Tag Archives: Wargaming

Working With Photo Fleece Part 1 – Mats

I often get these three questions when running games:

  1. Where did you get your mat?
  2. Where did you get your roads?
  3. How do you keep your quads so ripped?

In this post I’ll be addressing the first question of how and where I source my gaming mats.

Many years ago a friend of mine had a glorious mat for Check Your 6. It was an aerial photograph of some Pacific islands with a hex overlay, and it was printed on fleece. I always though this was very clever, and when I started to work on my own terrain I thought I would try this method. Here’s a step-by-step.

  • Find something to print. Personally I browse Wargames Vault but there are other sites, like RPG Now, that have the same files. I have printed full size mats using graphics from WargamePrint, Heroic Maps, Tiny Worlds and Dave Graffam Models.
  • Decide what size mat you are going to print. I use Walmart Photo for my prints, and currently they have two fleece blanket sizes; 50″x60″ and 60″x80″. For the remainder of this tutorial I’ll be using a 60″x80″ print as the example.
  • Prepare your file for upload. As I am a Mac snob, my examples are from Affinity Photo but the techniques apply to any photo editor.
  • Convert the color format to RGB (8 bit). I understand that, in general, it’s better to print in CMYK color space but file size becomes an issue with these. This example tiff was reduced from 335 MB to 228 MB by switching to RGB.
  • This image from WargamePrint has a border around it that I didn’t want on the final product, so I cropped it.
  • Next you’re going to want to resize the image to 60″x80″. It’s important to do this before uploading it for printing. I made the mistake once of allowing the website to resize the image and the edges came out very blurry. I alter the ratio and resize these to 60″x80″, however it would also work to resize it to 60″x90″ and then crop it again. I’ve always used bilinear as the resample method without issue, however your results may vary.
  • Lastly you need to export the image as a jpeg for upload. I have no idea what the size limits are for uploading files at Walmart Photo. Put it this way, the FAQ on the site still references Netscape. I’ve just done this through trial and error. I know that this image works at 9000×12000 pixels. Again, your results may vary.
  • That’s it. I think the process of uploading the file and ordering a print is pretty self-explanatory. Just be sure to use the Full Photo Fleece blankets, NOT the plush. Good luck!

Workbench Roundup – January-April 2019

Not much in the way of articles or AARs this year, but there has been some production. Here’s the fruits of my labor for the first third of 2019.

Modified the barrel (slightly) to convert a Warlord Panzer III to the Flammpanzer version to use in the Chain of Command Storming the Citadel campaign we’ve been playing at Huzzah.

Finished up a Blitzkrieg Miniatures Staghound for my Brits.

Photoshopped a bunch of cobblestone roads and had them printed on a fleece blanket.

Painted up some various battlefield scatter.

Converted a Pringles can to a concrete silo.

Contributed to the Polish defense with some vehicles.

Added to my never ending WWII Germans for Chain of Command.

Tried something new and free-handed some advertising murals on some Sarissa buildings.

Polished off some fences and leader bases from Charlie Foxtrot.

Copied what others before me have done and used a Charlie Foxtrot warehouse to make a French garage.

Built a canal for my Sarissa bridge.

Finally airbrushed these Sarissa DFS 230s.

Had some more fun with fleece.

Started my Arnhem Bridge project which included a printer upgrade.

And lastly, designed and printed these modular Force Morale trackers for Chain of Command.

Cheers!


Cold Wars ’19 Photo Dump

No AAR, but I did grab some pictures at Cold Wars – mostly of my Saturday game. Enjoy.


The Duvel Brewery

“I look for ideas at conventions and on the web, then I steal them.” – Me

Back in 2013 I reviewed a 28mm Crescent Root Studios warehouse. It’s a great piece, but it hasn’t been in heavy rotation in my games. I think the driving factor was it didn’t have a purpose. It was just this big set of buildings without a theme in the context of my other terrain.

Thanks to Richard of Too Fat Lardies I found inspiration to resurrect the warehouse and turn it into something I will use more often. A few years ago Richard started posting a series on his blog about building a brewery. This, combined with the release of the 1940 Handbook for Chain of Command and an idea I had for running a game at Cold Wars, made me think that converting my warehouse into a brewery may be a good idea.

I could have just made a sign and strewn a few barrels about, but I wanted to take the opportunity to do a few minor upgrades otherwise I feared it would just sit around gathering dust again. I applied the same techniques to all the buildings, and have used the outbuilding/shed as an example.

I started by touching up the building walls by painting over some obvious tabs and then giving them a wash of Vallejo Sepia to bring out some detail.

I then turned my attention to the doors. I painted the hinges and pulls, gave them a wash and then some dry brushing.

Lastly, I focused on the roofs. The detail on these was a little soft, and they had tabs that were showing through so I decided to reshingle them. I purchased some self adhesive laser cut paper S-Scale shingles from Rail Scale Models. These were placed directly on the existing roof pieces. I then gave them a wash and dry brushed them with multiple colors.

Once the buildings were done, I decided to copy Richard’s work a bit and add a smoke stack. I bought an HO stack from Walthers and covered it – somewhat poorly – with some textured brick paper a friend had given me. It was then given a wash and some light dry brushing. I then added an O-Scale ladder to cover up my awful vertical seams. It isn’t the best match for the other brickwork, but it’s good enough for me.

Next I applied the same techniques I used on the buildings to the walls and platforms by touching up some exposed tabs and giving them a wash. I then made the decision to make a permanent base. In the past I thought that I may use the platforms and/or walls in other settings, but that never happened. I had a piece of tempered hardboard that was the right size, and to this I attached a piece of JTT grass matt to act as a moisture barrier and a base for the flocking.

I layed out the walls and platforms, then once satisfied secured them with carpenter’s glue. After this had dried I applied the flock and tufts I wanted.

To add some final detail I wanted to add an illuminated sign. I had a 3V gooseneck lamp in my electronic gadgets box, so I wired it up with a switch. I then printed out a sign, affixed it to a thin MDF base and overpainted it. I simply attached it with poster putty so if I want to change theaters or whatnot I can.

Overall I’m pleased with the outcome and feel that this will get the playtime that it always deserved. I’m also happy that, apart from the large base, that it still breaks down for easy storage. As with anything of mine I imagine it will evolve over time. I have more barrels to add, and am already on the lookout for a hand cart.


Fall In Prep

Through late summer and now early fall I’ve mostly been working on the odds and ends for the games I’ll be running at Fall In in November. Friday late afternoon I’m running my reworked Chain of Command u-boat raid, and Saturday morning I have a Sharp Practice French and Indian War game scheduled. Here’s what I’ve been working on for my FIW game.

A Grand Manner cabin:

Some standards for the British Regulars, and some Litko movement trays:

A blockhouse from Old Glory with some palisade walls given to me by the owner of my FLGS:

A pumpkin patch using some JTT Pumpkins with a corduroy field and a Blue Moon wagon with a Fife and Drum handler:

A longboat from Firelock Games and some dock pieces from Ainsty Castings:

The H.M.S. Wet Bream, a frigate from Firelock Games with coffee stained sails sewn by the wife:

Some 18th century sailors from Galloping Major Wargames:

And finally a playtest at Southern Fried Lard in Richmond:

 


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