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Painted Sheet Terrain

Although you've probably heard people suggest making terrain by painting onto cloth, it's something that's rarely seen. It can however be very effective as demonstrated by the examples here. One of the greate advantages of this approach is that it if very easy to store and transport because you can simply fold it up and shove it in a box or bag.

This first example is the work of Andy (Anmatr) Nelson.

Painted Sheet Terrain

I clamped a sheet of felt to a large piece of cardboard such that it wrinkled. Then I used an airbrush to accent the wrinkles with light and dark brown paint to resemble folds of terrain. At first I used model enamels but later I got brave and tried some craft acrylics (the last time I used acrylics the thing clogged every thirty seconds but it worked well today).

I put some 28mm figures on it for this shot and a 1:48 tank and Hummer. The felt is flat in the photo. What you see as dunes/wrinkles are paint.

The green area is for a river terrain piece. I didn't want to actually paint water here, so instead there's just a remnant of good soil from a dried-up river.

As shown, Anmatr's terrain is entirely flat and presents no obstacles or challenges to the troops however it immediately makes the gaming surface more attractive and serves to protect the table underneath - an important point if we've commandeered somebody's precious dining table for our gaming surface.

Painted Sheet TerrainFeatures like rivers would of course present a strategic challenge but Anmatr has opted to paint only a suggestion of where a separate piece of river terrain might go, thus giving him the option of including it, or not, for individual games. This provides the greatest flexibility and also suggests what is probably the most obvious solution to the present lack of height: to place hills and other terrain on top of the cloth. The picture to the right shows some sponge foam hills made by Nathan Miller and these are probably the ideal accompaniment for painted sheet terrain because they can also be squashed into a bag or box without risk of damage.

Another way to add height to painted sheet terrain is to put something underneath. The example below was created by Chris Atkin and is shown at Partizan for a Battletech display mounted by Huntington and District Wargames Society.

Painted Sheet Terrain

Painted Sheet TerrainChris, a Partha sculpor, used a painter's drop-cloth which was painted with water-based household emulsion and sprayed with differing colours using emulsion and a garden sprayer. Roads were sprayed on with an aerosol can.

Styrofoam stepped contours were placed under the cloth to make hills, and bottle-brush trees stabbed through the cloth into the Styrofoam.

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