Monday, May 14, 2012

Hobby: Making Smoke & Flame Markers

Smoke & flame markers are an essential part of wargaming, for most part of my gaming I have used the simple white cotton wool to represent them. While this would be sufficient and simple enough (actually it required no work at all apart from buying it). Visually it did not have the impact of blown up vehicles. And sometimes it gets mistaken for just smoke markers. Which happens quite often when I play Flames of War. Therefore I told myself that I would make some for my Tankovy. Once again this has been done before many times and blogged by many others before. So here's just another version of my take to add to this library of Smoke & flame markers construction.
 Upon my net-research I found out that almost everyone who did their markers used Clump Foliage. I had this material at hand, but most of them required quite a number of steps to achieve the final outcome. I wanted something quick and simple. As well as cheap. As always I would check out my local dollar store (Daiso) and I found these steel scrubbers. I thought these were the perfect base so I bought a pack. I only used 2 bunches out of the 18 in a pack. So these definitely go a long long way!
As you can see the material has the properties of cotton wool, being able to simple pull them to reshape them was great. The added bonus was that they were steel after all. Therefore they held their shape perfectly without the need for an additional wire in the middle to hold them up. Something most other hobbyist need to use while making their markers.

One thing that I did was to follow Big Lee and spammed super glue all over the "wool" to harden it and make it super sturdy for the rigors of gaming. As he has already pointed out, this super glue spam will get messy no matter how careful you are.
To weigh them down I went the conventional way of putting them onto steel washers. These are just the right weight and best of all they stick to the already magnetized tanks in my Flames of War army!
Once it was all hardened and stuck to the washer bases I went outside and gave it a quick dose of black spray at the base of the marker. The silver color once stretched looks just the part for the smoke at the upper part of the marker.
I then cut off the strays. This step is totally optional as I just wanted my markers to be a neat solid piece instead of having to many strays flailing around like a bad hair day. (p.s I later discovered this step to be quite crucial when I had to paint the colors on as it would definitely hinder the coloring process no end, so I would strongly advise to do it!)

After which I simply wet-brushed red at the bottom most area, followed by a light dusting of yellow to highlight the flames. 

Here they are completed and eager to burn some tanks!
I even tested it out with some 40k miniatures and they look the part. Shower a certain area of the table with these markers during a 40k game to make the area impassable maybe? Definitely could add a nice dimension to the table, if not just purely for the looks.
Let the galaxy burn!

Hope this article helped. Those that have been putting off making them, go ahead and try it! It's simple and quick. Most importantly, even when your tanks die in battle, at least they go out in style! 

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