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Author Topic: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt  (Read 527 times)

Offline Hammers

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The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« on: January 09, 2021, 05:11:20 PM »
In September the year past, I and CanO'Beer, Son of Hammers, decided to make terrain to play our Fall Grave (our spin on FrostGrave) and GoT games and such on. While 'hard back' gaming boards are fun to make and often turn out more exiting, they are a bitch to store. Therefore, without consuting young CanO'Beer on the matter, I decided that we should make a roll-up-able gaming matt for easy storage and more rapid deployment.

Now, there are hundreds of tutorials, many quite good, on how to do gaming matts, but I have yet to find one on how to do a sufficiently convincing leaf strewn forest floor. That's why you see me making one here.

The basis of our matt was to be this stuff:



And, tes, that is a sweeping of, first and foremost, birch seeds. As luck has it there are a few lofty birches in the neighbourhood and especially in late summer, early fall a fair amount of their seed pods accumulate in the gutters, ripe for harvesting. As you can see there are other forms of debris in there to. That's not a problem, cigarett stups and used french letters can be sifted quite easily, the rest can just stay in and add to the variety of the mix.

I am a fairly methodical chap; I do not like wasting resources and, above all, time by faffing about with my hobby time. For this reason I decided to make a test piece

I ordered 2 meters of 90 cm wide polyester felt, burnt umber from a online cloth merchant. I would have preferred a slightly wider cloth but that was not to be found. Besides, 90 wide will just do.

Apart from that I purchased a light brow silicon caulk at the local DIY. At 8 euro per tube I had a hunch it would be to expensive for a whole board. Well, this experiment would tell, wouldn't it?



I cut a 30 cm square out of the felt and pinned it to a board, like so...



..and made a caulk pretzel onto the fabric, calculating that a even spread of about 1 mm thick...



...which I achieved with the help of a spatula.



You all know what a spatula is, but I thought I'd do a plug for this type, a Japan steel spatula. I find that it has the right kind of flex, i.e. not to stiff, for spreading caulk onto soft fabric, like felt.

I have a large sifter of forest litter scatter, which I mixed for a Mirkwood project I did years ago.



It is a mix of birch seed pods and commercial sawdust flockings in red, brown and black, and applied to the caulk it comes out like so:



Not to shabby, if I may say so myself. Lessons learned were...

1) not to apply the caulk too thin. You want to be able to push the scatter into the caulk but also for it to remain well elastic. I read on the details of the tube that it has a flexibility of about 15%.
2) Based on the material consumed I needed about 4 litres of scatter mix for a matt measuring 90 x 180 cm, which was much more than I had at hand. I had plenty of birch seed pods but needed more colored sawdust to bulk the scatter.
3) For the sized matt as mentioned above I would need about 4 tubes of caulk. That meant I would have to find a cheaper variety and possibly try to tint it to a darker color.
4) The caulk holds little twigs and pebbles quite well, which was good news.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 05:27:12 PM by Hammers »

Offline OSHIROmodels

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2021, 05:24:18 PM »
Excellent start  8)

Offline Patrice

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2021, 07:26:40 PM »
Nice! I'll follow this, it will certainly be very inspirational.

Offline Blackwolf

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2021, 07:42:48 PM »
Fab Hammers,I’ll have to give this a go :)
May the Wolf  Walk With You
http://greywolf1066.blogspot.com.au/

Painting Clubs Joined: APC,MPC, PPC,PAPC,LPC.

Offline Hammers

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Re: The making of an Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt (cont)
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2021, 09:01:00 PM »
I was rather happy with how colors and texture came ut in the experiment above. To be honest, I also had the experience of making such a matt before. Back then I used white (carpenters) glue, but that turned, if not completely at least a bit, to shit. The fabric dried much too stiff, the scatter fell of, it has not aged well.

As I mentioned above I needed much more colored sawdust flocking than I had on the shelf. I was reluctant to pay for the overpriced railroad stuff so I decided to make my own.

I am a regular customer at a lumberyard and I turned to them, politely asking if I could purchase sawdust from them. As I mentioned the quantity required (about 5 litres) I was generously invited to help myself from the bench plane in their workshop. They normally sell the stuff in much larger quantities...

Next step was to decide how to color the sawdust. I have previously used a kind of woodstain pigment which you dissolve in hot water. It is very useful for tinting miniature lumber, paper mache and even dental plaster. The brand I used is local and called Hedins...



They have quite an array of colors, mostly natural.

I already had a couple of bags of mid-brown (Modebrun) but purchased bags of Ebony, Red, Dark Green, Yellow and Walnut.

One bag costs about €6 with which you make 0,5 litres of liquid woodstain. Pine and fir sawdust is very absorbent (especially with the kind of fast growing trees we have these days). This means that you pretty much get 0,5 litres of colored sawdust out of one bag of pigment.

The process is simple. Make sure you don a pair of disposable gloves. The stain will taint your skin like a bastard and you won't be able to wash it out. Pour half a litre of boiling water into a stainless bowl, empty the pigment into the water and stir with a metal spoon. Dump sawdust into the stain a little at a time until all liquid is absorbed and all sawdust is tinted.

This is the assortment I ended up with:



A few things to take not of is that:
1) using known brands and following a documented process makes it easier to repeat it with consistent result. To me, that is quite important.
2) Water based stains may bleed if exposed to moisture
3) I am not 100% certain this process is cheaper than purchasing colored sawdust online. A limited research indicates that it is. Anyway, it may be worth ones while to shop around for cheaper stains.


Offline Dr. Zombie

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 11:31:56 AM »
I just colour my sawdust with cheap acryllic paint and then just massage the sawdust into it. You need a lot less paint than you think at first.
I get my sawdust from the workshop at the museum I work at. It is a mixture of all sorts of different wood. And that means the sawdust absorbs the paint differently giving me a mix of several shades all in one go.

Offline Captain Blood

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 11:50:22 AM »
Great project Peder  :-*
Looking good so far.

Offline Hammers

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 06:22:11 PM »
I just colour my sawdust with cheap acryllic paint and then just massage the sawdust into it. You need a lot less paint than you think at first.
I get my sawdust from the workshop at the museum I work at. It is a mixture of all sorts of different wood. And that means the sawdust absorbs the paint differently giving me a mix of several shades all in one go.

Good input. Using different types of sawdust is a good idea, if you can source it.

Offline Hammers

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Re: The making of a Autumnal Forrest Gaming Matt
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2021, 07:49:03 PM »
That matt was completed in september 2020, and i thought I should show you the final result.



Beside the colored sawdust, which preparation I described in the above post, I pulled out my big box of flock and static grass. While the overriding theme of the gaming matt is forest floor, whick means a lot of autumn leaves, I figured we'd make ite a little more interesting with a few patches of dry grass and a sprinkle of moss green here and there.



I do not possess a workbench wide and long enough so I had to do the smearing of caulk and subsequent sprinkling of litter in stages. First the umber felt was stretched and clamped



I purchased four tubes of much cheaper acrylic caulk, which promised a similar adherence and elasticity as the one I used on the test hanky sized thing. The caulk was white so we tinted it to a brown grey color with a generous dollop of burn umber artists acrylic.

Above you can see how we started by smearing the colored caulk like narrow roads leading to an intersection in the middle of the matt.




...which we then sprinkled with a fine sand/grit mixture. The roads done we filled in the wedges between the roads with caulk and sprinkled generous helpings of our leaf litter. We decided on a mixture of equal parts brown, black and red sawdust and birch seed pods.




And this is how it turned out! We've played a few games on it and it sheds a little but not that bad at all. The felt rolls up charmingly well, to.




 

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