Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Making Awesome Paper Counters The Simple Way

Why go to Mordor when one can make paper counters?
A couple years ago, I wrote an article here at the blog titled "Making Warmaster Counters--The Hard Way." In the article, I chronicled the steps I took to create mounted counters using my old Empire set. Basically, I printed the sheets, cut out the individual counters, and then individually glued each counter to a Litko-like base using an Uhu glue pen. The end result is quite nice and sturdy, just like a miniature game base, but also expensive. Since used up a box of old bases at the time, I really didn't care. Then I ran out of bases. Wanting desperately to play some Warmaster games using my newer counter sets, I looked for a cheaper and easier method. This is what I created.

For this project, I used my current Dwarf set. I happen to like Dwarfs; plus the set is small compared to something like the Orcs and Goblins set, which will be the Dwarfs enemy for my upcoming game. It took me about an hour to gather the supplies and cut out all the counters.

Supplies Needed:
  • Sharp hobby knife
  • Metal straight edge
  • Cutting mat
  • Comic book backing boards
  • Christmas wrapping paper
  • 3M Super77 Multi-purpose Adhesive

Super-Simple Instructions Over-Explained

1. Print the counters on a nice laser printer, preferably at work for free. ;-)

2. Get a couple comic book "backing boards." These are the stiff boards, usually glossy on one side, that comic collectors use to protect comic books that are stored in comic book bags. Since we collect comic books, we literally have a box of old, discarded backing boards from comics we placed in better bags and boards. I had several "Golden Age" boards, which are larger ( 7.5" x 10.5") and fit an entire counter sheet with just a bit of trimming. "Silver Age" boards (7" x 10.5") and "Current" boards (6.75" x 10.5") also work but an entire sheet won't fit in one go. No need to buy an entire pack of boards. Ask at your local comic shop if they have any scrap backing boards they plan on tossing. I bet they do. Or simple order a pack of BCW Golden Age boards at Amazon for $11.

3. Get some cheap wrapping paper. If your family is anything like mine, throwing away left over partial-rolls of Christmas wrapping paper is against the law, or at least immoral. We always seem to have piles of the rolls cluttering the closet, which drives me batty. But I digress... For this project, I use the scrap wrapping paper to protect my work area from the later steps. Use the white side up. Newspaper would probably work also, but getting rid of all that Santa Kitty and Star Wars wrapping paper is a bonus in my book. (I mean, we usually only pay $1-$2 a roll. It's not like we're saving the scrap rolls as an investment! BTW we actually have a roll of that kitty wrap in the photo! I think we buy it every single year! Sigh.)

4. Get a can of 3M Super77 Multi-purpose Adhesive. This is the best spray glue out there, or so I've been told. I've been using it for decades. It isn't cheap, so use a 40% off coupon for Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

5. Trim the counter sheets to fit the comic backing boards.

6. Cut a large piece of the wrapping paper and place it white-side up to protect your table space. Replace it every time you do Step 7 and 8 for a new sheet. Trust me on this one.:-)

7. Place the counter sheet in the center of the wrapping paper, the counter sheet's print-side facing down.

8. Follow Super77's instructions and spray the entire back side of the counter sheet. Watch out for overspray because it feels like this stuff can go everywhere once it hits the air!

9. Carefully place the glue-side of the counter sheet onto the backing board and smooth it out. The glue dries quickly and will be permanent.

10. Cut out the counters with a sharp hobby knife and metal straight edge.

11. Get ready for war!

I've glued the second sheet onto the comic board and have begun cutting out the other counters. The comic boards add a nice stiffness and thickness to the counters, just like (gasp!) board game counters.

My can of Super77 is 10 years old and still works like new! Current cans have a red label. You can see I cut the sheet into strips. I've also cut some counters for units. You can see how I've always intended units to look on the table compared to on the sheet. Some units even have command stands to use when brigaded with other units.

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