Tricks for a Better Tabletop: Throw In The Towel!

If I should die, think only this of me;  
That there's some corner of a foreign field  
That is for ever England Holland.

(From The Soldier, Rupert Brooke)

Lately I was looking for ways to improve the overall look of my wargame table. Our club has nice battlemats. We have fields and roads. We have rivers. In general, our club games look fine. Much better than the home kitchen table. Excellent for a regular game. Not a Wargames Illustrated Wargames Soldiers and Strategy look however. Our battlemats are A-level but not A++.

Our other club perfectionist and scenery know-it-all, Eltjo, claims that we should experiment with with caulk, and with fur mats. He might be right. Possibly. We sometimes agree, in particular when he changes his mind and follows my humble opinion. I hope to convince him once again with this how-to-make-(towel) fields-tutorial.

You see, what distincts the standard battle mat from the A++ mat are the colours and the structure. This is a standard game.

But this other club game looks definitely better, thanks to the Cigar Box battle mat.

It's still not spectacular, though, compared to THIS! (from Mark Luther)

 

2017-08-26 16.12.06

 

Or this (from Bruce Weigle)

The big difference between good and excellent is: the abundance of fields and trees. Cigar Box battle mats are surely an improvement compared to plain green mats but still flat. The Luther tables have an added visual value because his fields, made of differently coloured and structured patches, create a 3D effect.

Here some aerial photography. Real life.

My 'starter trick' was to paint a patchwork of different coloured fields on the green battlemat.

 

An improvement, although still not as convincing as Cigar Box, in particular because of the sharp lines. I need corners and foreign fields, just like Luther. In a discount store I found different towels. I cut out rectangles, squares and sprayed them black.Then I painted them and flocked the sides.

before:

after:

I now have about 15 unique fields in different colours and sizes.

It's good, it's absolutely better than an average green battle mat, a big improvement. I will add more trees in the future (6mm model trees underway) and make more fields, the more the better. I will also buy more houses. The bigger a 6mm village, the more convincing the tabletop is.

I like the DIY-aspect of wargaming. It's almost like the art of Japanese flower arranging :-) Zen and the art of tabletop maintenance! I think I should write a book about it...