The license plates before…
Here in Pennsylvania, the state only issues back license plates, leaving the front open to be used by car dealers to advertise their businesses, or for the driver to deploy customized plates to his or her liking. I had a couple of these advertising plates laying around and the semi-rigid, thin plastic plates make very good bases for modelling Civil War fields for miniature wargaming.
Here are a few photos I snapped this morning of my newly finished Monday Knight Productions model roads for miniature wargaming.
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.
All photos by Doug Rogers of Mentor, Ohio. Click to enlarge.
Jim Kopchak is a Cleveland-area wargamer that I first met when I lived in the “snow belt” in an adjoining county. He’s a great guy and a talented gamer, who happens to consistently roll the dice better than me when we used to occasionally play Johnny Reb 3 together! In that regard, he certainly is not unique! LOL. Jim has published an interesting set of Civil War miniature wargaming rules entitled Civil War Commander. Here are some photos taken my my old buddy Doug Rogers at a recent ACW game Jim ran at the Drums Across the Maumee wargaming convention sponsored by HMGS-Great Lakes.
Click on the photo to enlarge it. This is an example of filling all of the open space on a gaming table with low cost, easy-to-make terrain features. The photo is of Scott Mingus’ s 15mm layout of Union II Corps troops (“Red” Carroll’s Gibraltar Brigade) marching through a northern Maryland village en route to Gettysburg. The gaming table looked almost like a diorama using the proverbial “two-foot rule.”
I really enjoy gaming the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, because I had ancestors who fought there, as well as some in the Western Theater (my great-great-uncles, the Chambers boys, were in the 7th West Virginia Infantry at Antietam and Gettysburg, and my great-great-grandfather Pvt. John D. Sisson of Dover, Ohio, was a drummer in the 51st Ohio Volunteer Infantry). Many eastern battlefields were in rolling, open farm country, which offers the opportunity to add considerable color and variety to the gaming table.
The key, to me, is to fill as much of the open space as possible with terrain features. Fields of various colors and textures, large quantities of fencing and stone walls (a diversity of styles of fences helps!), scattered trees even in non-wooded areas — all serve to break up the sightlines and add depth and variety to the observer.
GHQ Terrain Maker hexes with rubber terrain pieces from Miniature World Maker in the left front and center.
Among my few regrets in my life was my short-sighted decision to sell off my collection of 300+ custom-made GHQ Terrain Maker hexes I finished in the 1990s. Making those hexes gave me hours of entertainment and pleasure, particularly on those cold Cleveland winter nights when the wind whipping off Lake Erie made it too treacherous to do much except stay home by the fireplace.
I used the hexes for many hours of gaming with my sons and friends, but in a poor decision during a mid-life crisis, I sold them and shipped them away. Every now and then, the urge hits me to place another order with GHQ and get back into the hex-making business, or to cut my own from insulation board from the local Lowes or Home Depot.