under it. You will also notice the 125m contours are not a single sheet. This is something I found where I could use short legs under some contours to save on sheets of foam. So I could get 3 contours out of each sheet of foam.

Here you see the total board so far with the 125m minor, 127.5m minor and then the remaining sheet is the 130m major. Legs or spacers are glued under the 127.5m and the 130m pieces and you can see one of those glued as a small square in the bottom right corner where more work needs to be done as the terrain drops off that corner. More work needs to be done in the top right as well.

The same tile with all the contours added and a tidy up on the right side where the terrain drops down to the north-east.

After I did this, I played around with some paper mache and glued strips of paper to ease out the contours but all became a bit of a pain so in the end I decided just to leave the contours and paint it all up as is.

The plan is to paint a couple of coats of medium brown. Then about a 95% coverage coat of medium green and then a 30% highlight of yellow. This should give it a nice european grass look but keep it all flat in order to place my scenic terrain pieces down nicely and move troops nicely.

2 coats of medium brown were applied and I was just about to add the medium green when a friend suggested it would be good to spend a little time and effort to angle the contours a little using some gap filler. So off I went to the local store and purchased 3 different fillers and went to work applying them to the board.

Once dried, I reapplied the 2 coats of medium brown. 

It did look better and troops will move around a little more easily. However it now means I have less flat space to put scenic items. And to tell the truth there really wasnt that much space to put down flat scenic items anyhow. I began thinking about another board. Going back to large 4 x 2 base boards painted up ready and then model hills using multiple sheets of foamboard and mdf. Anyway lets finish this one off first.


Anthony Little said...

Excellent idea and well explained. I also game in 6mm for Napoleonics, and expect to move to a new house soon where I might even have my own gaming room. I was toying with the idea of using the foam "wall paper" rolls which I thin are intended as insulation. Usually these are 1m wide and between 12 - 15 m long. Not sure how it would compare with foam core.

But you have inspired me to look into this more fully. Good luck with the next module


ScannableGoose said...

Excellent work Dave!
I really like what you've done here.
I also like that it seems easy enough that even I might be capable of giving it a go!
Thanks for the inspiration and good luck with the other boards!
I'll be watching the evolution of this like a hawk.

Steven said...

This is an excellent looking project and I think the green and tan over suede looks terrific. I am just re-discovering your blog - what rules sets will you play Waterloo with?

War Depot said...

=> Steven I use Empire V for my napoleonic rules.