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"Terrain Cloth Tutorial" Topic

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2,952 hits since 1 Apr 2012
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The Lion01 Apr 2012 3:37 a.m. PST

Due to space limitations I had decided to put on some English Civil War battles using 10mm figures on my 5ft 6 by 3ft kitchen table.

We usually use teddy fur cloth for our 28mm games but that doesn't work for 10mm.

Inspired by the fantastic show battles and scenics by Jeff "War Artisan" Knudsen and his associates I wanted to try to achieve something similar. I live in London and a lot of the materials that Jeff mentions are not available in or are known by different names in the UK so I wasn't quite sure what to use.

After a fair bit of experimentation I came up with a fairly good technique and I thought I would create a tutorial for anyone wanting to try something similar.

Here is the link:


Make sure you also search for War Artisan's images and those of his his associates. I know they are regulars on here.

Ferbs Fighting Forces01 Apr 2012 4:19 a.m. PST

Interesting article, thanks.


My Blog: Ferb's Fighting Forces updated daily

jameshammyhamilton01 Apr 2012 4:31 a.m. PST

Very nice.

I may have an experiment.

skinkmasterreturns01 Apr 2012 5:15 a.m. PST

I like it,I may have to do something similar.I can relate to translating the names of various products.I remember picking up Ian Weekly's book on model building and really scratching my head over what was what material.I still dont know what kitchen paper is.

bruntonboy01 Apr 2012 6:23 a.m. PST

Mr Lion…do you have a link for those buildings?

Goober01 Apr 2012 6:53 a.m. PST

Very nice. Good tutorial and a great table to game on.

Andrew Beasley01 Apr 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

Impressive – very neat and life like result.

Yesthatphil01 Apr 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

Looks very good.

How permanent is the grip on the scenic material, and will it roll up for storage (then roll out again without too much moulting?)?

I'm sure the answers will be up beat … but I do historical battles for events, and this looks like a 'quick set up' approach if it has the durability and will lay flat enough (hills and ridges can still be added from free positioned components if the basic 'aerial photo' surface goes out quickly from the roll).


Thanks for posting

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2012 8:29 a.m. PST

This is basically the technique that War Artisan & I use,



You did it very well BTW. I like the coth use used as a base too.

The flock can rub off, in which case you can reapply the flock, if its a different colour, it will not matter mcuh or leave a suffered area of bare earth, again it enhases the overall effect.

The Lion01 Apr 2012 8:38 a.m. PST

Bruntonboy: Dave Graffam Models are here:

You have to scale them down for 10mm as they are based on 28mm scaling.

The others I just did quite a bit of Googling to find ones I liked and could scale down.

The Lion01 Apr 2012 8:47 a.m. PST

Thanks 138squadron. It was yours and Jeff's sets that inspired me to try to find a way of coming up with something similar. Great work.

Yesthatphil: As has been mentioned as long as you use a colour of sealant that looks like earth then it doesn't matter if the flock does come off. If it does it is dead easy and really quick to patch it up with a bit of fresh sealant and some more static grass and the patchiness actually enhances the look.

I think it would be ideal for quick set up at demo games as it is light and easy to store. Someone suggested keeping it rolled up in a lenght of plastic drainpipe but I just chuck mine behind a cupboard. It still comes out fine.

Yesthatphil01 Apr 2012 9:06 a.m. PST


Temporary like Achilles01 Apr 2012 9:28 a.m. PST

Lovely work!

Mapleleaf01 Apr 2012 10:16 a.m. PST

Very nice – good tutorial makes me want to have a go at my own mat for my 6mm stuff

Thanks for sharing

bruntonboy01 Apr 2012 11:58 a.m. PST

Thanks Mr Lion!

elsyrsyn01 Apr 2012 8:09 p.m. PST

Interesting idea – thanks! I'll have to do some experimenting with different brands of acrylic caulk on this side of the pond.


Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Apr 2012 2:12 p.m. PST

Bravo, Lion!
Great work on the battlecloth and the tutorial.

(and thanks for the nod!)

The Lion02 Apr 2012 2:49 p.m. PST

Thanks Artisan. It was your work that inspired me to do that. I spent ages looking at your sets on Flickr and decided I would try to do something close.

I don't think Mine is anywhere near the epic scale of your work and the others in your group but I was quite pleased with the result and if it helps others to get good results then we are all happy. Cheers!

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2012 8:04 p.m. PST


Couple of thoughts,

Our cloths are not that epic, mine was with a canvas drop-cloth from the local DIY store. I've found 8' x 5' (250cm x 150cm) are about as big as are practicle. I did try one 12' x 8' but found it far harder to work with.

Our games are sometimes on a full cloth, but typically are 6 x 5 or 6 x 4. We also tend to field about 20 battalions of infantry a side which looks the part. This size of table works really well for us for our 'AFT games' as we tend to run them at home ('basement games' as they say in America. At the club setting we tend to have more space, but then you can only use the cloth in one configeration.

The advantage of not using the full cloth is that you can use it again and again in different combinations so as to give so many different combinations. Jeff's Battle of Brandy Station cloth has proved very flexible.

I think you'd agree that the technique is simple and can make a great looking table with a minimum of effort.

Bohemund03 Apr 2012 10:40 a.m. PST

Lion, I'm curious about your 28mm terrain. Could you share some thoughts about how to adapt this approach to 28mm, or some links to your 28mm terrain?

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2012 10:48 a.m. PST

The technique is fine for 28mm. The only change I'd make is make the roads wider at something like 40mm wide rather than the 20mm we've used on the 10mm games.

The Lion03 Apr 2012 12:23 p.m. PST

Hi Behemund. As I say in the first post I use teddy fur cloth for our 28mm games. I do have some pictures of that somewhere but the technique is generally pretty well documented. The only thing I would do for 28mm on the sealant and static grass cloth would be maybe scale size of the fields up a bit and, of course, use bigger trees, hedges and buidings.

Bohemund03 Apr 2012 12:58 p.m. PST

Thanks for your responses, gentlemen. These cloths really look great!

BBurger04 Apr 2012 4:18 a.m. PST

Bookmarked for future reference, as a decent terrain cloth – or a couple in various sizes, actually – have been high up my projects list for ages now.

We've used caulk as a base layer on terrain tiles before, and I use it for dirt tracks link as well, so applying it over cloth makes sense.

EricThe Shed04 Apr 2012 7:24 a.m. PST

looks great – love the aerial shot


Alfrik04 Apr 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

Here's my approach which is quite similar except that I bought the caulking in a tub, which allows much quicker application to the material.


I thinned the caulk with some water based paint so any area that might have the flock wear off would show a color compatable with the surface. I poured on the flock and rolled it with a rolling pin to work it into the adhesive caulk. To date after several years of use, there is very little worn off.

The Lion04 Apr 2012 3:49 p.m. PST

Rolling Pin = Genius…… (Why didn't I think of that!)

Bohemund22 Apr 2012 8:27 a.m. PST

I've made a terrain cloth for use with my 28mm figures. I'm pleased with the result, and will be using it in my game at Little Wars.

I will compare it to other methods at the convention, and decide what I want to do next.


The Lion24 Apr 2012 3:11 p.m. PST

Bohemund: That looks excellent! The bottom ones with the Viking Irish battle taking place are superb.

Thanks for the mention as well!

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