£3 Door Mat or a Field for your Wargame

This is a write up of my explorations of turning some of the cheap door mats to fields for your wargame. When gaming in ground scales of 1:100, like chain of command, a foot (30 cm) equates to about 30 meter in on the table. So a field measuring say 6 by 6 inches (15cm square), is hardly more than a small garden. I have a number of field tiles that I have used for my 6mm wargaming that kind of works because the grand scales are significantly smaller and a field represents areas with cultivated land as opposed to individual fields, etc.

However I found this door mat from B&Q in the UK, they sell at £3 each. They measure 60 by 40 cm (this is about 2 foot by 1 and a quarter foot).

The idea with the mat is the hairy corduroy surface, this forms the basis of the furrows (the elevated aspect) and the base for the scatter (the hairiness). Oh, and a short note. people have used this kind of material before for their wargame fields – this is an attempt to apply a straightforward process with some additional elements to add some depth to the final result rather than claiming originality.

This is a close up of the mat

Anyway lets get started.

Step One – Shitbrown it!

The first thing I want to do it to add some colour to the mat I use a cheap acryloc burnt umber of something like (you could us an emulsion too) that I mix with a generous amount of PVA (this serves to stiffen the surface)
Just work the mess in, you could use a bigger brush than this. Then let it dry before the next step – I would wait about 24 hours.

Step 2 – Highlight it with Bailey’s

For the next step you need a light brown colour similar to the drink Bailey’s in colour. Again this is cheap hobby paint territory, the key is a light brown.
Then just drybrush it over, you do not need to be too careful and remove a lot of excess paint like if you would drybrush say a miniature etc. Do a few strokes on the top (this will be covered anyway) to get rid of excess paint then work it to look something like this, get some of the contrast into the areas between the furrows as this will be mostly visible. The whole idea is to get away from a monotone brownish area. You could leave to dry for a short while but it should not take long to be ready for the next step.

Step 3 – Slap on the PVA

For the next step you need PVA mixed with water at say 50/50 ratio (this is assuming a thick builder type of PVA) if you have more runny PVA then use a little bit less water. Mix it properly. You also need a fine top applicator – this is a typcial 18ml paint pot similar to a vallejo paint bottle. I have a fair few of these and I think I used about 7 or 8 for a mat so if you have a bigger bottle would be more efficient, just make sure you can control the amount that come out carefully.
Apply the glue to the mat on top of the “furrows”, the idea here is that the PVA will capture the scatter we apply for the next stage of the process. DO NOT do the whole mat in a go, I tend to do about a sixth of the mat before I do the next step of applying the scatter. I

Step 4 – Apply some Scatter let dry and Seal with PVA

Next we need to apply the scatter, but what do we use?. I have used two products with good success; (i) Woodland Scenics Fine Turf and (ii) Javis Scatter. In this example I have used a mixture of different Javis scatter shades of green. Too clumpy stuff (like the Yellow Coarse Turf from woodland scenics, that would be ideal for creating yellow fields is a little bit too clumpy) is more difficult to work with and I am currently avoiding it. Would be great to find a sawdust type of yellow scatter like the Javis one for making nice yellow fields. If you use a monotone mix perhaps you could add as a final thing before sealing with PVA a drybrush stage of a light colour then the one you used.

Apply the scatter and shake off, a few taps will suffice until you finished the whole mat.
Not the quickest work but the patience pays off. Now wait for it to dry (give it a day) and then give it a proper shake off, then spray some dilluted PVA on top (this is a strongly dilluted milky consistency mix with a little bit of fairly liquid, if you need to know how to do it, try this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGFmNUTfQr8) and let it dry to ensure that the scatter stays of top.
Effectful and simple to do. Looking pretty decent.

Here is another one that was done with some single colour scatter, then drybrushed with a ligther green as an example. BUT seal it with PVA before you drybrush and do it carefully so you do not loose the scatter. An additonal step. I prefer the first approach as it saves time and gives the contrast/depth in itself.

Single colour scatter with drybrush – works too.

Now of course you cut cut these into the sizes you need and that is what I will do. I intend to use these for 15mm groundscale games, making each filed 60 by 40 meters but also for some smaller scale games.

Here is a little bit of how they look versus 6mm, 15mm and 28mm miniatures (not the best light). I think they kind of work with all scales perhaps best with the 15mm.

28mm – these being from the Little One’s Crew he has designed for Stargrave and Five Parsecs From Home, but that is for another Podcast.

/ Hope that was of some interest, and if you do come across a sawdusty yellow flock or scatter let me know.

12 thoughts on “£3 Door Mat or a Field for your Wargame

  1. Nice tutorial – I have done similar with cheap small towels and washcloths from Walmart – but this is a great way to go big! Live this and filed away for future considerations, thanks for sharing Per.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Further Explorations with the £3 Doormat -Yellow Fields – Roll a One

  3. A great tutorial, and I agree with everyone else they look great. 15mm looks the best as you said. Part of me got to wondering if you cut them into strips then spread them out, as in miss a row width then they might work for 28’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Hobby Round-up of 2021 – An eclectic mix – Roll a One – Wargaming Blog

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