Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Stop laughing at my smokes - It's the way I tell 'em

This week I've made some heavy duty smokescreen smoke.  Why on earth have you done it that way, I here you ask, surely cotton wool / duvet stuffing looks better?

Maybe it does to you, though to me it just looks like clumps of cotton wool. When I have used it in the past it has hung around for months and I can't count the time I've spent picking strands of the stuff off figures, bases, terrain, etc. And God forbid that anyone should wear a jumper. It tends to get squashed in storage, blows about in anything approaching Beaufort 1, and it mysteriously tends to get longer (to cover more frontage) during games. Also, after a while, given the other uses for cotton wool, it takes on the appearance of something you would rather not handle. With that in mind, and remembering the model hedges of times long gone, I decided to do 'cartoon' smoke to go with my 'cartoon' WW2 figures.

2 packs of cheap sponges were obtained from Boyes (69p for 6, but only 2 in a pack were white). I cut these in half, as shown. 

Then I pinched (between thumb and forefinger) chunks out of the sponge to give an irregular shape. 

Now I have to admit that I made a mistake here. Later, I found out that I had not pinched enough from the bottom edges - the smoke looked too firmly planted to the ground and I had to pinch out some more after some painting had been done.
I painted the sponge, with brush and a squeeze, a dirty grey colour using a mix of white emulsion and some cheap acrylics.
 Then, in three coats, the first whilst the undercoat colour was still damp, I stippled and dry brushed them with white emulsion. 

I decided to base the smoke screens on 5" long 2mm MDF bases, textured with sand and grit, and again painted with household emulsion.
This is what they look like on the table.

With the paint they are now quite rigid and will be easy to store. They have also lost all of their static charge; which worried me during the pinching out process.

I believe jumpers may well be in vogue again this season.


Lee Hadley said...

Great idea, thanks for sharing that. I need to make some smoke markers soon and you've given me plenty to ponder before I start on them.

Chris Stoesen said...

I think it looks rather effective. nicely done.

Mike said...

Very nice effect. Much better than the cotton I've been using.

pancerni said...

Jumper wearers everywhere salute you!

Handgrenadealien said...

Thats a very nice idea. I used to use wire wool spray painted black & highlighted; similarly anti static but prone to being squashed flat if carelessly handled.

Will McNally said...

Nice idea, it looks a lot easier to use on the table than cotton wool.

Monty said...

Good idea!
Are the foam pieces durable enough?


Gonsalvo said...

510 For once I'll have to disagree, James; as well done as they are, I personally prefer the look of acrylic stuffing (preferably spray painted at least partially black). Mounting that on bases might eliminate some of your concerns. However, to each their own, of course!