Making the map for Pelennor Field

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David Kuijt
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Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby David Kuijt » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:38 pm

Hey all,

I'm 333 figures in to Pelennor Field, which is about halfway, and I'm starting to think about how to make the map. I've already got some good ideas about how to make Minas Tirith at one end of the map, I'm talking about the base cloth. This will be my first truly super-size event (the map will be four 2.5' by 8' tables, so 5' by 16') and I want it to look good.

I've seen some big events (big maps) at the conventions, but I never looked closely to see how they made the map look realistic; the scale of this event is such that I can't do what I did for the Warring States Chinese Theme and make a 6'x6' topographical map of China out of foam insulation (the Pelennor Field map would be 3x that size, and storing China is awkward enough, much less transporting it).

Suggestions about how to proceed?

The map can't be completely flat -- that's acceptable on a 3x2 map, but not at 16x5.

It has to be transportable and relatively cheap. That probably means cloth.

The figures on it will be based on 80mm wide bases, so they are much more stable than the usual 40mm bases.
DK

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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby Rod » Mon May 01, 2017 12:30 pm

Dave,
One option to the foam battle board is the flexible cloth with foam hills placed underneath. The cigar box company mats for example work very well this way because they are so "floppy" for lack of a better description... (they are a fleece like fabric). This is the opposite of the duck cloth I typically use.

So you tape directly to the table pink foam hills with appropriate slopes in the right place then throw a "sheet" or properly painted fabric over the whole setup. The key to this technique in my opinion is the right type of fabric. It has to lay down on the hills without creasing and it has to grab the terrain underneath... then you have to make sure it doesn't slide about.

you can paint the pink foam hills with gritty paint (paint with some sand in it) makes the fabric grab the hills. Then some double sided tape strategically located to stop slipping under the flat areas. you can also throw some loose flocking, and grit and scatter to increase the illusion on top of the whole thing.

It's transportable, and has the added feature of no seams. The main issue is to keep it from sliding when people push figures a crossed it.

Generally speaking you will probably want some thing in the low knap fleece range, another option if you are trying to create a large grassy field effect is to use teddy bear fur. Very popular with large Napoleonic games.

Teddy bear fur example:
https://houseofqueeg.files.wordpress.co ... 2-1600.jpg

Some pictures of the cigar box:

http://jozistinman.blogspot.com/2017/02 ... hills.html


Rod

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David Kuijt
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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby David Kuijt » Mon May 01, 2017 4:05 pm

Those both seem like really nice products, but the Cigar Box mats are $70 for a 4x6. Which might be fine for a 4x6 battle, but will be $300 ish for a 5x18 battle.

Maybe I can buy my own fleece and try to paint it with several colors of spraypaint.

Do you know if the edges of stands catch ('grab') the fleece? I've seen some surfaces that were a nightmare to play on, because stand corners and edges could not be slid across the surface but had to be lifted and then placed back down.
DK

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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby Rod » Mon May 01, 2017 4:33 pm

Oh, I was not suggesting a cigar box one for your project but something like it.... something flexible, and stretchy. Opposite of the duck cloth we usually use. Something you can paint on.

The fleece will catch on metal based figures. Teddy bear fur might be better, but could also get expensive.

My suggestion a trip to Joanne's Fabric store for fabric tests. I have to go there to buy canvas, will check out some options this week.

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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby Rod » Mon May 01, 2017 4:40 pm

spray painting the fleece... might give it a less "edge catching" finish...

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FanatiChris
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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby FanatiChris » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:48 pm

Almost every picture I was able to scan shows Pelennor Fields as being flat and featureless...bound on one side by Minas Tirith and the mountains and surrounded by the large ancient walls (Rammas Echor) and the Anduin river beyond. There seems to be a raised causeway from Minas Tirith across the fields toward the gate (causeway fort) leading to Osgiliath. And lesser roads leading from Minas Tirith south to the port at Harlond and to the north toward Anorien...the route taken by Morghul host from Cair Andros and later by the Rohirrim. No farms, hamlets or other obstacles to break up the flatness, which always made me wonder where the Gondorians got their food. In the movies, the land slopes north to south...giving the Rohirrim some downhill advantage in their initial charge, but no bad going slopes or individual hills of note.

Seems to me the key terrain features for a convention game are Minas Tirith, the roads, and the ancient surrounding wall. I don't think most gamers would expect more than that..and your Minas Tirith and the great figures, Mumakil, etc. are going to provide plenty of wow factor anyway.

You could build up the board in the north by putting down a sheet of pink or blue insulation board with its southern edges sloped. Or even build up a couple of thin sheet levels to create a contour slope over about a 5-6 foot area. That would correspond with the Rohirrim deployment zone and isn't essential unless you wanted to convey a charge bonus for downhill momentum.

You could do it with one sheet of 59+ inch wide canvas..although that's a lot of canvas and fairly expensive for nearly six yards worth. This on-line source is selling a 72 inch wide, 6 yard roll of unprimed cotton canvas for $82.41 plus S&H. See: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/canvas-su ... med-cotton Dick Blick's is also selling 72 inch wide, 6 yard rolls of midweight unprimsed canvas for $60.75 plus S&H. I got some canvas recently at Plaza Art on Rockville Pike that was 59 inch wide at slightly higher prices (but no S&H).

Joann's has 58 inch wide anti-piling fleece on sale right now for under $6/yard. See: http://www.joann.com/anti-pill-fleece-f ... ml#start=1 I have been dubious of moving metal based figures around on fleece for fear the sharp corners would catch and frazzle the fleece, but have been pleasantly surprised with the Cigar Battle mats. I am hoping the "anti-piling" description of the Joann fleece implies similar performance.

