A night on the tiles…

Well, a night and half a day really. And a few years ago I’d have been talking about imbibing alcohol! But not now… Terrain Tiles! That’s what I’m talking about! But first a little history…

Back when I started getting back into figure gaming up here in Newcastle (c.1998) and started my AWI project my two mates, Gary and Terry had started picking up Purbeck Terrain Tiles. These were based on polystyrene tiles, but it was the standard polystyrene a la box packing so it was light and quite susceptible to damage. As I didn’t know what else was available and obviously needed to fit in with what the guys had, I managed to pick up a load at the Shrewsbury Wargames Show. The tiles came in large 18″x18″, mid 18″x9″ and smaller tiles at 9″x9″, the latter being for things like river curves, roads, rough ground etc. I bought enough to cover a 6’x4′ table and due to space/time/wife constraints at home I never actually used them until a couple of years ago when I played a game of Field of Glory at home. Other than that, the only time they saw light was to set up figures for photographing! I’ve tried a couple of times to shift them via TMP etc. but to no avail…

Roll forward to this year…and the need for some desert type terrain both for my FUBAR project, for my Yom Kippur War, and for my upcoming Western Desert WW2 project. I’ve seen rather nice desert terrain mats and the TSS tiles are nice but to be honest I don’t really have the funds to get something like that now. I could make some proper tiles following ideas from Michael at Angel Barracks but again, cost and time. So given that I have a Games Workshop battlemat for my European gaming and the tiles are reversible I thought I would adapt them.

Here we have the basic 18″x18″ tile:

I wanted a little variety in texture so rather than just apply paint to the lot I slapped some PVA in random patches:

And then scattered the usual medium railway ballast I use over the lot:

There are river sections but as I have some ‘lay on top’ river pieces I thought I’d use the river sections for a wadi:

Brushing off the loose left this:

I use DecoArt paints for my basing base colours and for my FUBAR chaps start with Country Maple. Now this would use a lot of pots so I took one down to B&Q and got a pot of emulsion matched. To be honest it came out a little lighter but isn’t too bad a match. Now I should have had a base coat photo but my phone died so we skip to the final tile! As the base was light my usual Tan first drybrush didn’t really show up so I went straight to Antique White. I tried dry brushing but it was getting uneven so I ended up using a sponge over the ballast areas and occasional dabs inbetween:

The river sections had the sides painted light grey and drybrushed almost white as I’d seen pictures of the side of a wadi in the Golan. I stuck a few bits of gravel in the bed and some assorted Woodland Scenics bushes. I may add more of these later.

Overall I did four of the big tiles, two rivers and a couple of hills:

The flatter pieces are MDF random shapes painted to match and these are meant to represent rises in the ground and give areas to hide behind and also to go hull down in what would otherwise be open ground:

Details of the wadi:

More wadi:

And some Israeli M48s moving through with support:

Overall I’m quite pleased with them. The colour doesn’t match the IDF bases as much as I’d like but it will the FUBAR chaps when I dig them out. Ideally I’ll do another two big tiles and another wadi section. This should give me enough for a decent FUBAR game and also a small Cold War Commander game.

I’m still trying to decide whether to add some areas of static grass to match the FUBAR basing, and also whether to spray/coat the lot with thinned PVA to protect it a little more? Not sure.

Anyway, a productive little session 🙂


3 thoughts on “A night on the tiles…”

  1. Very nice stuff Andy, the terrain tiles do pay off the effort. I suspect that terrain tiles would be too much faffing around for me. The old green felt mat is just too easy.



  2. I think the seamless nature if the clothes/mats is better but for the sake of a pot of paint and some time it made sense to reuse these. Just annoying the space they take up!


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