Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Boer War Terrain

     Continuing on with my recent bout of productivity, I thought I would display my recent terrain creations for my burgeoning Boer War project. I needed a surface to recreate the South African veldt over which my figures could be used. I've opted for a ground mat rather than terrain squares (as with my WW1 project). This was done primarily so I could place hills underneath the mat to create undulating terrain, but also in order to streamline storage and transport.

      I began with a simple wool army blanket, much like the ones used by firemen or first responders to warm victims. On top of this I put a thick layer of sand coloured latex based primer. While this was still wet I sprinkled fine construction sand. The results at this stage can be seen below:

Wool blanket w/ latex primer and construction sand. 
I used the construction sand in order to help give the surface a bit of texture and grit, while I chose latex based primer as it would prove to be more flexible once dry. Next, I put a very thick coat of the same sand coloured latex primer on top of the first coat (and construction sand). Once this was dry, I found that I had a very durable yet flexible surface to work with. The results of this stage can be seen below:

After the second coat of primer.
 After doing extensive research (read: google), I found that for the South African veldt I should be using a palet of greens, browns, and tans. I purchased some cheap dollar store craft paints for this purpose. Upon watering down these craft paints approximately 3:1, I used a large brush and painted them each on in large swatches. The results of this can be seen below:

Coloured swatches applied.
 I still was not yet happy with the results at this point. The colours seemed to distinct; there was not enough of a blend between them. I opted for some highlighting to solve the problem. I applied a heavy drybrush of very light brown (read: white with a hint of brown). On top of this I applied a light highlight of pure white, finishing the job. With a light sprinkling of ground foam ("smegma") I had lying around I had a complete ground mat.

Rolled up for easy storage

I left the sides unpainted so they could fold in upon rolling in order to contain all the "smegma"
I still have yet to perfect my system of hills. At the moment I am just using simple blobbish shapes cut from 1" pink insulation foam. 

With hills underneath.
 I am still working on more terrain required for this project, but I was able to scrounge enough to make a decent looking scene. I found a forgotten bag of spanish moss and put it to good use as scraggly patches of bush. The river is leftover from my previous Old West collection. Below are just some pics showing off the collection so far on the new mat.

Next time I will be constructing rocky outcroppings to turn these rolling hills into more abrupt South African "kopjes".


  1. Welp, time to go find myself a fireblanket and try this out. I've been hunting for a proper gaming mat for two years now. I like this a lot better then your older fur one.

  2. Excellent idea and would work perfect for those who travel a short distance to game at a club. Good looking terrain features plus figs.