It's that time of the year! The air has turned from crisp to cool to cold. The leaves fell long enough ago for the neighbors to wonder when they are going to get raked up. And the mainstream stores keep lowering their prices in a bid to attract Christmas shoppers. It's a good time to find some deals.
|Two Lemax Large Pebble Mats - one still in the packaging and the other unrolled. American quarter coin provided for scale.|
These Lemax Large Pebble Mats are a good example. Lemax markets them for use in Halloween or Christmas village dioramas. They are available at locations like Micheal's as a seasonal item starting in Autumn and are frequently marked down after Halloween.
Each mat measures roughly 18 x 36 inches. Two mats provide a 3 x 3 feet play area. This works fine for 28mm scale skirmish games such as Frostgrave, but is small for games like Warhammer 40K and Warmachine/Hordes. The 3 x 3 feet area also works for 15mm scale games, but the stone pattern looks a little big with smaller scales.
|Close up of the detail. The "stones" and the "surface" are clearly discernible.|
The detail on the Pebble Mats easily passes for cobblestone. The stone pattern does repeat over the surface of the mat, but the pattern is a little over 3 inches wide. This is big enough not to be obvious after terrain and models are placed on the mat. Some drybrushing and a wash would bring out the pattern, but is not necessary.
The Lemax website does display other patterns for their mats. However, the “Brick” pattern is the only one that I have seen in person. I choose the “Pebble” pattern over the “Brick” for its versatility. Stone has been used for roads over a longer historical period and over a wider area than brick. It fits right into fantasy settings and even looks fine for lower-tech science fiction settings.
|Side on view of a rolled up mat. Note the thickness of the plastic mat.|
The mats are made of a thick and heavy plastic. Scuffing the surface may be a long term issue, but the material should hold up to regular use. The plastic is thicker than comparable felt mats, so simply folding them up is not an option for storage or transport. The mats do roll up well, but the edges do need to be smoothed out before use.
Full price for a Lemax Pebble Mat this size is 24.99 USD. This is comparable to felt or cloth mats of similar size. However, I took advantage of the Micheal's post-Halloween sale price to get them for a significant mark down. A word of warning! They are harder to find as the holiday season goes on. Good hunting!