Apologies for the hiatus in blog updates, our last three game nights have been spent making more terrain and finally laying the carpet in the garage. We'll be returning to fighting battles on wednesday next when Neils' troops get to fight against Andy's untried French corps. The trial campaign has pretty much run its course but before we end it we've decided to give Andy an opportunity to command his troops in a full scale game. Andy is relatively new to Napoleonics so it will be a good opportunity for him to see what does and doesn't work.
I think I've mentioned before that we have had real problems with the 3ft x 3ft terrain boards warping once they were finished. As you can see by the photo it's quite pronounced and has caused all sorts of problems in maintaining a stable playing surface. We've tried various remedies including wetting them down and placing weights on the corners, and even clamping them to the table for several days at a time, but all to no avail. A few days later they're back to looking like Ali Baba's slippers. This has led to drastic measures. We've been forced into screwing lengths of wood onto the underside along the edges in order to straighten them out. Not only has this involved extra cost it has also meant that all of the existing boards have had to have the screw holes back filled and repainted, all of which eats into gaming time.
Here's a group of the new boards that we've been making at an early stage in the process. I would point out that though we're very happy with the boards they are designed as much with functionality in mind as with aesthetics. If you want to see some really lovely terrain along with an excellent step by step guide then I'd recommend you look at the following blog: http://fuentesdeonoro.blogspot.com/ You'll need to search back a bit for the relevant post but it's definitely worth it and it's also a really fine blog. The photo above shows the new boards which have been PVA'd and with hills made from insulating foam. This stuff is easy enough to shape and helps keep the weight of the boards down. Also there are Polyfilla roads which we striate (real word?) with a fork to add the rutted effect.
The next stage sees the the open spaces and hills covered with a mixture of paint, PVA and sawdust to which we've given the technical term gloop. This stuff takes an age to dry but when it does it's rock hard. Here you can see Dom, who takes a strange delight in "glooping", lovingly applying the muck in a coat about 5mm thick.
When it's finally dry the grassy areas are painted with a dark green base coat followed by a lighter green dry brush. This is then dry brushed with yellow to get the desired effect. Similarly roads are undercoated chocolate brown and highlighted with a lighter shade. This is also applied to the tops of hills to delineate crest lines and seems to work well. The boards are all geomorphic which simply put means that the roads enter the boards at the centre and this allows us to vary the terrain enormously,
The final effect as you can see is quite effective and we'll soon be working on new river boards and possibly a few which have specific features like sunken roads. The main thing is that we now have more than enough boards to cover both tables which should make the games far more interesting.
So the next thing on the agenda is to fight the final battle of the trial campaign and then get the new campaign started. We've made quite a few changes for the next one and I'll hopefully be able to outline them before we get started.
Day Before Leuthen - the Gathering of the Forces - Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau reviews the Itzenplitz regiment as it marches towards Neumarkt on December 4, 1757. All pictures feature Minden Miniatures ...
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