Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Ocean Tiles - A Project Salvaged!

The tiles on the table. 25 x 25 array.

Triremes by TRE Games; islands by JR Miniatures

Customs inspection on Lake Hekellu; the marines seem wary...

The shoreline tiles in use; I liked the 'wave' texture, myself.
Well, I was delighted to finally wrap this 'easy little project' up, last night. It had been a sort of trying week - we're in football season, which means more work for me - and I needed a little break to sooth my nerves. The tiles did come out nicely, I thought.

These are pretty basic. I started by cutting MDF sheet stock - this was well over two years ago, so these are 'old stock' - into my usual 9.5 x 9.5 squares. Paint with a nice light blue (from the 'mismatched paint section, if you'll recall) and - after the first coat is dry! - then splatter drops of a lighter blue-grey paint (same source) onto the tiles and dry-brush into long streaks across the tile to give a subtle wave pattern. I had found an old spray can of Pactra 'Transparent Blue' while I was getting out the paint thinner to strip the tiles of the unsuccessful polyurethane varnish, so I very lightly sprayed all of the tiles to add a little 'depth' to the 'water'. Finally, a coat of spray gloss polyurethane varnish to give the 'water' a little shine, and our miniature ocean is ready to use. (After it all dries hard, of course.)

The shoreline tiles had an extra step. A bit of tan paint to mark out the beaches, and then some diluted (50:50, water to glue) white glue - all right, "Elmer's" school glue, familiar to generations of kids - dabbed on to make patches of vegetation; while this is still wet, sprinkle on some Woodland Scenics ground foam - I used two colors, just for variety - and let the whole thing dry out. Results as seen above...

If I may philosophize for a bit...

Not every project here at the Workbench is a great success. This one was one of them; I got distracted by several things - like being a part of Dave Arneson Day at The Source - and I kind of let this one get away from me. There's a moral, here; take your time, do things carefully, and you'll get a good job out of it. However, once I got my hands back on the controls, I was able to salvage this project; there's probably a moral in that, as well.

And I think I should make a comment about domestic harmony, too. It's been remarked that I have a lot of tools and gear dedicated to my model building, and that's quite fair and accurate to say. It is, I think, one of the reasons why I have been married to The Missus for over twenty-five years; I make sure to do any stinky or dusty jobs outside in the back yard, and I make sure to clean up any mess I make inside the house. I also have all my own measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, mixing bowls, brooms, dustpans, and cleaning rags - these do not get mixed in with the household stuff, both for safety reasons and to keep the domestic authorities happy. 'Dollar Stores' and 'Poundland Stores' are the model builders' friends - visit them!

And don't try the old wheeze of "Chirine says it's all right!" either; they are on to that, and will simply laugh at you. Get your own stuff; it's cheap, an makes these projects a lot easier on you...


  1. Nice looking gaming surface! What sort of scenarios do you envision using it for, role-playing or more traditional wargaming?

  2. The short and very terse answer is 'yes', but you've asked a very good question and you deserve a much better answer. One is on the way, you should see it shortly... :)