Options (prices include estimate in Canadian Dollars:
a) Hotz felt mat. Roughly $100 for the mats and $20 or so for shipping: $120
Can be used the day of delivery with some work done to add hills etc later.
b) Naked Hexon tiles to be painted by me on arrival. Postage is the killer here but it levels out so that scraping to order extra now makes sense. So 2 basic sets plus some singles or maybe slopes, $190 + $60 for shipping for about $250. Spending 300 would make sense. These would come naked and I would have to paint etc to taste.
c) Litko Stencil: Roughly $40 including postage (esp if I order more bases at the same time). I would then have to apply the stencil and cut the hills from existing scrap and materials that I have on hand. Definitely the cheapest option and also the most environmentally friendly as I would be using existing material including alot of wood. Also the most labor intensive option but the most flexible going forward.
I also drew up a 4" hex to play with and it will (just) hold a 4.7" gun and will comfortably hold a Britain's field gun so the 54's are no issue. Some experimenting with ancients indicates that if facing the corner so that the ranks line up, a series of 60mm wide units doesn't look that bad. Some of my troops include a proportion of singles still and these can form up 80mm or even 100 mm wide and look just fine.
Its beginning to feel like going straight to the 100mm hex grid is the most sensible solution for me. Now to be extravagant or sensible? Must go discuss this with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and consult the Regimental Conscience Officer again. A stencil might provide "hours of entertainment" and be guilt free to boot!