In the recent AAR post for the Fictioneers Scenario 1 Play-test, I bemoaned my felt pieces of shame on the tabletop to make the woods areas and I promised something better would be coming so here it is. It is a simple craft project that adds a lot to the look of your battlefield terrain. And although mine is a very colorful alien planet, the same idea can be done in greens and browns for a standard Earth landscape.
As a reminder, the idea is to define the woods area so the players all know which figures are in the woods or out of it, and what area is blocked from line-of-sight. This area terrain piece is to be low and flat so figures and the tree/plant models can easily stand on it. I also prefer cheep and easy so this is what I came up with. Felt squares work well in a pinch but I think that this is an upgrade (Before & After):
The woods area markers are simply some cardboard, paint, and a little bit of flocking scraps. Before you start crafting, it is best to plan some. I knew what tote was going to be used to hold all the plant models. It made sense to cut the cardboard small enough to fit flat in the bottom of that tote. Around 12″x6″ in my case. The tote is rectangular so my areas are a bit of an oval/rectangle shape. I tried to avoid straight edges to make then look more realistic. I base coated the cardboard with leftover latex house paint but you can use a can of spray paint too if you have that. Painting cardboard with latex or acrylics will cause it to bow (see below). It is easy to fix this by painting the back also. It will stabilize the contracting forces and return it to being flat. The same is true if you coat it with PVA glue. Just do the same to both sides to keep it flat. You can even do one side, let it dry, and then do the second side. It’s sort of like magic.
Once that base coat was done, I dabbed some various paint colors onto the cardboard with a large brush. I picked blue, red, and yellow to go with my alien plant leaves but you can pick whatever color goes with your plants. I left a lot of the black showing so this would look a like a shadowy area under the trees/plants. I had some leftover flocking of different types from other projects, including some old spices (oregano if I recall correctly) which I mixed into a weird jumbly mix. Then I ran a couple quick oval tracks of PVA glue and covered it with the flocking mix. Leave large amounts of the painted surface to show. The idea is this adds some texture interest and looks like roots or undergrowth, but does not cause the models of miniature to fall over. I still need to go back and touch of the edges to hide the corrugation of the cardboard. They look fine in person but photographs magnify and light everything so well that it looks bad. Some modeling paste to plug the holes and and swipe of black paint will fix them. If you have access to grafix medium chipboard, or don’t mind spending money on buying it, you will be saved this extra step. I was just wanting to make all these from scraps found around the house.
This project was less than an hour of build time to make four woods area markers. The black basecoat was left to dry over night, but the other colors were applied sequentially and the flocking was added immediately afterward. I left that all to dry over night then hit all the pieces with a clear acrylic spray to help protect it. I expect to have another hour or so filling in all the corrugation edges but that will just be some evening in front of the TV time.
Now when playing a game and several minis, or even just one large model, moves through the woods area, tree/plant models can easily be shifted to accommodate them while still maintaining the woods area definition AND tabletop aesthetics.
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Coming soon: Information regarding AFVs for the Fictioneers!