My First Custom Strat O Matic Playing Field
I have been playing Strat O Matic baseball since the summer of 1983 rolling dice on that familiar green and yellow playing field. Thousands of games rolled on that cardboard. Everything changed for me the day that I saw tommybaseball’s custom made strat field over on the Strat Fan Forum’s message boards. It was beatiful. It had custom made bleachers, people, lights and an almost too perfect playing field. I had to find out how this was done and do it myself.
I studied that field and started posting questions that tommybaseball so graciously answered. His dirt was sandpaper (that’s easy), the grass was actually model train grass that he cut. The original field had lights, which were also model train lights. It was awesome and I had to have one too!
I started by laying out my ideas on poster board to get a grasp on the size of the project. I feel this is a very important step that cost a few bucks up front, but might save you a lot down the road. After that, I slowly started accumulating items for my own custom field. Twelve inch by twelve inch scrap booking cork paper from Michael’s Craft Store was going to be my dirt. Paint pens, hobby wood, fake leaves, Styrofoam blocks, model train grass and various types of paint. I collected these items over weeks utilizing 40% off 1 item discount coupons from Michael’s.
I took my time and tried to make everything as perfect as I had envisioned in my head. That didn’t work out all that great because in my head I am a master craftsman. In reality, I have a hard time unclogging the wood glue bottle. Never the less, I soldiered on and my first attempt didn’t turn out all that bad. I went with a modified version of my two favorite ball parks, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. I was able to implement my dice tower behind my monstrous Green Monster in right field and started rolling some games on it. But that wasn’t enough…it’s never enough. Being a man(something my wife would argue with) I KNEW I could do it better.
It was back to the lab and I tore out my Styrofoam supports and used balsa wood instead ot make custom bleachers for left and center field. I also implemented small pieces of wood for the two sides of the surface that didn’t have any to keep any rogue 20 siders from making a run for the hills.
The bleachers were a lot easier to make than I had envisioned…until I didn’t get my angles right when trying to connect my left and center field sections (momma didn’t raise no rocket scientist). After a round of finagling, I ended up with what I ended up with and I accepted the fact that I am still nowhere near a master craftsman.
All in all, if you take your time and have access to some power tools (specifically an arm saw), I think anyone can build themselves I nice custom field. Yes, if you are anything like me, you will know where you made every little minute mistake, but most people won’t see them (unless you superglue your severed finger to the playing surface…ewe).
I am already past the planning stages of my next custom playing field and will start building it this after the holidays. This one will have a grandstand, bleachers in left and right, hopefully a sloping grass mound past the fence in center. Vintage signage on the outfield walls AND…..LIGHTS!!!! Cannot wait to get started and share with you guys what I get done.