So ... this is what I should have done in the first place, hexagons pointing up (long grain as per 'rice'[?], see below):
Seeing as I had painted out a completely different sized board it seemed such a darned pity to 'waste' a useful game board by covering it up again, hence I transferred the hexagons to an alternative 'fresh' board (see below):
The new board got two coats of undercoat black (see below), a darkish brow/black house hold matt paint we (as in the family) had inherited after moving in to the new house. It was the leftover paint for a wall that was top of the list to paint another colour. I had silently spied out this colour for a' wargame' use a long time ago and now Maitland this was your time, sorry getting a little carried away.
The forlorn, but useful hexagaons are stacked in a quiet corner (see below):
This was also the perfect opportunity while the black/brown under coat was drying to seal up the edges of the hexagons a brownish colour, I had noticed an annoyingly small amount of white showing through in the original set-up (see below, hexagons left to dry over night):
Then a trail run. Do they fit? There is a slight overhang to the left but I can live with that (see below):
Next: Sticking it down "again" (or should I say "hopefully stuck down and staying down this time")