At Fall-In 2009 I invested about $50 in purchasing a large quantity of flexible 1″ dirt roads from one of the vendors in the dealer hall. The roads were manufactured by Monday Knight Productions of Vancouver, Washington and come in three color selections (mine are the medium brown shade, which I like better for simulating roads of the Civil War era). The roads are made of latex and are durable and very flexible for undulating or hilly terrain layouts. I was never happy with the homemade roads I previously used, and I don’t like the cleanup required with laying down lots of fine grain brown flocking to represent roads, so these were a logical alternative. The Monday Knight products remind me of the old Scenic Effects flexible roads that a few of my gaming buddies use.
Here’s a quick look at these roads, and my efforts to paint them and flock them to match my tabletop terrain.
Here are how the road models come fresh from MKP’s production process (photo from MKP’s website; used under fair usage copyright rules to review their fine product). For my $51, I ended up with about 18 feet of roadway, more then enough for most regimental-level Civil War miniature wargames.
I diluted Wal-Mart’s Apple Barrel craft paint (black) 10 to 1 with tap water and washcoated the roadbed a few times until I got the look I wanted in terms of shadowing the ruts and depressions molded into the 1″ wide dirt road (MKP also makes 2″ roads for larger scale gaming such as 25/28mm; I use the 1″ for 15mm gaming as most of my Civil War stands for Johnny Reb 3 and Fire & Fury are 3/4″ or 1″ in width). After the paint thoroughly dried, I was ready to add grass to the edges.
I picked up some Woodland Scenics Hob-e-Tac modelling glue yesteday while visiting the Pastimes hobby and wargaming store in Palmyra, Pennsylvania after a nice visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World (yum!). The craft glue is what I have used in the past for my tree kits I assembled several years ago. Today’s Hob-e-Tac is quite different than the older version, which was more like rubber cement and quite tacky right out of the jar.
The newer version is milky white upon application and must be set aside for 15-20 minutes until it becomes clear and tacky. Only then can the flocking material be sprinkled onto the tacky roadside. I put the road sections on wax paper before “painting” the edges with the Hob-e-Tac to facilitate easy removal later.
I liberally poured Woodland Scenics flocking onto the edges of the painted roads. I use a blend of various colors, including medium green (predominant, as I want the final effect to match my old GeoHex base mats I use for my gaming table). Other shades I have blended into my master bucket of flock include various tans and browns, some darker green (not too much), and small pebbles and other goodies. After 10 minutes, I pressed down on the surfaces of the model roads with an old file folder using firm and even hand pressure to better adhere the flocking to the tacky glue. Then, I set aside the model roads overnight to allow the Hob-e-Tac to cure.
After shaking off the excess flocking and returning it to the plastic container, here is the master lot of finished Monday Knight Productions 1″ dirt roads. I am quite pleased with how they turned out and plan to purchase more of these roads at Cold Wars time permitting. I have enough for one 4’x6′ layout, but at times I use both of my GeoHex mats and make a 4’x12′ table for large convention games, so I will need another batch of MKP roads.
Here’s a little closer view of how well the model roads look once painted, washed, and flocked. Now it’s time to bring on the troops!
More photos of the finished product to come in my next entry here on the Johnny Reb Gaming Society’s official CHARGE! blog. Prices vary by individual piece; see MKP’s website for current rates. I cut some of the 22″ straight pieces into smaller sections for added variety and flexibility of options for my gaming needs.