Saturday, February 20, 2010

JoAnns Fabrics For Game Mats

Bought a roll of suede cloth from JoAnns that was 40% off. It's a light green - I think it's called "Celery", but the website lists it as "Green Tea." The fiber is such that there's no way things will get snagged on it. In fact, that is the main problem with the tan felt cloth I already have. The fibers of the felt always seem to get caught when trying to lift figures (both single based or on movement trays) - the natural reaction is to let your grip slacken on what you're trying to lift - not a good thing.

The suede cloth is just shy of 5 feet wide (4 feet, 11 inches) with the those edges already sewn from the manufacturer. The length is now a little over 9 feet - it was the end of the roll so I told them to just keep it on - not knowing it was that much longer. My wife already sewed the long-ends, but I will ask her to shorten it to 8 feet.  I really like the tan felt's color; and was actually at JoAnns looking for a green spray paint to add some variation to it. However, with the combination of the 40% off, fine texture of the suede, and the fact that the felt cloth was only about 6 feet square - the decision was made to go suede.

The suede cloth over the felt:
 An idea for the tan felt cloth may be a shoreline for the Hotz Roman Seas hex mat. Although, I'm going to give it a little more thought before I take out the pair of scissors.
Yesterday, I tried shaving the tan felt cloth in the way we used to shave wool berets to remove the "fluff." Didn't seem to work while testing the movement of figures; some of the wool fiber still was being grabbed. Took this photo of the Perry and Victrix French infantry in Attack Columns though - not a total loss.


  1. I'm a big fan of JoAnn's Fabrics! (And Michael's too, for that matter). I usually use good ol' army blankets for pasture/woodlands. I picked up tan, white & blue for desert, winter & ocean terrain, respectively at JoAnn's several months ago. Although I hadn't thought of shaving any of them.

    Let me know what you come up with!


  2. Ted:

    A few years ago (when I was still in the Army as a matter of fact), I was looking for an Army blanket for a mat. As you know, they come in various shades and textures (some really "wooly"). I searched ebay and even the surplus stores in Ponders - but, never saw a good deal. I think the stores in Ponders wanted something like $35; having been a Barracks Rat for 7 yrs (with issued blankets & all attendant memories!) I didn't want to pay them that much. BTW, the shaving didn't work on the felt that well. It worked for berets, though :).

    I plan to use the suede for the upcoming Sharp Practice playtests, as well as at Enfilade (unless I get some negative feedback on it). Dean

  3. Dean - I wondered if I could use the photo of your Oxybeles in a post later in the week? It will fully credited and the blog will be linked to. I want to show a picture of the pack as it comes and then how it can be magically transformed!


  4. Consul:

    Sure, no problem. Hmmm, "magically" transformed? You may get some critical feedback on that. ha! Best Regards, Dean

  5. Well, I think you've turned it into a great model! Love the bow string. You may have to tell me how to do that...

    I think I might stick to a similar colour scheme as it would let me use it with my Macedonians or Spartans, should the need arise.

    I'd also be interested to know why you didn't use the little 'diorama'/scenary piece they give you? Also, how come you didn't put them all on a single base?


  6. Consul:

    Oh, I just haven't gotten around to finishing that little extra piece. I still have it & will someday.

    The bowstring is just sewing thread; I used a dark color then highlighted it with a yellowish-white drybrush.

    Get a good length, tie it off at one end; then dab a small bit of glue (I used superglue). Then pull it taught & carefully glue it at the draw part in the center (behind the bolt); stretch it out to the other end of the bow & tie it off (again adding a drop of glue on the knot). You don't really need to tie an actual knot; you could wrap it around a couple of times & then drop the glue on it. Just make sure you have enough length of thread to manipulate it - tying it off and pulling it taught. The drops of glue will hold it in place and you can cut off the excess with a good pair of scissors.

    BTW, I added the thread after painting - as an afterthought. You should probably do yours before painting. If you make a mistake, you can pull of the string and try again, without damaging any finished paint work. Dean

    P.S. They're singly-based for casualty removal. Just a preference, you could just as well base it all together and keep track of the casualties. I like to single base most of my figures for future options.

  7. I like the fact you had to edit that post numerous times! I got several emails showing the progressional editing ;)

    Thanks for the tip on the string - i'll come back to this post nearer the time and follow the process.

    I'm not sure of the WAB rules for an Oxybeles or how many attacks/wounds it has. That will ultimately affect whether or not I multi-base. The least I will do is put the gunner and bow on a single base and have the runner on a seperate one. I'll just have to see when I get home and look at my collection of bases - I've got quite a selection now!

    P.S. As I wont be playing very big games in the early stages, keeping track of casualties wont be too hard. I might get round to making some markers one day.

  8. The rules for the oxybeles would be under War Machines of the AtG supplement. I would say this one is a Light Ballista. Two crewmen come with the weapon for free. You can add shield and light armor to them at cost. Only the Heavy Ballista and Stone Thrower allow extra crew to be bought (1 & 2 more, respectively). The machine itself can suffer up to 2 wounds, with a toughness of 5. You can have one war machine per phalanx in the army (bought from the Special Troops, Allies, Mercs points). The general use of war machines is explained in the main rulebook - affect of hits on machine and crew, etc. Regards, Dean

    P.S. Yeah, I wanted to rewrite the earlier post so it was clearer on how to add the thread (aka bowstring) :)

  9. OK, I'll make sure I look this up when I get home.

    I've got to look up a lot of things actually, particularly about the basing of multiple figures (perhaps 4 to a base) to see how this would affect certain things such as combat.

    So much work!

  10. Consul:

    Multi-basing won't affect your actual game play for WAB. Many folks do it. I've multi-based some of my rank & file spearmen (two per 40mm X 20mm base) for a Feudal German army and Hoplites. You should just allow for a few singles for casualty removals. I've seen many multi-figure based armies on the WAB Forum - this allows for mini-diorama style basing.

  11. Dean:
    I'm thinking of upgrading mat game mat - do you prefer the ones from Hotz or the ones you can create from a trip to JoAnn's or other fabric outlet.

    By the way, I really like the photo of your french in attack column, top-notch stuff.

  12. Well, the felt mat I am retiring was bought at JoAnns a few years ago - I think I messed it up when I washed it. That's when fibers started to come out more. I washed it because I had used lichen and I wanted to get rid of the smell :)! The Hotz game mat seems a lot smoother - it states it is treated with something so maybe that's why.

    I'm wondering if I should have spent a bit more for a War-Zone gaming board instead? I'm afraid to advise on this one. I'll let you know more on how the suede on is after a few games on it. Thanks again, Dean

  13. I use a felt game mat for my 25mm Western Gunfighter games. Not wanting to buy a Hotz mat, I treated the felt with a mixture of white glue and water (50/50, I think), allowed it to dry, then followed up with a quick ironing and a little spray paint. Never had any problems with pils or snags. When not in use, I keep it rolled on a tube.