Thursday, 1 November 2012

Experiments with builders' caulk

I came across an article on making your own "zuzzy mat" style roll-up wargaming surface a few weeks ago.  You can find the main articles on the Durham Wargames Group web pages.  I found them through a link from another page, possibly someone's blog but I can't remember - if you're reading this and think it was you, please e-mail me and I'll update this page to include that link too!

I bought a tube of brown acrylic frame sealant/decorators' caulk in our local garden centre (one of the Cherry Lane / QD chain if you're in the East of England).  About £1.25 for a standard sized cartridge for use in a sealant gun, the brand is "151".  I've found that 151 stuff is pretty good for wargaming and modelmaking use.  They do epoxy putty, superglue, self-adhesive magnetic tape, all pretty good quality for very low prices and you often find them in budget shops.

I had about 10 minutes before I went out one evening so quickly cut out some 12" lengths of leatherette (left over from woggle-making with the Scouts), squirted a wiggly line of sealant over them and smoothed it over with my finger.  A bit of sponge packaging from the back of a BattleMech blister pack was patted over the sealant to give it a rough texture, then I scraped tyre-ruts in with a wooden coffee-stirrer (end cut off to give a flat-bottomed rut rather than a curved one).  Because I was in a rush I didn't take any photographs at the time but here are some very bad ones of the semi-completed trackways still in their raw sealant form.

Old Crow Goanna scout car for scale

Detail of the sponged texture with wheel ruts.

Looks like someone swerved off here...
These were just a rush job proof-of-concept exercise.  I used dark blue leatherette because that what I had handy, but brown would work better because the edges would be less noticeable.  On the next batch I'll make sure that all the ends are the same width - these were all cut with a pair of scissors, using a nut screwed partly down a 2" bolt as a cutting guide, not the most accurate of methods!

I'll experiment with a bit of paint on these next week and take some better photographs.

Next task will be to buy a larger sheet of brown leatherette, probably 3x3 or 4x4 feet to make a roll-up gaming surface.  Before I do that I'll probably practice applying a few different textures to the leatherette to see what works and what doesn't.

My thanks to Durham Wargames Club for giving me inspiration!

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