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1999-2003. All rights reserved.
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Tarmac

A staple part of any urban table is the surface itself; however nice your buildings are, they will look a bit silly on a grassy field. This tarmac is fast, effective and cheap. On the left are a variety of old WH40K figures. Top left is a blue faced Bob Olley space pirate, in front is the first Space Marine scout figure, bottom right is a WH40K mercenary and behind him is a slightly converted Delaque ganger. On the right is a Goliath juve accompanied by two Savages from Mark Copplestone's Future Warriors.

Materials

Non-slip vinyl (also called safety vinyl)
This example is from Polyflor. Being an architect we have samples kicking around the office, but it's not all that expensive to buy (around £10 per square metre, I think). To stop the vinyl being slippery when wet it has little bits of grit embedded in it, and so it has a texture exactly like tarmac. It is also relatively heavy, and doesn't warp when wet so it will lie nice and flat on the table.

On the back of it is embossed this rather pleasing grid pattern, which would make an excellent texture for the inside of buildings or space hulks, as vinyl is far cheaper than the commonly used car body repair mesh.

You can see an example of this on the right hand side of the picture above.

The best colour to get the vinyl in is dark grey, because then it won't show if any paint comes off.

WARNING:  When you store the sections separate them with pieces of paper, otherwise they will slowly become stuck together and this will tear off blobs of paint.

Construction

Cut vinyl to shape
Cut the vinyl from the back with a scalpel and a steel rule. Don't use a new blade because the particles of grit embedded in the vinyl will blunt it in an instant. These road pieces are about 6" wide and 12" long.

That's it! You've finished. Now all you have to do is paint it.

   

Painting

Basecoat
Paint the vinyl with black masonry paint (available in tester pots from Do-It-All). This it tougher and cheaper than acrylic. Make sure you paint the other side, because the unpainted vinyl will tend to stick to the painted surface and pull small blobs off it. Giving both faces a coat of paint will help to stop this.

Detail Areas
When the black has dried, add a few rectangular areas of mid grey. Tarmac is rarely an even colour, particularly in the city where it is being continually dug up and then patched.

Drybrush
Drybrush the road very gently with a very pale grey or cream. I used Beige Sandtex. Using a very high contrast drybrush like this will bring out the texture and make it look really grainy and dusty.

Stencilling

The easiest way to apply patterns is to stencil them on. You can make your own stencil by printing shapes onto ordinary paper and then cutting them out with a scalpel. The brush you use for stencilling should be large with stiff bristles and a flat end. Art and craft shops sell brushes specifically for this purpose.

When stencilling use undiluted acrylic and make gentle stabbing motions directly downwards. Hold the stencil down tightly with the spread fingers of the other hand.

The road markings shown in the examples were made with the stencil below. To use this, right click on it, save it to disk and then print it out at A4 using software such as Irfan, Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. Irfan can be downloaded from www.irfan.com




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2002. All rights reserved.
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