Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reviving a Game Matt

Here is a shot of the 6 x 9 foot Canvas Game Matt that Skrapwelder wants worked over. The table its lying on is only 4x6 so I'll have to work on it a section at a time. The basic materials shown are:

Woodland Scenics Turf grass material, spreading stick, stone rolling pin, Kel Seal elastomeric sealer, Paint to tint the Kel Seal with and the Canvas laid out. The old flocking what there was of it was brushed to free the surface of loose debris first. I attempted to secure and stretch out the canvas which had be stretched and paint / flocked before but it was having nothing but Not Stretching again. So pushing along I started the layout of the canvas on a flat surface, putting newspaper under the outer edge to catch the Kel seal that might otherwise smear on the table top the canvas is laying on and to catch the flocking that I put over the kel seal. This shot shows the typical shape of the canvas at the time, balding spots and puckers of the canvas. As of this time the puckers are not flattening from the weight of the Kel Seal as I was hoping it might, but then I'm not slathering it on either. I use wooden rulers to smear the Kel seal on with as after a short bit of time they form a nice shallow curve in the wood that helps avoid an outer build up line. Not to worry overly much about such a line being on the surface when spreading the Kel Seal, as the rolling pin with smash them out well.
This next shot is of the canvas with the Kel Seal spread out. Work in a corner first to get a feel of the texture vs how to spread it. The material is very soft and spreadable, I worked it back and forth to make sure it had been worked into the fabric before going to the next step of spreading the Grass material  over it. I used to, on old terrain boards, have to spread glue over the entire surface to avoid getting those Lines on the surface where you stopped and came back after it dried. That method inevitably leads to Joint Meeting Lines across the game terrain piece that just don't look well for what the finished look is out to achieve.
Okay, same area, I have scattered smaller bits of torn foilage and Coarse Turf before I applied 1 full bag of woodland scenics flocking dumped liberally and thickly over the main area. I then take the rolling pin and use it to roll back and forth over the flocking to PRESS it into the Kel Seal. I decided to try Not tinting the KS this section to see if it would save me time and cost of paint. The rolling pin should be rolled in multiple directions to avoid pushing the KS into any particular pattern. Leave it dry for a couple of hours, I have a ceiling fan overhead of where I am working and I set it to a Slow speed.... faster speed would dry it sooner.. but you loose Faction with your Wife when the loose bits blow across the room and apply a thin green dust to most everything.....
Here we have a couple of hours later. I lift the edge of the canvas and tap the back rather hard with the heel of my hand to knock the excess flocking towards the center. This area used about 1/4 of a bag of the flocking the rest being piled across the fold line where it landed from the knocking. The small bits of Coarse Turf, being buried by the dumped flocking now show through. I have to trim the stray threads off of the canvas edge ... they want to get mixed in. The old stretch and puckers in the fabric from the original coating now appear to add some character to the matt. A few spots were a bit thin and tended to show the white of the KS thru. I sprinkled a bit of the flocking over those spots then sprayed them with diluted PVA glue and left them to dry. When the entire matt is covered with flocking it will be coated with the diluted PVA glue and left to dry in the sun for about 3 hours to lock all the flocking down and extend the life of the surface to game figures. In another article I'll show how to fix larger thin areas and at the same time give the grass coverage more character while not leaving glue lines.
Finally, here is a 25mm figure on the surface, Dusty is standing in for the shot as usual.


  1. OK - after you coat it with diluted PVA glue and let it dry, how do you store the mat? Can it be folded (gently - no creases)? Or do you need to roll it up on some 6 foot long tube\dowel rod? What diameter tube?

  2. I roll it around a 4 inch diameter card board tube, matt side inside to protect it from rubbing on car trunk bed or other rough surfaces. 6" might be better but all I had handy is a 4". Folding leads to seams that take a long time to unbend from compared to the gentle curving that its own weight will overcome more easily.

  3. Nice post. I use a similar technique to 're-flock' my home-made mats. At the end I prefer a liberal spraying of Testors Dullcote as a final seal coat. It's expensive, but evens out the sheen and doesn't add much as far as build-up.

  4. Does the Testors Dullcote "roll" up well when the matt is rolled or do you use a fixe game base like plywood?

  5. Thanks for the article. I've decided to make my own game mat and this was EXACTLY what I needed to find.


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