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Roads in 15mm


Roads up close

Roads are pretty simple, right? Cut them, paint them, flock them, done. But a little forethought and design will make roads that are easier to lay down, easier to store, and more likely to get used. This is my second set of roads for 15mm; my first set was too rigid in its layout.

What makes a great road for a Wargamer?

  • Roads need to be easy to store without warping or getting scraped up

  • Layout of the roads needs to be adaptable to accommodate different board setups

  • Roads should be reversible, so a left-hand turn can be turned over to make a right-hand turn

  • If roads are soft and flexible, they can be laid over hills

Materials

I've used vinyl composite flooring to make my roads. It is hard and does not warp if stored flat. It also comes in sections that are exactly 12" square, which comes into the modular design I've used. I used a band saw, but with some effort, these can be cut without power tools. I cannot, however, lay vinyl composite tiles over hills; they are do not bend.

In the past, I've used the sticky-backed vinyl tiles, but found them too likely to warp over time. MDF/hardboard and cardboard are too likely to warp as well.

Design

The key to my design this 20 degree diagonal. Each road is about 2” wide, comes up flush with the edge of the board, but then turns slightly to the diagonal. The road jogs over about four inches before turning back to the perpendicular at the edge of the tile.

Cut plan for roads on a diagonal.

I used the wasted corners to make 6" sections of road and 90 degree corners. I've also made a free-form tee-intersection. I've also designed my area terrain pieces to fit replace on 12" road segment.

Texture and Paint

I textured each section with very fine sand. I wanted each piece to be reversible, so I avoided coarse sand and pebbles which won't lie flat. My previous roads look great with a built-in bank of larger stones, but this makes the roads not reversible, and so very inflexible and difficult to adapt to the table.

I painted the roads like parched roads in August in the Midwest – very pale and dusty. This works well enough for both semi arid and desert terrain. I used flock to give the road a bit of shape and definition, to imply the growth of grass where there was less road traffic.

Stacks flat for Easy Storage

I lay out my track in four layers. The odd tee-intersection sits on three short sections and two stacks of three long sections. The four curved pieces come up to the level of the tee-intersection. Everything is supported and so won't warp. The pieces are four layers of tile deep.

Stacking four layers deep prevents warping.

On the Table Top

The benefit of the design of these roads comes in the adaptability and ease of their layout. Start at one edge of the table, and every foot of the table gets another road segment. Six segments cross the table neatly with no gap or overhang at the end. Since the segments are reversible, we can have twisting, winding roads roads around hills, forests, and other obstacles. Having these wavy roads allows us to use other blocking terrain to prevent the roads becoming deadly kill zones for long-range weapons.

Because the joints between the roads are always a multiple of twelve inches from the edge the table, game set up is made easier as well. Need to deploy your troops 12" from the center of the table? Handily, there is a road joint right there.

Diagonal Roads in a recent battle field
Diagonal roads color scheme matches my existing terrain




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