Some of you may recall from an earlier post an early ‘test’ at creating a backdrop for one of my fantasy city terrain boards. Link to post.
Here is a pic.
The effort composed simply of Photoshopping some matching Dave Graffam art with some perspective artwork found online in order to achieve a sense of continuation from the ‘playable’ board. As you can see from the photo this works quite well and deserved further exploration.
However, it did have one draw back – backdrop or not aside, when placing terrain against a ‘dead table end’ like this does create a lot of dead space around that set terrain (i.e. you have a full depth building jutting against a wall where only the frontage is going to be useful in game terms).
Model Railway enthusiasts conquered this issues aeons ago for the same reasons with ‘low relief’ terrain/models. In effect, cut the terrain in half.
So with that in mind, combining the previous efforts with Photoshop and slicing a number of pre-built Graffam models in half, I made a panel that both compliments the terrain on the board and still plays an active, yet less intrusive, part in the game space. Pretty pleased with the result.
The results on that occasion were less “Wow” and more “Nae Bad” (Scot dialect for okay). Subsequently Vinyl printing at Pixartprinting came around again so I thought I’d have another run at it.
Aside from a couple of standard “roll ’em out and use ’em” mats (images below) I thought I’d try something a bit more ‘flexible’ as well this time. Gaming tiles.
Not a new idea by any means – I’ve made many homespun ones before as will many of you. They work well but the print quality is always going to be restricted by the quality of your printer. Likewise durability by the stock you can print on to. I used to have a great colour laser which was great for this type of printing but it died a few years ago. The inkjet that replaced it, while a good machine, wasn’t so suitable for this purpose. Add to that, some stock that I used wasn’t totally ‘official’ and colour fade to a pinkish hue not long after printing (and all the work involved with trimming and mounting on to foamcore). Imagine how annoying the same result had on carefully built card building models! Grrr.
So, a few of the images below will at first appearance look odd. Big vinyl sheets with randomly dotted terrain on it (see the coastal set). These were laid out in Photoshop before going off to print to minimise the amount of cutting required and to get as much bang for your buck (i.e. you don’t send off thirty 12″x12″ bits of art to print but one big sheet).
For example. here’s a screenshot of the artwork that went off to print for the City tiles. One big file. One big sheet.
With the coastal one I was looking to get from the big sheet a 3’x3′ plain ‘water’ mat (hence the appearance of pirate and viking ships!). The actual coastal areas and land areas were to be sliced into individual tiles to be used either in conjunction with the ‘water’ or in their own right.
Worked out well.
The City banner, whilst it ‘looks’ like a laid out ready-to-use mat, was always intended for slicing. Which you can see in the later pics. The reason for that was – if the slicing proved problematic then I’d at least be left with a City mat that could be used. The cutting and subsequent mounting was not a problem though.
I touched on this in an earlier post but thought the subject deserved a little more dedicated attention and pictures.
Vinyl printing for mat and tiles have worked. I also tried Flag material when Pixelartprint ran a sale on that medium a while ago. I’m sharing the results here by way of a comparison and my view that they are ‘not as effective’ as vinyl printing was.
Flag Material Wargame Mat: Desert
Flag Material Wargame Mat: Frostgrave Themed Winter Mat
Terrain Mat (Flag Material) Following the success of some Vinyl Terrain Mat printing via PixartPrinting, a subsequent sale came along for printed Flag Fabric. This made me think of what I’d read about Cigar Box cloth mats and some others that manufacturers were starting to produce.
Well, I had various art files floating around and thought I’d take a punt as it was only a few pounds to get these printed and shipped from Italy. The desert terrain mat in the pictures below are one of the ‘mats’.
I’ll maybe do a longer post about this in due course should I take pics of the other two “Flags” (one was Heroic Maps Frost Ruins and the other a larger town layout based of Dave Graffam art) but in brief, here are the conclusions;
light-weight, perhaps too light, but light enough that hills etc can be placed with some effect underneath
slightly transparent, which also means a loss in vibrancy of colour and saturation
as you can see from some of the closer images, there is a pattern to the fabric but to be honest, this is not really visible in situ and not really a deal breaker for me
Over all – a bit mixed. Not as overwhelming successful as the vinyl mats but certainly usable.
The Prang make an appearance
I had promised photos of these guys to Gavin at 15mm.co.uk/Ion Age sometime ago. They’ve been done for a while but not photographed. These are not the ‘mini’ photos – they were handy while messing with the table – but they featured quite effectively I think in this desert environment. Proper pics to follow GBS, and Eli, promise. I think they turned out quite well. Continue reading More Terrain Mat experiments, Prang and Desert Felt…eh?→
At first glance you won’t notice a huge difference. I’ve replaced some of the smaller ‘true 15mm’ resin buildings with more Graffam houses. These ones are a little less ’15mm’ and more HO/OO or even 25mm in a couple of cases. Here’s the logic – by mixing scales a bit you can;
get a certain sense of perspective and irregularity of scale variation across the whole town
create (or undermine) a sense of ‘true scale’ thus making the terrain feasible with multiple scales (you’ll see a couple of shots with 25/28mm minis in there)
using mostly Graffam and paper models, get a better sense of architectural style. Some of the previous building just ‘jarred’ with the dominating theme.
I’ve resisted buying some a gaming mat/battleboard for a good while. There are very fine specimens available on the market (Pworks and Deepcut spring to mind) but because I am an ‘in-active’ player I couldn’t justify the £30+ price tag on them. Plus, being into both fantasy and sci-fi I know I’d just end up ‘collecting’ a whole bunch. Up until now I’ve trundled along printing out my own boards and tiles and being ‘okay’ with the results. But there is a limit to what you can achieve with an A4 colour inkjet, graphic designer or not.
I’ve been humming and hawing over getting some custom mats printed up for some time. I gathered a few quotes from printers and done a bit of online research. But I faltered. Procrastinated. I simply hadn’t ‘seen’ a finished example so I couldn’t be sure of what I would be getting.
Long story short, I joined Sam and Tim the other week in Falkirk for a rare gaming outing (which was great fun btw chaps). Sam tinkers in similar areas to myself and had had a set of vinyl 2’x2′ mats printed for (Advanced) Song of Blades and Heroes. We played on one and I was suitably impressed by the print quality and material. Sam proffered the printers details (see note 1.) and a printed mat (see below). Back at home I started digging around for various artwork (see note 2.) that I’d been messing around with previously with a view to getting some mats printed myself previously. Continue reading Mat procrastination finally pays off. DIY Fantasy and Sci-fi battle mats.→