Self adhesive vinyl floor tiles are becoming one of my gaming ‘swiss army knives’ – I’m finding so much you can do with them, and the cheap ones are £2.50 for 6 30cm square ones (QD had packs for £1.50- but I don’t know how good the glue is compared to B&Q budget ones). Sometimes people throw them away- they only needed 38, but had to buy 42- so you can get them free. The secret is to use the adhesive side.
They add weight to paper to make counters that won’t blow around, and if you save top down pictures (such as those at junior general) as 6×4 jpegs you can get them photo printed to stick them on to make flat wargame figures, you can make them into casino style plaques, or landscape tiles for “Catan” type games, or even whole game boards. You just take your printout etc and stick on the ‘bottom’. They are A4 high, so will take a sheet of paper (with a little left over). I intend to try sticking green paper to them, lots of PVA then flock for terrain tiles (ideal for the gridded Peter Pig games like PBI) they are already cut to 1 foot squares. If I get the promised wargames room then they will become roads and rivers!
Cutting a cm wide strip off the ‘spare’ on a tile with paper on I made a useful painting stick. The glue holds a 10mm figure firmly enough to be spray undercoated, and although the painted bits are obviously no longer sticky (!) the spots where the men are retain their ‘grab’ for repeated removals and resticks while you paint (and incidentally, for the next unit after to be sprayed!). In fact enough stick remained on the bases of the men that the don’t fall over as easily when you stand them on a tray – I carried 30 unbased men 25 feet on a chipboard off cut, and none of them fell over.
They are waterproof, don’t fray, warp or separate into layers when painted, and can be (relatively) easily cut with scissors or, my personal choice, a card guillotine, or a Stanley knife.
My latest experiment is with basing. My initial thoughts were skepticsm (due to bendiness), but I am a ‘research wargamer’ and if I knew what I was doing it wouldn’t be research!
A 40mm square base is capable of dealing with 2×2 formation of 25mm Napoleonics quite happily – Even holding by the merest point of the corner there was no bend (I was more likely to drop it due to physics of levers).
The big advantage is they are the thinnest bases I have ever made, only 1mm- vital with 10mm. Not only do they not add to the height, but the flock covers the edge much of the time, and if it doesn’t the edge is black – not obviously unpainted card or MDF.
Also its easy to unbase. My normal technique is to pva the base, and superglue the bottom of the figure- Superglue reacts with water (which is why your fingers stick, and the vase doesn’t), and PVA is sticky water! After positioning the figures I put in the flock (hence whole base PVA).
When I realised I wanted to have two command stands per unit, it was easy to snap the base in two, then use my snippers to remove the tile bit by bit- while the bond is stong in normal circumstance, the PVA doesn’t penetrate like it does wood or card, so the figures were easy to remove- though you end up with lots of little bits of tile.