Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Hills Are Alive, and Hollow

During this next week or so I should receive some more of the new MDF pieces for my battlefields. I was about to use the word "scenery", but they are not very scenic - they are more game equipment. In the strange world of hexagonal geology, scenery is a contextual term.

You can never have enough hills. New hills almost ready - one of the old ones
nearest the camera
I made up the 10 new hills which Michael at Supreme Littleness has cut for me to date. These are 7-inch hexes, to match my existing stock, but laser cut from 6mm MDF in two parts per hill tile - to save weight (and in the hope that someone else might want 6-inch hexes in 6mm MDF?), the underhill (?) is a hexagonal doughnut, as you see.

Weight-saving hill, worm's-eye view
The tops and bottoms were glued together (very accurately - my tongue was probably sticking out) using "tacky" PVA glue, a very useful product which was new to me. Once dried, I painted them up with the house standard Crested Moss #2 baseboard colour. I also did some gentle dabbing on (spackling?) of a diluted darker green, to match my older hills and to make them more obviously different from the unspackled plain beneath. I was far too tentative with the spackling - it dried a lot paler than I expected, so I'll improve that when I paint up the next shipment of 10 hills.

Old hill on the right - yes, I know, I have to make a better fist of texturing
the new ones - I'll get to it. I'm very pleased with the match, and the old ones
are only very slightly thicker, which doesn't matter.
My original hills are ½-inch Insulation Board, cut by hand with a steel rule and a Stanley knife in 1974 or so - I couldn't do that now - I wouldn't even contemplate such a miserable job. How I still have all my fingers and thumbs is a mystery. No, lasers are the answer, my friends. Quantum science and those billions of dollars invested to develop the laser were all to avoid Old Foy risking his fingers with a craft knife. Obvious snag, of course, is that you can't laser-cut MDF thicker than 6mm - I think it just catches fire or something. So Michael has given me two-layer hills in 2 x 6mm, which is a close enough match for half an inch.

Very nice - only practical observations thus far are that the burned edges require 3 coats of the baseboard colour to hide the charcoal, and the MDF is a lot smoother than insulation board, so I need to be a bit more wholehearted with the spackling to give better texturing. It is, as ever, a learning process...

To achieve a more interesting effect with the dabbed texture colour, I invested in a natural sea sponge from Boots the Chemist. Ouch. Great idea, but of all the money I have ever wasted on my hobby, the price of this small sponge was the most eye-watering little surprise. These must be Fair Trade sponges - the guys who harvest them must have yachts at Monte Carlo.

Research on the colour of river water continues. I had a rough idea I might be looking for a colour called Teal, or similar, but it seems such a colour is not in vogue. I have a couple of candidate shades ticked on the extant Dulux sample cards - tricky business, this. For a start, my colour vision is not wonderfully accurate, and the shade cards are just bewildering - far too much information. If someone shows me 100 different varieties of greenish-blue then I can't cope - I am even distracted from what it was I was looking for in the first place. I found a wonderful colour yesterday, but it took about 15 seconds to realise that it might be suitable for the Caribbean in July, but not the Yorkshire Moors or Aberdeenshire in February. Anyway, I have a couple of promising candidates to ponder over. I hope I don't just buy something completely different in a moment of panic.


  1. They look good! Hex-based scenery like yours actually looks very attractive besides being practical. Hex on!

    Best Regards,


  2. Foy, please accept my deepest sympathy. I've had three goes at finding the right base-board green, with miserable results each time. As you say, the colour charts are the opposite of helpful!