Friday, July 1, 2011

Easy Roads

For some time I've been trying to come up with a simple, easy and cheap method for creating roads for my games.  I wanted them to be flexible to conform to terrain, as well as be easy to transport.

A friend of mine had come up with a great idea using some offcut rubber strip he got from a customer a long time ago.  I wanted to have roads like these, but the material he used was not readily available.

I finally figured out a good way to do what I like to call "Dan roads".

The roads are made from Con- Tact Premium Grip Liner.  I picked this up at the local DIY store.  I would imagine this could be found pretty much anywhere.  It is a textured, rubber mat about 1/8" thick and comes in a 4' roll.  The roll is 18" wide.

I simply slid back the outer wrapper to expose as much liner as I needed for the width of my road and started slicing through with a sharp utility knife.  I then learned there is a cardboard spool in the center, and a layer of clear plastic as well.  The spool slid out easy enough, and cutting continued. 

I measured the width of my roads based on the size of a 15mm infantry base.  I also didn't use a straight edge, so the road edge came out uneven.  For me this is OK because it will look more like a dirt road.  For city streets I would use more care to make sure the edge was true.

Once cutting was done I unrolled the pieces and gave them a generous coat of dark brown acrylic paint.  I then hung them to dry.  The pictures shows them drying.  I painted them one half at a time for ease of handling.  It is a rubber material, so the paint didn't cover that well.  I used cheap craft paint, so I was not worried about using too much and slathered it on.

A light brown/ tan was then streaked and drybrushed over the brown.  The liner has just enough texture to pick up from some drybrushing, which looks OK for a dirt road in 6- 15mm, and would look pretty good for asphalt in larger scales.  A bit of off white was then lightly drybrushed  onto the roads, and they were finished.

Here are a few shots of the finished roads in use. 

The roads are stored rolled up.  The end in the center of the roll curls very hard, causing it to bow up from the table.  I think alternating the direction the roads are rolled up will help them lay flat in the future.

 A detail shot of the road.

Overall I like the way they turned out.  There is a good cost/ time/ detail ratio with these roads.  I'm just curious now as to how well the paint will hold up to the rigors of gaming.

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