18 August 2010

Lightweight 3part gametable

For a long time, I think at least 6 years I've had a 4x8' gametable which dated back to my days of WH40k and WHFB. It was a 2" thick, made out of compressed wooden sawdust or something like that, and I had one side covered in sand and the other had GW's "battlemat" glued onto it.

It was heavy as hell, it took a lot of space in my house and most of all since I have given up on GW games like WH40k over 2 years ago I had no use for the "sand side" of that table. So I started scouting for materials to make a new gametable, 6x4' this time and have it at least in 2 pieces.

I found styrofoam that was 2x4", so 3 pieces made a complete gametable. Excellent I thought, I quickly got this idea of having one side being mostly painted like dark dirt and have only patches of grass on it, and the other side being covered completely in grass. So that you could swap one or two sides to make variations of the same gametable.

So I started out by using sand paper to remove the "styrofoam texture" on the side which was going to be painted. Then painted it all with waterbased paint that you can buy in 0.5L containers and is used for painting stuff indoors. Dries fast and you don't have to work your butt off to clean brushes and the like afterwards with thinner and stuff. With the table painted I started to attach patches of the now "old GW battlemat".

The one on the paper roll, I had some leftovers from my old table. Just like with my old table it was damn hard to make it stick to the board and stay straight. I got wrinkles on almost all patches, That won't bother me too much when the table is covered with terrain though.

I still had to buy a new GW battlemat for the other side, I looked into alternative materials but couldn't find anything to my liking. 

And here is a revelation, the new "Battlemat 08" from GW is actually good! Being fed up with GW, their prices and way of running things which made me quit GW games altogether a couple years ago - I'm usually very skeptic towards their products to say the least. But, they got a few things straight, the Citadel Washes and Foundation paints which I use on a regular basis - as well as this new battlemat.

The main difference between the new and the old one is that the old one had a paperback while this new is fabric. I actually don't think the new one is "static grass" at all but rather velour or some similar fabric/cloth. Though it has a look to it so that it can pass as static grass, I would say it looks more like a .. I don't know, casino table cloth or a softer version of the cloth you have on pool tables.

That may sound weird, but, the huge difference is that this cloth is soft and flexible to begin with, it sticks to PVA glue effortlessly, you won't have a single wrinkle as it is a 3 minute job to attach it perfectly to the game table. I followed the tutorial on "Beasts of War", and it worked.

Start out by ironing the entire battlemat (from the back) on low strength (nylon or similar setting), just a quick ironing to get the creases out of it (since it comes folded in a box). Then apply a complete coat of PVA glue to the game table, don't water it down just apply that thick glue and make sure the edges in particular are perfectly covered. Then simply either by yourself or with a friend attach the battlemat from one short edge over to the other. Straighten things out with your hands, you can pull the edges (they are a bit elastic) to remove any wrinkles and cover a slightly larger if you need something like 1cm more on one side or the other. You may also use a paint roller ( I did ) to really rub the battlemat into the glue, especially around all edges.

You will most likely have some excess battlemat hanging over one or more edges once you've applied it. Let it dry over night or for at least a couple of hours and then use a sharp knife to trim those edges.

A tip, it will be much easier to trim the edges if you have at least 1cm or more hanging since it will be easier to grab with one hand while you cut with the other (you can basicly use the knife to "saw" off the excess cloth).

The only "bad thing" is that if you have two types of battlemat they won't mix well, since the old paper one is more yellow/green this new one is dark green. But then again, since this is fabric there is no way of tearing it up or ruining it as easily as the old paper battlemat.

I bought this one at Unispel, Swedish store - but I guess you could get this "Battlemat 08" anywhere. At 240 SEK the battlemat isn't cheap. Add to that the cost of PVA glue (you will roughly use half a 750ml bottle per 2x4' ) the cost of the table - counting only the Battlemat 08 side,  lands around 350 SEK.


  1. Ser bra ut! Hade nog också fixat ett permanent bord om jag hade haft plats för det.

  2. Ser bra ut keep up the good work,

  3. @AmontTheWay, tackar, blev lite inspirerad av din blogg. Dock ska inte sluta lägga upp saker på forum.

    Såg att du till ett helt crew med folk som delar din blogg nu?

  4. Joo vi är 3st nu, men jag hoppas på att det kan bli fler. Kul att man kan inspirera,

  5. Tjenare! Väcker denna gamla post...
    Jag undrar var du köpte frigolitskivorna?

  6. Farsans jobb som elektriker :-D


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