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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Coastal Waterline Effect

I said I'd add a post on how I did the coastline for our recent gaming weekend so here it is. Since I'd made a mat for the desert terrain I was trying to think of a way to be able to overlay the water section on top of the terrain mat that would still give a decent effect. I'd seen the use of clear vinyl over coloured fabric on some other blogs but the terrain was always laid over the top of the vinyl and I was wanting the do the opposite. I figured it still should work but I'd need to be able to have the water effect blend with the coast line which seemed fairly simple since the terrain was already a sandy texture anyway, ideal for most coastlines, so the clear vinyl could just overlay that with little issue. The bigger challenge would be the deeper sections of the water represented with the darker blue fabric underneath and it would be too obvious to just have this end abruptly. I thought that what I could do was spray some lighter blue colour onto the ends of the darker fabric that would approach the coastline and gradually blend to a solid light blue colour and then have that graduate away so just the clear vinyl was left where the water effect met the coastline.

The fabric I used underneath was just simple inexpensive Navy Blue cotton fabric. I'd laid out the terrain as it would appear on the gaming days and placed the fabric over the water section. I cut it to match the coastline but made sure that it would sit further away from the coast area than what the vinyl would, allowing enough room for the blended section. I then did the same with the vinyl sheet cutting it so that it would end up where the final water position along the coastline would be. I'm not sure if this is the same with all clear vinyl but the piece I had had a smooth side and a rough side. I made sure the smooth side faced upwards for obvious reasons. 

Next step was to spray the fabric. The paint I used was Plasti-kote Gloss Super in Mediterranean Blue. 

Plasti-kote Gloss Super - Mediterranean Blue used for the light blue blending

My first attempt at spraying the cotton material did not go as planned. I found that the paint wasn't sticking to the fabric properly. Plan B was to brush watered down PVA glue in a broad section of the material where I wanted to blend the light blue. This would effectively take away any resistance to having the paint adhear. I had to wait until the next day to try again. The material obviously stiffened but not too much. I was still able to roll up the fabric for transport and storage. This time the spray went on very well. You can see in the close up photo where the the PVA section ends.

Light blue spray blended to the Navy fabric
Closer picture of the light blue blend on Navy fabric
For the vinyl I made sure I turned this over and sprayed on the rough side. I sprayed a strip along the coastline section attempting to let the colour feather out and give enough coverage to hide the fabric edge underneath.

Light Blue on underside of clear vinyl
Close up of light blue on underside of clear vinyl
When each section is laid over each other the effect is a blending of Navy blue to light blue to clear. The river section was done very similar by spraying the underside of a strip of clear vinyl cut to match the river gully that was created with the terrain boards underneath. The final effect as seen in my last post.

In an upcoming post I'll highlight the terrain board mechanism that I use underneath the mat that allows me to create nearly any battlefield design I like.