Now don’t get me wrong I like gaming mats, they are easy to roll out onto a table and if you have enough of them they can cover every battle field. But as its a mat its well a little flat, no rolling grass plains, no feel of your troops pushing through long grass to find that hidden village to pillage.
With this in mind I had seen a few tutorials about making a gaming mat from Fake fur and decided it looks easy so why not give it a go myself.
So for this project, you’re going to need the following;
1. Fake Fur.
2. Paints and Brushes
3. Sharp knife
5. Hair Trimmers and an old comb
6. Flock, leaves, small stones etc.
With new ideas, I often make a small concept piece something to try out what I want to do and really see if it works. It means I waste fewer materials before I start the project for real.
Now one of the big things to consider when buying your Fake Fur is the length. I’ve seen a few tutorials where they are buying super long fur, then spending 20 minutes shaving it down before use. I didn’t see the point of this so went for some that are about 1″ as it gave me what I needed. The other thing is the colour, don’t go too dark unless that’s what you want as an end result. A honey/golden yellow for me has worked best.
So for the concept piece I simply cut a slab of blue foam and then used paper tape to wrap around the edges to make them look better.
The adhesive is going to be something you will need to think on. I found a nice carpet adhesive at my local Poundland and went that route. Its a little tacky, but after seeing a few people say that PVA just wicked into the material I felt that carpet glue was going to be the best plan.
So I just liberally applied the glue to the top of the foam core slab and placed it on the fake fur. Sat a few books on it to keep in place and had a cup of tea or two. It took about two hours to set to a point where I was happy to start carrying on.
The next bit is simple, with a Very sharp knife trim off the excess material. Now I would suggest that at this point you vacuum the piece as you will have a lot of loose hair that you don’t want. You might want to ensure you have plenty of space before you start the trimming stage as well. If your worried I would suggest putting down something to protect the surfaces as well, trust me this fake fur seems to be like sand, it gets everywhere. I was Vacuuming it up for days afterwards. So lessons learned and all that.
In a few tutorials I’d seen people use scissors to do this and to be fair in a small piece that’s fine, in a large piece that’s going to take you ages. A quick search on eBay and I found some head trimers and had already decided that was going to be the fastest idea.
Before you go mad and start trimming away, diced what direction your going. If its just a field, then perhaps cut down certain areas as not all grass grows at the same speed. If you want tracks then you will have to cut back pretty deep. This is going to expose the backing material, so you will need to decide on your plan for that. I have found that a flexible filler put down and painted can look great as muddy tracks. You might have made proper road elements to drop in places as well.
As this was a test piece my cutting was a bit random, I wanted a sort of grassy plain.
I would at this stage pull a comb through the piece and then go over it with a vacuum. You want to get rid of any loose fur before you go onto the painting.
Right before you get all excited and end up with a field all the same colour have a look at some grasslands, the grass is a mix of colours and that’s what you need to consider when you paint yours. Whilst large areas might be the same colour its really broken up.
The easy wait to do the painting is to daub the paint into an area and with an old comb drag the paint through and area. You can be pretty rough as you want to get that paint moving about. Then add another colour to another area and go again. You are using the same concept as people when they wet blend.
Paints wise I buy cheap artist style paints and tester pots. The cost in miniature style paints would just be insane, so honestly don’t try. I used a few different greens, some yellows, browns, a basic skin tone which in small dots and then combed into other areas really gave a spring feel.
Once the piece was dry (About 4hrs) I then added flock, mixed flowers, small stones I thought would look good in barren areas where I’d gone a bit to heavy-handed with the trimmer.
So all in all at the end it did look a bit messy in places, which I tidied up with a few extra paints. But as a piece, it does have a very natural feel to it. If you comb the paints through it stops it clumping as well. So no big areas of matted paint. Aso if you find the area looks a bit flat, just comb it to bring it back into shape.
So in part 2, I’ll be upscaling this to us on an old GW terrain tile.
If you enjoyed the article check out other Terrain ones I’ve done and it’s always great to hear peoples feedback too.
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