Thursday, 22 May 2014

Setting up the Battle Cloth Q&A

I get asked quite a bit on the process of building the terrain table. This is a copy of a Q&A that some might find helpful:
Please could I ask a few questions:
  1. On your website, you talk about sealing the terrain cloth to stop the sand leaking through.  Did you use that silicone caulking stuff that comes in tubes for guns, or did you use something else?
  2. Should the cloth be soft and flexible, or does it need to be a bit stiff so as to avoid sagging?
  3. I think you said somewhere that you put foam tiles under the cloth, put some batting on top, and then pin the cloth down over it.  Do you use one layer of foam tiles, or more?
  4. What sort of pins would you recommend?  Roughly how long should they be, and do they need to have a special kind of head?
  5. Do you put the pins in vertically, or should they go in at an angle?
To answer your questions:

1.silicone caulking stuff ...I used the more flexible kind.  When you're applying the caulking on the cloth do small patches rather than the entire thing in one go before it dries...

I actually used some spray sealants (after shaking the cloth) on the sand and flock afterwards. No chance of any sand doing anything but 
 resting on it ;) I used an acrylic green spray to add a bit of uniformity then (optional for sure)

2.  I've seen table cloths and they looked fine but as you describe  "a bit stiff so as to avoid sagging" worked better for me. I used a painters drop cloth. It's ideal for shaping ditches and trenches or small hills without the sagging effect you describe.

3. Two is better if for example you're trying to create a narrow trench that requires a lot of pressure to hold down. In this case the pins need to be quite long and therefore the foam fairly thick. For most situations one is more than adequate.

4. Thats a good question even though it may not seem so to someone who hasn't tried this :) but when there was a certain pressure on the pins they would snap so I found thicker pins were needed and large plastic heads. (these can be painted green and easily hidden if you have bushes and the like. I actually cut pieces of the drop cloth into tiny circles ...half inch in diameter and stuck the heavier pins through and stuck them with glue ...I'm kind of obsessive though ;) 

5. All depends on the thickness of the batting in between. At an angle is more secure but sometimes the lack of length of the pin requires it be placed straight down.

This was not my brain child BTW I originally saw a chap calling himself the Terrain Artizan or some such thing :) doing something similar....

If you are doing this do some more research into the type of caulking you use...I saw a one point an alternative to the silicone caulking that sounded better...I can't remember now though...I plan on doing a desert type some time and I'll be sure to make a tutorial