Way back when, our local gaming group purchased some very nice latex roads from a company called POP enterprises. They were very nice roads indeed and for many years they have served us well. The only down side was that we didn’t buy enough of them and that the gentleman who made them sadly died and the product, understandably, disappeared. For some years we have been discussing alternatives, several being looked at but none quite meeting our requirements.
A trip to Holland in February to visit Poldercon saw me chat to Jasper Oorthuys, the head-honcho and official Clogfather of Wargames Soldier & Strategy magazine, who was running a very pretty AWI game. Jasper’s roads were latex and therefore flexible enough to cross contours, but also wide enough to allow their use by heavier kit such as 28mm tanks. I knew I’d found what I was looking for. Total Battle Miniatures were the company who produced them.
On my return to the UK, I visited the Total Battle Miniatures web site. They had a nice selection of road sets and I settled on four sets which would allow us 12 foot of road, six foot of track, four curved sections and five (or six?) different junctions. It is no surprise that this company are busy but they took the time to give me an estimate in terms of dates which was about three weeks. Sure enough the parcel turned up, actually earlier than expected, being a hefty four kilos of latex. And here’s what they look like naked:
A BIG word of warning here, you can’t paint latex with spray paints. Mark at Total Battle Miniatures put a nice note in explaining this and recommending acrylic paint or household emulsion. That was ideal as all of my terrain is painted with household paints, so I immediately slapped on a coat of smooth masonry paint in Bitter Chocolate with a 3″ paint brush.
Following this I dry brushed it using a 2″ household paint brush with Crown Chocolate Suede…
…followed by a second drybrush of Crown Fawn Suede. The Bitter Chocolate I bought in a large 2.5 litre tub, the Crown paints I just used 125ml match pots from Wilkos which cost about thirty bob each. You can see that I use bog standard house brushes for this type of work. With these being acrylic paints the brushes will last pretty much eternally. Which is more than can be said for me.
Finally I added some grass from my home blended mix of static grass and flock. The addition of flock to the grass has the look of just static grass but gives a much better coverage. Whereas flock on its own looks bloody horrible. You can see in this snap that the grass on the roads matches my table and my terrain bits. I plan to rebase the trees from Last Valley, inspired by our chum Jim from Wyvern Wargamers, but no time to do that yet.
Here you can see how the latex road copes admirably with a slope and hill.
A bit of detail here. The snap below shows the difference between the 4″ road and the 2.5″ track.
What I really like about these roads is that they have a camber which sees the edges think out so that they blend in with the table as much as possible. You can see that here:
Below you can see how this thinned edge gives a good blend with the table.
All in all that lot came to about a hundred quid. Now that is a lot of money for roads, but lets be honest it will be as much as we will ever need for our games and it will probably do me for the next thirty years before I drop dead, so all in all I think £100 is money well spent on what are the nicest roads I have ever seen.
You can find these spankingly good roads here: http://www.totalbattleminiatures.com/
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