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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby David Kuijt » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:58 pm

FanatiChris wrote:Almost every picture I was able to scan shows Pelennor Fields as being flat and featureless...bound on one side by Minas Tirith and the mountains and surrounded by the large ancient walls (Rammas Echor) and the Anduin river beyond. There seems to be a raised causeway from Minas Tirith across the fields toward the gate (causeway fort) leading to Osgiliath. And lesser roads leading from Minas Tirith south to the port at Harlond and to the north toward Anorien...the route taken by Morghul host from Cair Andros and later by the Rohirrim. No farms, hamlets or other obstacles to break up the flatness, which always made me wonder where the Gondorians got their food.


There are a few creeks marked on some of Tolkein's maps, but they are likely small -- perhaps too small to be more than decorative.

Regarding food, most of the grain probably comes by ship to the Harlond from South Gondor -- Rome was much bigger and supplied by ship from Africa. I suspect that the land inside the Rammas Echor would have been mostly communal grazing and small farming fields -- those who served the small fields near Minas Tirith probably lived inside the city. If there were any buildings near the White Tower they would likely have been razed for safety reasons during Denethor's rebuilding of the Rammas Echor. Pelennor Field was large enough that there might have been small farm buildings close to the Rammas, and the Rammas itself (or buildings near it) would have had to house those manning the outer wall.

FanatiChris wrote: In the movies, the land slopes north to south...giving the Rohirrim some downhill advantage in their initial charge, but no bad going slopes or individual hills of note.


Gradual slope doesn't impart a benefit.

FanatiChris wrote:Seems to me the key terrain features for a convention game are Minas Tirith, the roads, and the ancient surrounding wall. I don't think most gamers would expect more than that..and your Minas Tirith and the great figures, Mumakil, etc. are going to provide plenty of wow factor anyway.


True.

Maybe I should get some 15mm buildings (half-timbered with thatched roofs, perhaps) for a few representative hamlets far from Minas Tirith.

FanatiChris wrote:You could build up the board in the north by putting down a sheet of pink or blue insulation board with its southern edges sloped. Or even build up a couple of thin sheet levels to create a contour slope over about a 5-6 foot area. That would correspond with the Rohirrim deployment zone and isn't essential unless you wanted to convey a charge bonus for downhill momentum.


Thin sheets is probably the best idea. Just something to give a little non-flatness.

FanatiChris wrote:You could do it with one sheet of 59+ inch wide canvas..although that's a lot of canvas and fairly expensive for nearly six yards worth. This on-line source is selling a 72 inch wide, 6 yard roll of unprimed cotton canvas for $82.41 plus S&H. See: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/canvas-su ... med-cotton Dick Blick's is also selling 72 inch wide, 6 yard rolls of midweight unprimsed canvas for $60.75 plus S&H. I got some canvas recently at Plaza Art on Rockville Pike that was 59 inch wide at slightly higher prices (but no S&H).


I'd like to do it cheaper than $60, but that might not be possible.

FanatiChris wrote:Joann's has 58 inch wide anti-piling fleece on sale right now for under $6/yard. See: http://www.joann.com/anti-pill-fleece-f ... ml#start=1 I have been dubious of moving metal based figures around on fleece for fear the sharp corners would catch and frazzle the fleece, but have been pleasantly surprised with the Cigar Battle mats. I am hoping the "anti-piling" description of the Joann fleece implies similar performance.


That's $36; I should check out Joann's. If they have some fabric with a bit of color irregularity, that would be ideal, but I'm probably hoping for too much.

Thanks for the footwork, Chris.
DK

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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby FanatiChris » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:28 pm

Here's another option from Home Depot....5x8 (almost 6x9) painters drop cloths made up of 8 oz canvas by Sigman for $12 bucks each. Two packs have got your table covered. You could run the Osgiliath causeway to hide the seam.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sigman-5-ft-9-in-x-8-ft-9-in-8-oz-Canvas-Drop-Cloth-CD080609/203006516?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|google|&mid=shwjRC06d|dc_mtid_8903alh25183_pcrid_177285507105_pkw__pmt__product_203006516_slid_&gclid=CjwKCAjw87PNBRBAEiwA0XAIrznmGBWa71lFFDI7j531IE6f3jvYbVhlcJL--pyUeKCnohEA19DUBBoC_zQQAvD_BwE

They also have a 6x10 in "polyfabric that's even cheaper."..but I'm not sure how well it would soak up color compared to canvas.

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David Kuijt
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Re: Making the map for Pelennor Field

Postby David Kuijt » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:02 pm

FanatiChris wrote:Here's another option from Home Depot....5x8 (almost 6x9) painters drop cloths made up of 8 oz canvas by Sigman for $12 bucks each. Two packs have got your table covered. You could run the Osgiliath causeway to hide the seam.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sigman-5-ft-9-in-x-8-ft-9-in-8-oz-Canvas-Drop-Cloth-CD080609/203006516?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|google|&mid=shwjRC06d|dc_mtid_8903alh25183_pcrid_177285507105_pkw__pmt__product_203006516_slid_&gclid=CjwKCAjw87PNBRBAEiwA0XAIrznmGBWa71lFFDI7j531IE6f3jvYbVhlcJL--pyUeKCnohEA19DUBBoC_zQQAvD_BwE

They also have a 6x10 in "polyfabric that's even cheaper."..but I'm not sure how well it would soak up color compared to canvas.


That would be brilliant! $12 each is fine; I don't need cheaper.

(the Osgiliath causeway would be perpendicular to the seam, but I can just overlap the sheets)
DK


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