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Making the Hells Canyon Battlemat


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Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP writes:

Bill, my bad. I thought at first you kept them as separate pieces, adhered to several separate pieces of foam core. After re-reading your article, I see that you made one large mat, on a continuous piece of foam core.

Now that I understand your method, I would suggest blackening the space surrounding the print piece edges, on the foam core, before gluing the print pieces down. Line them up on the foam board, marking the edges. Use a permanent marker to blacken 2mm on either side of the edge, then glue the pieces in place. Any gaps should be covered by the black marker pen ink, hiding any white patches.

You can even do this after laying down the print pages, but you will get some black overlap, which may be noticeable. I've done that, too. Be careful with the marker, as it is quite easy to slip, and put black lines on your mat…

I ran into your same issue when applying printed castle tower and wall sections, to 3mm cardboard, for heavy duty, 3D models. I began blackening the edges, and joint areas before gluing the print pieces in place, and that works quite well. If anything shows through, the viewer only sees black, not white. Cheers!


Revision Log
1 October 2017page first published

986 hits since 1 Oct 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

Imagine that your campaign needs unique terrain right away – in this case, a canyon. If you don't have time to make 3D terrain, a 2D battlemat may fit your need.

Hells Canyon

For this workbench article, I'll be using the Hells Canyon battlemat in the GroundTiles series from Creative Flame Games. This battlemat came out in 2000 and is no longer available, but I bought it so I'm going to finally use it. grin

I bought this product years ago on Wargame Vault, and downloaded the nine-page PDF. The nine pages provide a cover page, instructions page (minimal), layout guide, and six pages of 7" x 10" ground tiles.

Hells Canyon Master Layout

The first step is to print out the six terrain tiles (one per page). You may need to experiment with your printer to see what combination of settings and paper gives you the best results.

Printed tiles

Since these tiles only fit together in one way (they aren't geomorphic), I'm going to cut them out and glue them down to a sheet of foamcore.

Gluing down the tiles

I'm assuming my foamcore sheet was cut square, so I'll start gluing tiles down from one corner and work to the opposite corner. I've had bad luck in the past using spreadable paste, as it either soaks into the paper and causes it to wrinkle, or it doesn't go down flat and the battlemat ends up with lumps. Therefore, I'm using Elmer's Craft Bond Spray Adhesive (just follow the directions on the can, and spray outside unless you want to breathe in bits of rubbery glue).

All the tiles are glued down

Despite my best efforts, the battlemat is not perfect – you can see white seams where I did not cut the tiles perfectly straight.

Tiles and seams

Maybe I should have used black foamcore instead of white foamcore?

Trimming the edge

I used a foamcore cutter to trim off the excess foamcore. (Apparently, I can't cut a straight line, either…)

Fighting on the battlemat

And now, my figures can battle it out on the 1" x 1" gridded battlemat.

Fighting on the battlemat

Even with the grid, questions may come up regarding where figures can move, how the terrain blocks line of sight, does that slope up or down, etc.