Eventually we’re going to need some water features for our battlefield. In general I prefer to buy y terrain, but this is strictly a DIY proposition.
The first question is what to make our rivers out of? If I have to buy something I want a material that is very thin, and will lay over my boards (so it can also be used for roads which may have to run over hills). After asking online and scouring the internet, one suggestion seems especially promising: ordinary cotton fabric with a heavy coat of paint. And luckily I have both some spare fabric, and the rest of the house paint from painting the main battlefield. This old brown cloth is a scrap from a gaming mat I mad once:
This is a bad photo but it is a light mottled brown (perfect for dry/desert ground). I cut a 12” square, lay it out on a trash bag and apply a nice substantial coat of my green house paint:
I grab a couple clips (the kind made for holding chip bags closed) and hang it somewhere to dry. This is my music stand - the wife won’t care of it gets a spot of green paint on it:
After this has dried for a couple hours, it’s time to make the rivers. I mark off some test strips. I make some 3/4” wide and some a full inch. Using a pair of pencils I draw rivers down the middle of each strip. I tape the pencils together, so no matter how many curves I draw, I know the river will be the same width so when I put pieces together they will fit:
I grab my pot of Coat d’Arms dark blue and paint the river. My fabric now looks like this:
Once the blue is dry, it is time to muddy the waters. My first color is Olive Green. I paint wide, long streaks down the middle of my test strip, followed by smaller highlights using Russian Brown. This is followed by British Khaki along both banks. The banks are then highlighted and touched up with Horse Tone Dun. Finally I paint a harder edge on each side using Dark Green. Going back over the colors where necessary my test strip now looks like this:
Next step will be to add an edge of flock and clump foliage along each bank. Riverbanks are always among the lushest places you’ll find. Plus it just adds some dimensionality to what might otherwise look like a piece of dirty ribbon. The last step will be to coat the water with a coat of gloss so it has the shiny look that really makes water “pop” on the tabletop. Here are two shots of the river with the flock in place and a third with a 6mm cannon for scale:
Up next, finishing touches, and mass production.