I’ll Put a Hex on You

The combination of a 3-hour daily commute and the reduction of your gaming budget does give you a lot of time to think about what you actually have sitting in boxes or on shelves in cupboards, rather than compiling a ‘wish list’ for the upcoming Salute…

Which, due to my current circumstances, I probably won’t be attending this year. Which is a bit shit, but them’s the breaks…

So, having discovered that my ‘cheap and cheerful’ vinyl gaming tiles have not stored well and need replacing before I can venture back on to the streets of Blackwell, I cast my mind through my ‘mind cupboard’, where I memorise all the gaming stuff wot I’ve got, to see what alternatives I already had.

Now, I DO actually have some modular, interlocking cobbled tiles…namely those that came with the Road to the Forgotten Forest expansion for Heroscape. They are pretty nice=looking, have the necessary texture and are pre-weathered, but you don’t get that many. For those of you unfamiliar with this product, this is what they look like;

Heroscape - Large Expansion Set - Road to the Forgotten Forest by Hasbro

You only get 28 hexes in this set, which just about covers a 10″ square. Even taking into account the churchyard and pavements – which could be constructed using other ‘Scape hexes, I would end up with not much in the way of cobbles, which are pretty much needed for this genre. So, a potentially nice idea scuppered by lack of available hexes…

However, this did lead me down the avenue of thinking about my collection of Heroscape hexes in general. I like the modularity of them, but am envious of those who play on detailed battlemats or custom boards…so was there a way to customise my existing Heroscape hexes to make them less plastic-looking and more game=board-ish?

Now, I’m not the first to think this, as there is a whole thread on the Heroscapers site for custom terrain and scenery, and the end results do look rather nice, but it involved painting and gluing and flocking, which even with the best will in the World, requires a lot of resources and time and the end result will shed. The whole point of the plastic hexes is that they are robust and can be lobbed into a box with no major issues. Can’t really do that if you’ve spent all that time applying flock to each individual hex top, can you? This is the kind of results you can get if you put you’re mind to it;

As the Marvel Heroscape ‘concrete’ and ‘asphalt’ hexes are uniformly one colour, I was thinking of using some cheap spray paint (hobby or car) to re-colour the ‘grass’, ‘sand’ and ‘stone’ hexes, so the grass hexes would be all green, the sand hexes would be all yellow and the stone hexes would be all dark grey.  A further application of stippling or sponging in a lighter shade on the tops would then give the illusion of flocking, but without little bits dropping off all over the floor.

So, if all goes according to plan, I get a modular battlefield that looks closer to those wonderful yet expensive rubber mats that all the cool kids are playing with, for the price of a couple of cans of spray paint. Of course, that still doesn’t solve my cobbles problem, but moving slowly forward is better than not moving at all.

Jez

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6 thoughts on “I’ll Put a Hex on You

  1. Cobbles. The bane of gamers worldwide!

    Nice solution to a problem and cheap is always good. I feel your pain on the £ side… Two months with out pay hurt and even though the money came in eventually I know what you are feeling. Even though I have enough models to keep me busy for years, in like the Little Mermaid. I want more!

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    • As Steve pointed out in his comment below, I may not need much in the way of actual cobbles…

      And I may have spent a little bit of cash on gaming stuff…but it was an absolute bargain, so feel justified. The next post will reveal all….

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  2. Sorry to hear it’s been difficult mate, good to see you repurposing your hexes, as for cobbles I have a good solution on my website, but then it hits the other problem of money

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  3. You already have yourself in a better position than I suspect you realise good friend Jez. You nearly said it yourself in your new post (most excellent by the way). The wonderful thing about HeroScape tiles is that they can be easily and cheaply converted to your needs. especially if you plan to use them for the Blackwell project.

    First…. two cans of really cheap spray paint (preferably matt), Our local Lidl has these for 2 euro a can. Remember that the image of London being all cobble stoned is somewhat of a misnomer. Only the `better sort` of streets had cobbles what so ever, and places like Whitechapel… hardly at all. No the streets were mostly packed dirt with the occasional rubble or brick inlay pressed in on some of the more boggy, muddy sections liable to stop even the most robust cart or carriage.

    Take your HeroScape tile and lay a very.. very paper thin layer of DAZ modelling clay on the top, then with a cocktail stick, imprint some bumps and indentations. Let it dry (a few hours for something this thin), then spray the tile in light brown (or grey if you prefer the stone look). Press in a few tiny stones (from the beach or nick a handful of sand from a builders pile), and drop a few bits onto the still wet spray paint… and top off any excess. Dry brush a bit at the end for extra appeal….
    And hey presto, you have a perfect facsimile tile for your games, the prime equal to any pro purchased battle mat. You would be able to do your entire HeroScape tile collection in half a morning this way. And the beauty is… need them later for another game and want them repainted differently… just buy a different cheap spray can and off you go again back to the drawing board.

    Hope this helps 🙂

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    • Cheers for the advice and info, Steve. I had been considering adding a bit of sand to the tile tops, to give it a bit of texture, but will be doing a few test pieces with just the paint first, to see how that works. Should be interesting to see the results.

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