Tuesday, 2 September 2014

So, what makes green acceptable table green?

I must have been using a 'cloth' as my basic terrain for a few years now. I've been using a very fine and expensive baize cloth. A cloth that is, yard for yard, far too valuable for the purpose for which I'm using it. 

It's not what you know but who you know, and when. I was fortunate in knowing the right man at the right time. The cloth I've been using is a very high quality snooker baize (93% merino wool?) by Hainsworth, obtained as a rejected length because of a slight fault (that I've never found). I would not have even considered it for a table covering if I had to buy it. This cloth is probably a better cloth than my best suit is made of, and it's price by the yard (don't ask) reflects this, but I needed a very large cloth for the Trasimene 217 BC demo game (at Sheffield Triples) and it fitted the bill.

It was not exactly the right colour for a war game cloth, it was a very bright dark green, but it was the right size. It was over six foot wide and nearly 20 feet long. The colour, I thought, would easily been toned down with a few rattle cans of spray paint.

The guy in the red T-shirt is Dr. Ken, the man to know for cloth, and this is a very old photo of my room.

A few rattle cans..............

Before I say what I'm about to say, let me be clear, I'm very, very grateful to Ken for my getting me my cloth. But, by God, it's been a paint sucking chore to get right. It's been a surprising experience to discover how green bottle green can be. Before today, I had already applied well over a dozen cans of spray paint (mostly yellows) to this cloth (now roughly 16 x 6). It has featured for years in battle reports and no one has said a bad word about it. But to my mind it has always been too green, and as the spray paint wears off in use it gets greener by the day until I respray it - usually every six to twelve months. Recently, my friend Tim has started stocking spray paint at The Art Shop in Ilkley. These are not the usual car colours. They are artist's acrylics, by Liquitex, in artist's colours with several shades of 'beige'. I thought they looked just the ticket for a 'proper' respray. Usually I would use a couple of good quality rattle cans (like Plastikote) when I do a respray, this time I decided to pull out the stops and use four rattle cans - the best part of £30 worth.

Here are a few pics of the cloth and the recent painting process. The cloth is hung out in my back yard on the washing line using some old pegs. It has to be done on a calm windless day without much humidity, so timing is everything - morning tends to be best - and the breeze, if there is any, has to be a westerly so that my house acts as a wind break (my house is one in a street of four storey west facing terraced houses). Today was such a day, and given the windy weather we've had recently, I had to take my chance. The one thing I forgot to do, much to the chagrin of my wife, was to put down newspaper at the foot of the cloth - I now have a two foot wide beige yellow stripe running the length of my back yard, from 'paint drop', clearly visible in the last outside shot; hopefully it will wash away by next spring.

It basically goes, dark beige, light beige, yellow, light beige, yellow. The tie colour was definitely yellow.

Spray paint rubs off so it will not stay this colour for long. I don't mind. A few cans of spray paint every year is a small price to pay for such such a great table covering. I hope that having given it a very full coat this time, that just a few cans will touch it up next time. An off cut from the cloth shows the difference that nearly 20 cans of spray paint, over the years, has made.

The cloth's next outing will be for a Harran 1104 AD Crusades game - I think it looks arid enough for the grasslands of northern Syria.


DeanM said...

Nice work on toning down the pool table green. I did something similar with a length of cloth from a local fabric store. It started off a very pale green - which I then added some sprayed areas of tan. I still use it, but in photos, it looks very light - some folks think it's snow :). Anyway, I may end up spraying parts of it with a darker OD green to liven it up. BTW, the spray paint has held up well for several years.

pancerni said...

Looks nice! Spraying felt can be a chore but the results are certainly worth the pain.

Gonsalvo said...

I also did much the same thing with dark "pool table green" felt. I'd consider adding even a few more shades to it - white, dark brown, and dark red; even a little black in spots. The key is multiple applications of each color from a distance that sort of blends the colors together without harsh transitions.

BigRedBat said...

That looks really good, James! A great investment of time and money.

World2Dave said...

The cloth is looking better than ever, very nice work.

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Your cloth looks great!
I'm also DIY cloth person myself using spray paint. It provides the most flexibility and is easy on the figures. The only downside is rivers are hard to put them in a depression.


Sean said...

Just saw this. I thinned a bunch of acrylics and daubed with a sponge. I used umbers and siennas. I will take a look for the acrylic sprays. I think the result is quite good.