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"DIY Rubber/Latex Roads - Am I Deluded?" Topic

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1,007 hits since 11 Mar 2017
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donkey1 Inactive Member11 Mar 2017 9:17 a.m. PST

I am staring to get into warmgaming. I am fortunate to play with a small local group who are well equipped to put on all manner of games.

But I would like to start building my own small capability, starting with 20mm WWII skirmish.

I have begun to look at scenery, first at latex roads. I googled and found several suppliers typically offering a kit for £50.00 GBP – this was or unpainted stuff. Naively I thought "a bit pricey but that should have everyhing I would need", but I was shocked to see that there was very little in it, covering a few feet at most.

So this is my thoughts. A quick google showed that I can get about 5 litres of moulding latex for £28.00 GBP

I can make up some wooden sections of road, nothing fancy, the commercial ones I was looking at were pretty basic.

Push the wooden template into clay (or use plaster of paris) to make moulds.

Consevative estimates would suggest that I could make about 40 feet of roads with 5 litres.

So am I missing anything. Anyone tried this. Does it work or would it be a waste of time and money.



lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

I have made some pretty dandy roads that look good, lay flat and are durable using caulk and newspaper. Spread a thin layer of caulk on the paper, let dry and use scissors or craft knife to cut the road to the size you want. Been using these roads for years and they are holding up well. A cheap way to make lots of roads of different sizes.

chuck05 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Mar 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

Are you dead set on latex as your medium? I made a 100 feet of felt road for under $20. USD I like then because they are light and travel well. They are durable. I also like that they conform the the contours of my terrain table.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2017 9:40 a.m. PST

I too used caulk to make roads. They have held up well for at least 10 years. I used tan caulk so only had to give them a wash when done.

The method was, cut a piece of felt slightly smaller than the desired width of the road and about 12 inches long. Lay that down on a nonpourus surface (tile). Cover with caulk including the edges, texture, let dry and remove with the aid of a thin but sharp knife.

I need more come to think of it.

Hlaven Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2017 10:49 a.m. PST

I have done the same as FusilierDan. Felt sounds good. I tried it with mats for lining shelves. That worked good too. I have made longer pcs and curves also.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

For those of you using caulk, which brands and type do you use?


Borathan11 Mar 2017 12:25 p.m. PST

I've used several types of caulk. You mainly want acrylic since you can apply paint to it unlike silicone. I've used a few types, normally you just want the cheapest that says it's flexible.

As a side note, one thing that works very well to prevent curling is to essentially line the roads with a bit of aquarium gravel while it's still pliable.

Also, if you want an easier way to make a LOT of dirt roads at the same time, go to the craft store and look for some of the mistake cuts of cloth that a lot of them have for really cheap and look for rougher cloth such as canvass. Just use up an entire tube of the caulk and spread it over a larger piece of the cloth and use the stone to mark out the various road pieces before using your tools to shape the track marks and similar into them. Sure, there will be some waste material, but the parts of it are cheap to begin with and you can pretty much get all the pieces you want in one swoop.

donkey1 Inactive Member11 Mar 2017 2:26 p.m. PST

Many thanks for the extra ideas. I had already read about using caulk and felt.

How flexible is that and does it sit flat nicely.

What about my idea for making latex ones – am I barking?



shelldrake11 Mar 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

Try looking for same gasket rubber sheets* they come in different thicknesses, but 0.8mm thickness is better for making scenery.

You can cut it how every you like to make roads or rivers. Just paint and flock as needed.

It might be cheaper than making moulds.

*also known as Viton/Fluorocarbon Rubber depending on where you are in the world.

chuck05 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Mar 2017 3:18 p.m. PST

Many thanks for the extra ideas. I had already read about using caulk and felt.

How flexible is that and does it sit flat nicely.

What about my idea for making latex ones am I barking?



Here is a pic of my felt roads in action. The felt is nice as it sorta grips to the texture of the gaming table or mat.



Mako11 Inactive Member11 Mar 2017 4:11 p.m. PST

I thought about gasket rubber too, when I saw it on a store's website, but apparently it can curl a lot, so is not an optimal material, if that is true.

People do use caulking for this, and appear to have done so successfully.

Thinner, is reportedly better, to prevent cracking.

I started another posting so as not to hijack this one, on materials used, since people used to mention just using plain latex caulking for this application. Lately though, I've been seeing mention of "paintable silicone caulk", so think it might be a superior material (less prone to cracking, and probably more flexible), if indeed it is paintable.

