Saturday, 16 November 2019

Rivers and an ACW game

This week I pulled out my old Minifig 15mm American Civil War (ACW) figures which rarely get a look in on the tabletop. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I decided it was time for an ACW game. Possibly as I an certainly in a Horse and Musket frame of mind at the moment with my recent Napoleonic gaming.

The week began with playing a game using the ACW rules from Neil Thomas's "Wargaming and Introduction", then moved to the One Hour Wargames version, and finally to a variant of the two which I will be posting after I have written up my notes.

A game set up and ready to play. I could not resist a black and white photo as I have been browsing Airfix Guide - American Civil Wargaming by Terence Wise since pulling out the ACW figures.
However, the purpose of this post is about rivers. Or more precisely sprucing up my blue felt rivers. As a general rule I like my terrain to be practical to use and easily made. So for a long time I have been using cut strips of blue felt to represent both rivers and streams. As I laid out the river on the tabletop for the next game I had an idea on how to hopefully make it look better with little effort.

My current river terrain
I recently purchased some oil pastels to help with modelling a St Nazaire project (which is still progressing slowly as I trial terrain options) and I thought I could use the pastels to break up the flat blue look of felt river. The oil pastels once applied don't easily come off the felt. If you remember ever having to remove crayon marks (drawings) on the walls made by your kids - that is how well the colour stays applied.

Oil based pastels are used (not the soft caulk type)

Here are some photos of the steps which took me all of 15 minutes.

A light blue is drawn in random lines. A bit of fluff is generated when applying the pastel and is easily removed when all colours are applied.
Additional brown and green is applied mostly around the river edges and to help the river look a bit murky in places. Finally white dashes are applied (see next photo) 
The final result with the white dashes added to make it look like a flowing river.
The game is now setup to play scenario 12 (an unfortunate event) from One Hour Wargames on a 4x4 foot tabletop.

All ready for action



20 comments:

  1. The transformation for such a simple application is amazing, though your stones and lichen always make for a compelling waterway. Looking forward to the write-up of this game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It turned out better than I expected. When I started I thought hmmm this may not work. Thanks.

      Delete
  2. As above!. That is a very effective way to spruce up an old standby.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This technique gives your felt rivers an extra dimension. I like it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I will now be on the lookout for other terrain to spruce up.

      Delete
  4. Nice work Peter. Love the black & white picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I still enjoy looking at those black and white photos in the old wargaming books.

      Delete
  5. A nice touch! These look really good.

    I gave up on my felt streams because lichen etc clung so tightly to them! Instead I tried thin foam sheets one can buy here in "Dollar Stores" and which took paint well. I never finished enough to do every river variation I needed, or do wide ones so I switched to blue painter's tape with hasty squiggles brushed on but something about them never looked quite right.

    Looking at yours it hit me that your lighter blue squiggles give the impression of light reflecting off the water, I've been using a blue slightly darker than the tape for squiggles because that's what colour paint I had to hand, hoping just to suggest movement. I need to either make more of the foam sections or at least change my squiggle colour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. The felt does catch on the stands, but I have found a light spray of matt varnish reduces the catching quite a bit. Using differing shades of blue and white squiggles certainly help to give the variety of colour.

      Delete
  6. A very nice upgrade; I did something similar brushing paint onto felt.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks. I too have used paint on felt roads. It will be interesting to see how the pastel colours hold over time and whether I will need to do touch ups.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looks tempting enough to canoe down!

    Regards, Chris.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Do you have trouble with the pastel rubbing off on your fingers, or can it be sealed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have only tried the oil based pastels over the last week. I have not found they smudge or come off through casual handling so far. I do plan for a light varnish spray to seal and also it reduced the catching on bases.

      Delete