Some people down at my club seem to think I only ever play WWII games. Recently I’ve been putting a medieval head on and playing some Lion Rampant, and have found myself in need of some terrain. First off the workbench is a whole spread of fields and some haystacks.
Of course, the nice thing about fields and haystacks is they work for just about any period (such as, er WWII!).
No real effort from me here, these are resin ones from Warbases. These were nice clean castings that required no work at all. Just a quick scrub, spray undercoat, a dark brown wash and a couple of drybrushes. Stupidly easy terrain for less than a tenner and minimal work. Job done.
Again, you’ve all seen a doormat cut up before. I got one from Ikea for £7, and that’s managed to make me 18 fields ranging in size from 6×5″ up to 12×10″. I kept all the dimensions multiples of 5″ or 6″ so that the small ones and the big ones will tesselate nicely. Sticking to a multiple of 6″ and 12″ means they also work nicely with our 12″ Last Valley hedge sections at the club.
The Ikea mat cuts relatively easily, just whack a new blade in your Stanley knife and cut against a steel ruler and you shouldn’t have any trouble. I know other people have had trouble with coir mats off eBay that have had really tough backings that are a mare to cut through, but this particular one has fairly soft rubber. That rubber is a very pale brown colour (there’s a good photo on the Ikea site) so you’ll need to paint the edge of that after cutting.
You could just leave it at that; cut to size and paint the edge. They look ok at that stage, but I did give them a bit of a tart up. First thing I did was chamfer all the edges. Real fields have slightly shorter plants at the border, and the coir mat does have a bit of a grain to it that leaves some of the edges quite scruffy. So taking a sharp pair of scissors I trimmed down the sides. Frankly this is a bit of a sod to do, but does make them look a lot better.
After that I painted about 2/3 of them with a thinned honey colour (a Wickes “Lions Main” tester) and then some of those I went back and lightly drybrushed with a very anaemic yellow (Wickes “Primrose”). That gives me three shades to get a bit of variation between fields.
I haven’t bothered to flock the edges, although some people like to. I quite like the look of coir mat as wheat fields, to me it looks a lot more realistic than ones made of teddy bear fur which always just seem to look like, well, teddy bears to me. The debate about the “hovering miniatures” problem will no doubt rage on…
Wilko are currently doing a ribbed indoor doormat for the stupidly low price of 88p, so I got three. They do them in various shades of brown and grey, so pick what you like. I chopped them into sizes that match my wheat fields. Some are small enough that I’ll make them into little kitchen gardens, and some are big enough to be fields. The super-straight furrows are probably a bit unlikely for pre-industrial fields, but I’m not overly bothered.
I thought painting them was going to be a quick job, but it turns out they’re a sod to paint with a brush. They’re so absorbent that they just slurped up loads of paint without much effect. A can of cheap spray paint turns out to be the way forward, I did some in brown and some in black, then drybrushed up to lighter browns. After the first attempt at this I thought they looked a bit flat, so I scattered on some coarse sand and small stones to break up the monotony a bit and resprayed them. It’s made a big difference, I think.
Like the wheat I’ve done a range of sizes, and cut one in half diagonally to make some triangles so I’m not totally limited to chequerboard patterns. On a couple I painted a bit of PVA on the tops of the furrows and threw some flock at them to look like fields of very young plants.