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"Steppe grass terrain mat, to buy or make?" Topic

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Makhno191810 Nov 2020 7:10 a.m. PST

I've read a few discussions on this board already on similar topics, so apologize if I missed anything/am repeating.

I'm looking for a large mat with some decent grass texture, something like 10'x4 or 5'. I add static grass to my bases (steppe grass from the army painter), so i want the texture to be close. Any terrain features other than a giant field of grass I would just add on top (or under for some hills), I'm pretty set with home-made terrain items. The manufactured ones ive seen suggested here are smaller than what I'm looking for, so id need at least two, and what I've seen is too expensive for my budget.

I'm leaning toward the other route that I've seen suggested here: head to the local fabric store to buy a big sheet of fabric, something like Terry cloth or teddy bear fur. I figured I'd try to get it in brown, and find a decent green spray paint to make it look like grass.

I'm curious if there's any manufactured mats I don't know about thatd be worth checking out, and if there's particular fabric types that you may have learned through trial do or don't take well to spray paint/hold up under use. Other thoughts and suggestions are much welcome!

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2020 2:15 p.m. PST

If you are gaming with 28mm then for what you are describing I think you can't do better than synthetic fur. I see a few common issues with how it is used by many and my advice would be to cut it right back once you get it. A lot of people seem to paint it without cutting it back and to me it just looks like you are playing on the back of a green animal.
I personally don't think it makes for good crops either because crops stand erect whereas the synthetic fur lays down largely.
Dog hair clippers are your best bet for trimming it back but you can go with scissors also – it's just time consuming and can be painful after a time on the fingers. After all, it's rare to have grass much taller than past head height of a man – especially if it's grazed upon.
Lighter camel coloured fur works well and it takes acrylic paint very well.I use a spray gun but I imagine cans work well and I've seen very good results with brush painting and combing but it does look like a lot of work.

I'm not convinced fur takes scatter terrain all that well unless there's some weight behind them. If you are going to have set features on it then I'd suggest trimming patches back to base cloth – which also best represent tracks and roads.

If your figures are metal and based in multiples they should blend in and sit nicely. If plastic or single based they may prove less stable and bounce on the top of the pile.

If your hills have features built into them then I'm guessing they'll need to sit on top – otherwise you'd be placing them beneath? I find with any cloth or battle mat (especially with hills beneath) I first lay a removalist or quilted blanket and the mat on top. It reduced shifting and sliding and softens hills with gradual slopes.

If your scale is smaller then I'd suggest fur might be better avoided.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

Makhno191810 Nov 2020 2:55 p.m. PST

Thanks unlucky general. This is great information. I use 1/72 figs, probably would be too light for the faux fur, but maybe I could just cut the hairs down really far. I run by one or two of the local fabric shops and let you know if I find anything good, now I have a better sensee of what to look for

Makhno191814 Nov 2020 6:59 a.m. PST

I went to a fabric store yesterday and picked up a nice, dark green fake-fur piece of fabric 5'x10', cost me only $10. USD The fur is very short, most of it doesn't stand up at all, but has a nice texture. I wish I knew what it was called, but it had no tag or label.

I'm hoping to get a few different green spray cans and improve the color a little. My wife says the current green is what a king would wear for a cape.

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