I'm interested in comments about that, especially from people who may have used both materials.

Early morning writer11 Mar 2017 6:09 p.m. PST

DAP acrylic latex sealing caulk material is cheap and easy to work with and takes paint well. Get it in the tube and use maybe three or four tubes, tops, at one go. And use a piece of flat glass as your base – easier to remove and yields a perfectly flat base. DAP material comes in at least four colors. Can also be used to create water as well as roads – I'd suggest using the clear for water and then paint to create the waterway of your choice, brown, green, or blue or whatever. Do not be dismayed if stays a little tacky once dried, hit with a coat of spray paint and when that dries, no more tacky – but do both sides.

Personal logo sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2017 6:14 p.m. PST

Cling wrap plastic taped down. Paper fibre wipes, brand name like Chux, cut to size, taped down.
Caulk, or pva mixed with paints or sand – improvise, paint over the roads.

I just painted on canvas, flocked the edges.

UshCha12 Mar 2017 3:49 a.m. PST

As ever off on a tangent. We use currently just use thin flexible card. Now the gain is you cut it in sections with a semi-circulat end (or two). As its this shap you can lay one on top of the other and due to the circle at the you get the ouside as a radious. Wide bends are just a series of flats but OK. Now doing this with a better, thin lay flat meterial has advangaes as it could look better. The problem with edgeing is you cant do this, you get "flex toad syndrome" you can't get the length/angle you need becuase you need an almost infinite number of curves and lengths. Having the road to lay on top of each other and the curved ends lets you have an inhinite range. Inevitable play vs art. A thin lighlt textured road of latex/Caulk may be a very good compromise.

Hexham13 Mar 2017 1:16 p.m. PST

Hi Nigel,

I made a very servicible set of roads using latex. I made a master using plasticine on a large shiny wall tile. I then surrounded the master with a lego wall, sealed it on the inside of the wall using cello tape. Then filled the structure with plaster of Paris.

When the mold had dried I carefully broke it from the tile, peeled the plasticine master out of the mold and you are ready to pour in your latex.

The latex was first coloured with an acrylic paint. The mold was put on a level surface and the latex poured in. It cured over night and was ready to pull out of the mold in the morning.

It was then given a light coat of scenic effects earth pigment, a light dry brush and voila!


Mako11 Inactive Member13 Mar 2017 1:43 p.m. PST

Shaun, if I'm reading this correctly, you used plaster of Paris as your mold material?

I would have expected that the plaster of Paris might absorb some of the latex poured into it, and bond with it, and be difficult to remove.

donkey1 Inactive Member13 Mar 2017 2:41 p.m. PST

Hi Shaun,

That sounds interesting. Are you UK based? What latex did you use. I'm not sure whether the stuff I have seen is for painting many layers to make moulds or whether you can pour it would only be to a depth of up to 5mm or so.

And was the latex paintable?



Hexham16 Mar 2017 2:54 a.m. PST

Hi Mako11, Nigel,

Apologies for the delay in posting.

Yes the mould is plaster of Paris. The latex does not stick to or get absorbed by the plaster of Paris. In fact as it cures it shrinks and draws back from the mould. Something to keep in mind when you make your master.

I used 2 different brands that I found on Amazon. Can't remember the first but the current one is "Scarva special effects liquid latex", which is designed to be layered but works fine when poured. You can colour it with acrylic or emulsion paints. it also takes these paints quite well. Mine are actually panted with scenic effects earth pigment.

I'll post some photographs when I get a Flickr account set up if you are interested.

Oh, and yes I am UK based.


Mako11 Inactive Member18 Mar 2017 10:35 p.m. PST

Hi Shaun,

No worries on the delay. Just glad you saw my query.

Thanks for the info and tips. I really appreciate them. I would love to see some photos, if/when you have the time to post some.

I'll have to give that a try, since I think I have some of those materials now.

Years ago, I made some beautiful dirt roads out of air-drying clay, and they looked really great. My attempts to make molds of those weren't very successful though, but I should have experimented a bit more, probably.

I tried brushing on liquid latex to make the molds from (and then planned to back that with plaster, to ensure it maintained its shape), but it has to be applied in very thin layers, and then permitted to dry well, so it was taking ages, and in some cases, never cured at all.

I didn't want to use the oven in the house to speed curing, which I've read some people do, when working with latex.

I suspect your method of using plasticine and plaster, and/or where others use silicone for mold making would be preferable.

I'm in the USA.

Best regards,


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