Tuesday, 30 August 2011

My Love-Hate Relationship with GHQ

It cannot have escaped the keen-eyed reader's notice that I use GHQ Terrainmaker tiles in a lot of my games. These are 4" across flat-to-flat polystyrene tiles of varying thickness according to need. The basic tile is 1/2" thick. Negative features, such as rivers, streams and ditches are constructed using two 1/4" tiles, while hills are constructed using 1" tiles. The whole system provides a fantastically flexible terrain system that is perfect for my normal games, which are fought on a 4' by 3' table for the most part.

I love this flexibility and I love the facility for making my own terrain as needed. You can do as much or as little with the tiles and they generally look fairly good even at the basic level of terrain-making that I do. Some people out in internetworld have done fantastic things with their tiles and make them look really good. For an example of this, check out Tom Stockton's website. His work is brilliant and an inspiration to me. Now if only I had the patience to do all that sort of work myself, but I do not, because I am a gamer more than I am a modeller.

However, I also hate the system. Why is GHQ's quality control so poor? The hexes I bought from Chiltern Miniatures when they were manufacturing them under licence over here were great. They were exact and fitted together well. The GHQ hexes that I have are occasionally squashed on the corners. They are not true hexagons and are often not precisely 4" across as they are meant to be. Some of the hexes I have are an eighth of an inch out in one dimension. It's a pain in the bum and ensures that my terrain often has fairly large gaps in it. I noticed this when photographing the Vikings earlier today. The 1/4" tiles that form an iced over river are smaller than the normal land tiles. They don't feature in any of the photos because of this problem with means that I had gaps in the terrain of 1/4" and more. Worse yet, those tiles then swum around within the terrain frame I was using because of the gaps. Bah! And Grrr!!

If only someone produced individual tiles like this that were precisely 4" across and were always perfect hexagons. Until then I shall soldier on, because I have rather a lot of the GHQ stuff and don't like the idea of all that wasted effort if I get rid of it. Of course, I suppose I could see about setting up producing stuff like this myself and trying to sell it. Might be a laugh. Anyone care to give me the start-up costs? I doubt I could manage it with the pittance I currently have in the bank.

There, I feel better for that whinge.


  1. Have you seen these hexes http://www.tridentebologna.it/esagoni_E.php

    From the few sites with pictures I have seen they seem to have cracked the corner issue.

    I dumped all of mine in the end - it was too much work though I am trying to make my own using MDF bases from warbases.co.uk and ceiling tiles - cutting is an issue where the glue has leaked but its getting better.

    I aim to try Hexon 2 from Kalistra when I have time but unsure over turning the plastic over to make rivers etc. and the lack of deep base units.

  2. Yeah, I've seen those ones. It's a shame they don't fit with what I already have or I might start investing in them instead. I've seen a number of fixes for the GHQ hexes, including putting them in a form and filling with expanding foam to make them to the right size. I have also heard of people going to a polystyrene workshop or similar and getting a batch cut correctly. This latter option has some appeal if I had the money to make it worth their while. I have also looked at the Hexon system and can see the appeal of that, but it lacks an easy way to make linear negative features last time I looked. I also find it too 'clean' so visually it does not appeal as much.

    For the time being I am too heavily invested in the GHQ tiles to ditch them. I am too thrifty for that! I do have a couple of plywood forms that are precise 4" hexes so I may make a form and use a hot wire cutter to make my own hexes, once I have used up all the hexes I currently have.

    Anyway, all that rambling aside, I would be interested in seeing how your own hexes work out.

  3. I am with ADB on http://www.kallistra.co.uk/ The Kallistra terrain is rock hard and comes in groups of hex's. Still flexible enough for multi-setups but very hard wearing.