Sunday, 29 September 2013

Desert terrain mat trials

When I play desert-set games, I tend to use an old blanket as the playing surface.  I've been thinking that it would be nice to have a less fluffy playing surface so I've experimented with an offcut of leatherette from my previous games mat, testing textures and paints.

The test section, approx 10x10"
Brown frame sealant was smeared all over the leatherette to provide a fairly smooth starting surface.  The long side of an old cashcard gives a road of the correct width and is rigid enough to cut a swathe through the sealant.  The narrower edge of the card creates the thinner track to the right.

Cracked desert surface.
 I used a cocktail stick to sculpt in an area of cracked desert surface - perhaps part of an old river bed or a salt marsh.  The rest of the surface was finished with a sponge to give a rough, sandy texture.
Quick paint job.
I've used the usual Wilko tester pots.  After trying out different combinations I think I'll be using coffee brown as the base colour with a mottled application of safari sand sponged on while it's still wet.  The slightly darker Nutmeg Spice brown has been used on the cracked area to give greater depth to the cracks.  The road is Supernova black.  The smaller track is Earthy Hue but this hasn't really worked so I'll probably just paint it in the normal base colours.

Cracked desert surface with paint.
When I tried to add manhole covers to my previous experimental games mat, I failed.  The tie pin clip I used just peeled off the sealant, leaving a bare patch of the leatherette.  This time I waited until the sealant had skinned over and was almost set.  The tie pin back was pressed in fairly hard but still didn't stick to the surface and I'm quite pleased with the end result.  If I add a dash of something lighter like earthy hue to the supernova black, I can get a bit more contrast between the covers and the road surface.

Man-hole cover in road surface.
I think it looks pretty good (apart from that track on the right) so when I have a full weekend free I'll probably have a bash at doing a whole games mat.

With a few bits of scenery etc.


  1. Now THAT is clever. What a great result!

  2. Great job. I especially like the cracked mud effect.