25 July 2008

"A Table to Play On"

The bare MDF board, cut into two foot squares, awaits.

Please excuse the rather oblique reference to the novel by E.M. Forster, A Room with a View! ;-) At any rate, I have just finished applying the second coat of Olympic interior latex paint – “Grassy Meadow” – to one side of 16 two foot squares of ¾” MDF board. And I can’t wait to lay out some buildings, hills, trees, and figures for a small solo affair!

Funny how a couple coats of paint will transform mundane building materials into a thing of beauty, isn't it?

Earlier this afternoon, the Grand Duchess and I visited our local Home Depot (big box DIY store) where I purchased two 4’x8’ sheets of MDF, a gallon of paint, a couple of cheap paint rollers, disposable roller pans, and paint stirrers. One of the guys at the store even cut the sheets into uniform two foot squares for me. Our poor little Toyota Corolla sure looked weighted down with all of that in the trunk (the “boot” to UK and Commonwealth visitors).

So, after 25+ years of dreaming and waiting, I now have my very own 6’x8’ table to play wargames on! And as Jeff Huddelson suggested to me some time ago, I can also space the supporting tables out a bit, extending the playing surface to 6’x10’ if desired. Why, it’s almost as exciting as Christmas morning!

The extra four squares, slated to become moduler river sections ala Peter Gilder and others.

Now, an interesting thing occurred to me as I was painting my table top. The extra four squares and six to eight of the others will have streams/rivers/ponds/lakes painted onto the bottom side after Grassy Meadow has been applied. I’ll take care to make sure that the streams and rivers meet at the center of squarer edges, which will enable me to construct quite a variety of battlefields. All those neat Charles S. Grant scenarios with river crossings, bridge demolitions, and such will become a distinct possibility.

If all of the above weren’t enough, the rest of the weekend is mine to attempt speed painting those 20 or so RSM marching French musketeers as an independent company of infantry, discussed here and at Old School Wargaming Yahoo group a few days ago. The Grand Duchess is meeting her father in Northern Wisconsin to attend a big aviation show at Oshkosh, so the Grand Ducal feline “Rannveig” and I will be left to our own devices here in Zum Stollenkeller. I keep telling Sonja that the kitty and I might get into all sorts of trouble while she’s away. As the great English actor Michael Caine stated at the very beginning of the film Blame it on Rio (1984), “You just never know." Enjoy the weekend, men!


andygamer said...

Your Grand Duchess sounds like a true, noble Queen to me.

Are you going to have the table permanently up? If yes, I've got a few suggestions for you taken from a friend's permanent table.

Anonymous said...

I am officially jealous :)

Andy Mitchell said...

Great stuff: I can almost imagine the Grand Duke bouncing around the room with excitement.

Of course, there is a down side to all this: the larger the table the more terrain you need.

Bluebear Jeff said...

I have some "reversible" 2x2 terrain boards myself . . . and, if I may make a suggestion . . . don't forget to paint the edges of each board.

Yes, I know that they aren't supposed to show . . . but they sometimes do.

Another thing (although it seems obvious) is to make sure that all of your "river ends" not only meet at the center of boards, BUT HAVE A STANDARD WIDTH at those board edges.

Other than that, of course, they can vary their width while inside each board.

Another suggestion is to be sure not to make them too "uniform" or "straight".

A "straight" river board (going from one side to the opposite side) is more interesting if it loops over to one side. It then changes the character of the river depending upon which way you place it.

Try sketching out a number of different paths on square pieces of paper and see what you like best. And don't forget an "island" or two.

One final piece of advice . . . be sure to have enough "blank sides". It is easy to get carried away with more elaborate terrain boards, but you will always have a use for those "empty" sections.

Have fun!

-- Jeff

Bluebear Jeff said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the table DOES indeed look good with its green paint.

-- Jeff

Martin said...

Hey Stokes,

Lookin' good. The neat thing about the way your table is put togeter, you can paint the underside blue. You never can tell when the naval and/or arial wargaming bug will bite! That way you're all set to simulate actions on the land, sea, and air!



rpardo said...

Hahaha... alone in house with only a cat?.... In Spain we say "estar de Rodríguez": the wife and children to the beach, whereas the 'poor' husband is left alone in the town working.... and painting, and playing with the "amigotes"...
Good painting ;op

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

...brilliant - to take up Jeff's point - you can never have too many blank one's - but if you use both sides of the tiles (and no-one really want to play naval games.. ;o) ) you can have all the tiles plain on one side, or with a terrain feature on the other??

You may also want to consider not painting the features on at all but constructing them separately to place on top of the tiles as this gives even more flexibility - Henry had a good tutorial on his Battlegames blog if your interested??

tidders said...

Congratulations on getting your gaming table up and running. I do like the lovely shade of grass green.

Using 2ft square modules will certainly give you plenty of flexibility for the future.

-- Allan

A J Matthews said...

A lovely set-up, Stokes! I'm jealous! ;) May you have many happy games upon it.

Grimsby Mariner said...

Stokes it's good to see a man so happy with such a chore. just imagine how you'd feel if said space was vertical and it meant painting a wall in the house!

To echo others- paint the edges & the undersides - both will prevent warping of the boards if nothing else.

Personally I'd go for loose terrain rather than permanent. One of the drawbacks for the club scenery is the restriction of roads and the rivers that are placed on you with a limited choice.


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